no more free lunch

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typical lunch in Tamil Nadu, India — YUM!

“Emotional labor.”

What does that mean to you?

On her Facebook page in August Layla Saad said that a “complete stranger just PayPal-ed me a generous amount of money as a way of saying thank you for the emotional labor I put in to writing my open letter to spiritual white women. I’m in shock. And in tears. I did not write the letter with that expectation in mind, but I am so grateful for this unexpected gift.”

That got me thinking.  In a dozen years I’ve received two payments from readers.   Years ago I received $100 from an anonymous person who merely said “thank you.”

I’ve written this blog since 2005, a good 12 years, and over the years people have sent me countless emails telling me how much my writing meant to them.  They thought they were the only ones who felt the same way I did about shit in the Modern Yoga World.  When I have thought about completely shutting down this blog and never writing again, I get an email from someone telling me how much my words meant to them.   So I continue albeit not as prolifically because, let’s be honest: people just don’t read blogs anymore.  I have been fortunate to meet people in India in my trainings who have read my blog, one woman from Kuala Lumpur telling me that she was at the Krishanamacharya Yoga Mandiram because of me.  A few readers have told me that they consider me one of their yoga teachers even though we’ve never met and who knows if we ever will.

Today Facebook reminded me:

“If you have never visited Linda’s Yoga Journey, it’s worth every minute you can spend on it. I met Linda in India and she’s one of the most loving, sassy and funny people I’ve ever come across. She keeps it real with serious topics that the yoga community often prefers to ignore, but refuses to sensationalize them and more often than not gives you food for thought that tastes a whole lot different than the stuff we get elsewhere. She is also not one to pass up the opportunity for a good laugh. She has a solid following of educated readers from all walks of life who offer some really interesting and varied points of view on the things Linda reports on so the comments are definitely worth a read.”

I have always said that I have the best readers!  Thank you dear readers for continuing to read me for 12 years!

And to think I’ve never been podcast by J. Brown.  Or asked to give any public talks.  Or sit on any panel discussions.  Go figure!

I wrote about topics such as ageism and diversity in the Modern Yoga World long before yoga blogs like YogaDork and It’s All Yoga, Baby, and before yoga writers whose names I won’t mention because you know who they are.  Because I was considered a “fierce voice in the yoga blogosphere” by the author of this book, he put me in it.  Drove all the way from California with his dog to interview me. 🙂

As Kelly Diels says in this article: “I, as a woman, am not a community resource.”  Beginning in January 2018 I am transitioning the best of my blog posts to Patreon, a website that will allow me to get paid for my writing, i.e., my emotional and intellectual labor.  If my writing about yoga has helped you or made you see things differently, you can become a monthly supporter or pay me per piece on that site.  The posts that I transfer will no longer be available for free here and I will use Patreon as my writing outlet, no more blogging for free.

The same goes for my India travel advice.  I have received many questions over the years about how to travel in India, where to go, etc. so I am now charging $50/hr for trip planning, how to handle India, etc.  Please do not expect to pick my brain for free unless you come on one of my trips.  I have 12 yrs of India travel experience and my info can not be found in guide books.  As a solo woman traveler to India since 2005 and learning about India as much as a foreigner can, you will be paying for my emotional and intellectual India travel labor.  To curate a boutique trip to India for those who ask, I start planning it one year in advance starting with a ton of emails to the providers in India that I use.  I can’t tell you how many sleepless nights I’ve had worrying about things so they are just right.  Some of you may say that it’s my “cost of doing business” but if I really charged for every hour of time that I use in planning a trip for people, the price would be exorbitant and no one could afford it.

I receive no upgrades or freebies since I am not a travel blogger with a “brand” to promote.  I pay my own way to India.   You can get some questionable advice for free online or go to a bookstore and PAY for a guide book.  Well, I am that same guidebook.

I get questions about how to start a travel blog, where to go in India, and yoga questions from strangers who ask “I have X, what yoga can help me?”  Mind blown on that one!

After all these years (how fucking stupid was I?!) I am tired of playing the role of teacher or advisor or consultant without getting paid and without even receiving acknowledgement for the time and energy I have spent in doing so.  Free advice has no value.  People value what they pay for.

No more free lunches.  To that end, I can be paid via Square Cash or if you want my Papal ID, message me.

Thank you for your future support!

a very special yoga retreat for 2018

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After years of taking people to South India for yoga, I’ve decided to head north.  Way north.  Almost to the top of the world.

If you have always wanted to visit India but did not want to go alone or in an impersonal group, then this is the perfect way to do it — space is limited to 16 and the trip is a go with 4 minimum.

In one of the most beautiful places on Earth deepen your Yoga sadhana with the joy of movement and breathing, stillness and silence, live in the moment simply and joyfully, and engage in meaningful cultural exchange between the East and West.

My friend Piyush Kumar owns DUNAGIRI RETREAT, an eco- retreat center about 7 hours north of Delhi, where “HEAVEN MEETS EARTH.” Piyush has been trying to get me up there for years and we have finally planned October 1-12, 2018 for you. Read more about Dunagiri at the link above.

The Himalayas are revered as a place where spiritual practices are heightened by the energy of the land. India’s ancient yogis knew there was transformational power in these mountains where divine energy is palpable. We will dive into a daily breath-centered authentic Yoga practice in the Krishnamacharya tradition. We will also practice some Yin Yoga and Yoga Nidra and all classes will include guided Pranayama and Meditation. Reflexology and Integrated Energy Therapy will be available and for those who wish to be attuned to Reiki Practitioner Level 1, I will offer attunements at the additional cost of $100 — think how potent that transmission will be in the Himalayas!

You will fly into Delhi and we will be taken to the wilderness of the Kumaon. We will be welcomed by Piyush and delicious vegetarian food will be prepared for us daily. The Himalayan wildlife and flora surrounds us as we take trips to spiritual sites (such as the birthplace of Kriya Yoga) with breathtaking views of the mountains. There will be many opportunities for you to relax and renew and to soak up the peace and stillness of the Himalayas.

Dunagiri is a very special place in India because according to this article it is where “Mahaavatar Babaji had initiated Lahiri Mahasaya to Kriya Yoga almost 150 years back. And a lot of Babaji followers came to Dunagiri to visit the caves.”  If you have ever read “Autobiography of a Yogi” then you know what this is all about.

The price includes airport to airport service – meaning that you are picked up at Delhi airport, taken to the Delhi hotel for overnight stay, transferred to Dunagiri the next day, spend 10 nights at Dunagiri (double occupancy only — a roommate will be assigned if you choose not to pay the single supplement), be taken back to Delhi for an overnight hotel stay and then taken to the airport. All lodging and transfers are included in the price. The hotels chosen are in a Delhi neighborhood that offers great shopping. Piyush tells me that an extra night in Delhi can be included complimentary depending on your arrival/departure time.  And it could not be any easier to get your E Visa for India right here!  (affiliate link)

All meals and all activities like treks, guided walks, and drives/day trips around Dunagiri for the duration of the retreat are included. The weather is perfect in October with daytime highs in the upper 70s. Rooms can be heated at night if need be — see Dunagiri’s website link above for a look at the rooms.

$3, 360.00 USD
Double Occupancy
$3,560.00 USD
Single Occupancy-
LIMITED AVAILABILITY

NON-YOGA PARTICIPANT (Double Occupancy) — $2,860.00 USD
NON-YOGA PARTICIPANT (Single Occupancy) — $3,060.00 USD
A ROOMMATE WILL BE ASSIGNED IF YOU TRAVEL SOLO
OR YOU MUST PAY SINGLE OCCUPANCY RATE IF NONE IS AVAILABLE
(bring a friend or family member!)

**$500 NONREFUNDABLE DEPOSIT DUE BY DECEMBER 31, 2017**
(SEE NOTE BELOW)

 

JULY 1 — Balance due.
AUGUST 1 — 50% refund of any amounts paid minus $500 deposit – request must be received in writing by this date.
SEPTEMBER 1– Due to payment requirements of Dunagiri, NO REFUNDS of any amount paid will be made after this date. If cancellation occurs while retreat is in progress there is no refund for any unused portion. Deposit and trip price not transferable.

THIS TRIP IS AN INVESTMENT BUT YOUR EXPERIENCE AT THE TOP OF THE WORLD WILL BE PRICELESS

If you wish to pay in installments AFTER the $500 deposit, please do so by the 15th OF THE MONTH JANUARY-JUNE 2018. If you are paying for DOUBLE occupancy, the monthly installments are $475 with final installment of $485 due June 15. If you are paying for SINGLE occupancy, the monthly installments are $510 with final installment due June 15. Please contact me for other installment arrangements.

As Dunagiri Retreat is a very popular destination, the dates in October will fill up fast unless I have committed attendees. I have found over the years that the best way to plan a trip to India is to gather people who are seriously interested and committed to TRAVEL THAT TRANSFORMS.

This will be a trip like no other, very different from my previous ones.  As Piyush says:

“…we feel it is our responsibility to offer a unique and fulfilling visitor experience, and to do so in an environmentally and culturally aware and respectful manner. The facilities we offer at Dunagiri Retreat are modern, comfortable, minimalistic yet authentically ‘deshi’ — right down to the cow’s milk sweetened from its diet of fresh mountain herbs. Through sustainable tourism, we also fulfill our mission of maintaining the ‘thin distance’ between heaven and earth at this very special place. For doing so, we offer dignified livelihood to residents of the area; supplement local educational resources and provide primary and preventive healthcare.”

(**If there is not enough interest by December 31, 2017 the trip will be cancelled and your deposits refunded. If there is enough interest, deposits are nonrefundable.  As with all my trips, airfare to India, visa and passport fees are not included.)

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Is your personal political? Yoga in the Age of Trump

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In 2010 I wrote a post entitled “in review, the personal is still political.”

My piece — STILL one of my most read posts thank you very much — was about the then and still hot topic of nudity in Yoga when Judith Lasater wrote to Yoga Journal about nakedness in Toesox ads.  Yawn if you must but it’s still a hot topic if you follow the YWS (young-white-skinny) Instagram yogalebrities.

Now America has President Trump, the most uniquely unqualified president this country has ever had.

I was in India last year when he was elected and after the results I was physically ill for three days.  I knew it wasn’t Delhi Belly.  But I had to suck it up because I had a yoga retreat to teach and we were going through the rupee crisis (PM Modi declared 500 and 1000 rupee notes worthless) at the same time so I had to keep my shit together for my students.  At least there was an American couple at the resort who were also as depressed and disgusted as I was and we commiserated and drank a lot together, wishing we didn’t have to go back to a Trumpian America.

There hasn’t been one day since 45 was elected that hasn’t been a nightmare.  He can’t go one day without tweeting or saying something incredibly nonsensical, racist, or war mongering.  NOT.  ONE.  DAY.

Travel bans.
Transgender ban in the military.
Muslims.
Building the Wall.
Mexicans who are bad hombres and rapists.
Destroying Affordable Care Act.
Women’s reproductive rights.
Charlottesville’s “fine people” neo-Nazis.
Colin Kaepernick and taking a knee.
Right to free speech.
Misogyny.
Racism.
Collusion with Russia.
Threatening North Korea with fire and fury.

MUELLER, CAN YOU JUST HURRY THE FUCK UP?!

But I digress.

What got me thinking more about all of this was the brouhaha white tears over the “take a knee” politics over the weekend and my watching the Ken Burns’ PBS special on the Vietnam War on TV right now.  Especially since I haven’t been told “America, love it or leave it” since I demonstrated against the Vietnam War.  Told on Facebook.  By white people.  Only back in the day I was told, “America, love it or leave it, hippie slut bitch.”

I grew up during the 1960s.  I was in high school from 1968-1972, when the war was at its worst and the US was also bombing Cambodia and Laos (unbeknownst to Americans at that time.)  Watching the show I remembered how I became so politicized in 1968 at such a young age, only 14.

OK, I wasn’t a typical 14 year old, whatever “typical” means to you.  I always felt different.  In 6th grade I read on a college level.  I read the Encyclopedia Britannica (yes, really) by the time I was 10.  I wanted to be a paleontologist when I grew up.  On my last day in the 8th grade the teacher asked us what we were going to do during our summer before going to high school.  I told her I was running away to live in Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco.  I ran away, but it wasn’t at 14.

I wanted to know about everything like yesterday.  I was aware that there was something out there bigger than my little spot in the all white southwest side piece of Chicago where I grew up.  For one thing, there were race issues in Chicago.

News did not come from Facebook or from 140 character tweets.  There were no accusations about fake news.  You believed the newscasters because they were middle of the road.  Hearing the American troop and enemy death counts and watching the war’s gore daily on the news (which would never happen now) affected me.  In 1968 both Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy were assassinated.  After Dr. King was assassinated Chicago had its riots just like other cities did — “they burned down the west side!”  Then there was the Democratic Convention in Chicago in 1968 that was termed a police riot.   I was too young to hit the streets but I watched the Chicago police bust open hippie heads and drag limp bodies down the street to throw into paddy wagons.  I thought, those hippies look like me, that could be me if I was out there.

Then there was Kent State in 1970.  I was a sophomore in high school.  Still a hippie, still hanging with older students and listening to their perspectives, aware of what was going on in the world.  How could one not be?  Or not care?  Those dead college students, if I was old enough, it could have been me.

Those were the two political turning points in my young life that politicized, indeed, radicalized, me.  Then I moved out when I was 18 and never looked back.  Demonstrated and protested as much as I could.

The Chicago 7 trial,  the Vietnam war, the first Earth Day, women’s liberation marches, the failed Equal Rights Amendment, reproductive rights in the 1970s pre-Roe v. Wade, marching for farm workers, I was in the thick of it.

Because of all that I lived through I believe America in the Age of Trump is as divided now as it was back then.  I see many who are culturally clueless (i.e., living in a bubble and living in fear) despite how vastly different information is spread compared to 50 years ago.  I still believe in the hippie idea that if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.  But that’s me.

Is your personal political?  I ask because a Facebook friend, a yoga teacher in Belgium, posed this question yesterday:

“This is a simple inquiry, based on what I have seen over the last few days coming from the US.

A lot of yoga teachers have reacted in their own ways about taking a knee, being supportive of the athletes and sharing pictures and articles, or in their own look-at-me ways, but ok.

And I am wondering, sincerely: where is Yoga Alliance? I mean, this is an organization that has been so vocal and present, with such good marketing that they have managed to have people believe that Yoga Alliance is the end-all-be-all of yoga organizations. … Should they say something?

I know I know, yoga is not a sport, and Yoga Alliance is currently “celebrating diversity in yoga”, soooo… should they stick to it and “stay on their lane” or rise to the occasion?”

Is being a Yogi and being political mutually exclusive?  Is Yoga political?

In India right now it is and I believe not in a good way.  It’s the reason I never got behind the hoopla of International Yoga Day.  I don’t believe that it’s all good when something like this can happen.

I suggest that western yoga peeps read up on Prime Minister Modi and Hindutva right wing politics.   Or spend more time in India than at a foo-foo two week yoga retreat or month long teacher training protected from reality before jumping on the It’s All Good Namaste bandwagon.  Salman Rushdie has said that Modi makes Trump look like an amateur.  Modi is a devoted yogi.  In India now one is forced to stand for the Indian national anthem when played before movies start in theaters.  If you don’t stand you can be arrested.

India is a democracy as America claims to be (actually founded as a Republic but I won’t split hairs.)   I guess people don’t understand that if you’re forced to stand to show “patriotism,” that’s a dictatorship.  Like North Korea.

In this old protester’s opinion, Yoga Alliance can stay out of it.  I don’t give a rat’s ass what YA has to say about anything other than yoga.  YA is a registry for yoga teachers, nothing more, nothing less.  They don’t need to get political.  They do nothing for me.

Because WE need to get political, individually, now.  Well, if you give a shit.  If you’re exhausted by what’s going on, I don’t blame you.  I am some days.  But being colorblind is not a virtue.  

I believe that the one good thing that has happened since the election is that the closet racists have come out of the rotten woodwork.  Trump made them find their cojones.  Of course Obama was hung in effigy for 8 years but now it’s Trump’s America where he tweets more about his disgust for African-American football players exercising their First Amendment rights than his outrage over neo-Nazis in Charlottesville.

Mind blown by the racism and ignorance I’ve read in comments made by the friends of a FB friend and not getting shut down by him.  One (self-proclaimed proud white) man said that white privilege is a false narrative and that the US is the most non-discriminatory country in the world.  Let that sink in and then multiply that opinion by millions.  MILLIONS.

FUCK.  THAT.  SHIT.

Maybe on the individual level not every Trump voter is an overt racist.  But they were more than fine with voting for one.  That’s like going to a Klan rally and not burning the cross but they sure as hell brought the matches and stood by and watched it burn.

So….

Fuck Right Speech.

Fuck the “Female Lifestyle Empowerment Brand” (sounds like a good thing but it’s not) that is a “marketing strategy that leverages social status and white privilege to create authority over other women.”

And fuck spiritual white women who don’t take a stand on white supremacy.

Layla Saad:  “Many so-called leaders in the online business world tell us that their work is about changing the world, leading revolutions and transforming people’s lives. And yet… in the face of racism and injustice they say next to nothing or simply re-share someone else’s inspirational meme.”

Preach, woman.

Because this time, the revolution WILL be televised.

It has to be.

“Being “nice” is not a Buddhist practice.  Being kind is.  It doesn’t always mean telling people what they are comfortable hearing.  For example, acknowledging the structural depth of white privilege and supremacy in America and elsewhere is not comfortable.  But if our society has a future, overcoming white supremacy is a practice we need to lean into immediately.” – Ethan Nichtern

 

you say appropriated, I say bastardized, let’s call the whole thing off….

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Chingon!

The other night I watched comedian George Lopez’s latest special The Wall.  I’ve always thought him hilarious.  And yeah, he picks on white people.  Sorry, this is a #whitetears free zone.

A thought to add to the discussion about cultural appropriation in Yoga:
Lopez raised the question that Mexican food culture has been “bastardized” by white people. For example, all the restaurants named “border” something or the invention of hard shell tacos or the way McDonald’s bastardized burritos (they should be called “McCaca” he said.)

So maybe the word “appropriation” should be replaced by “bastardization.” Western yoga hasn’t been appropriated, its been bastardized.

Food for thought.  Discuss.

 

 

 

morning rants

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Artist unknown – sorry! If you know, tell me, I will give credit where credit is due.

Good morning, yoga peeps!  No, I’m not going to say NAMASTE.

Because OH MY GODDESS, GIVE ME STRENGTH TO DEAL WITH THIS MODERN YOGA WORLD.

I just came back from one of my favorite places on Earth and I’m not talking about India.  The only reason I returned home was my cat Maggie, NOT because I have to teach yoga.  So I am feeling extra ranty this morning.

Two articles came up in my Facebook news feed and of  course there’s lots of back and forth and blah blah blah about it.

Y’all might have seen the original article about ethics for yoga teachers, the one that appeared in the New York Times.

This is the one being discussed in my FB feed today:  A Code of Ethics for Yoga Teachers – a draft.  

Oh, for fuck’s sake.

As a Buddhist, I’ve also taken the Five Precepts.  But those AND Patanjali’s Yamas and Niyamas don’t stop anyone from doing anything if they really want to commit something or take advantage of someone.

We’re talking about INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY, PEOPLE.

Fuck rules or suggesting that LICENSING yoga teachers will help.  There are scummy yoga teachers who know the Yamas and Niyamas and still went off the rails. There are Buddhist lamas who slept with their students.  There are yoga teachers who don’t know yoga philosophy from a hole in the ground yet they are ethical and smart teachers.

Maybe I’m a total simpleton but I don’t need a set a rules to enforce me to be kind, to have empathy, to not take advantage of someone, to not cheat someone, etc. etc. etc.  Too much talk, not enough discernment.

The other article is Yoga can be painful and can lead to injury, study says.

Well, no shit, Sherlock.

“Doctor, my shoulders hurt so much from doing 108 chaturungas in my Power Yoga class every day.  What should I do?”

“Don’t do them.  Take a rest.”

DUH.

I’m pretty much over these reductionist articles about yoga including the recent one that Consumer Reports published about how yoga is great for back pain.  YAY, everyone jump on the yoga bandwagon because IT’S ALL GOOD!

Yoga IS good for back pain. But depending on the yoga AND the yoga teacher it can also aggravate back pain.

How is “yoga” defined?  If a doctor tells someone to “do yoga” where are they going to go? To a local studio where a class is taught by someone just out of a 200 hr training the previous week?

To a local gym or park district fitness center where classes are an hour and there are 30 people in a class?

Or are they going to seek out private one on one yoga with someone with a ton of training and experience who has studied in a therapeutic yoga tradition for 10+ years and knows how to modify asanas/meditation/breathwork for their body and condition?

This is why there must be differentiation between asana only classes and yoga as a vehicle for transformation mind/body/spirit (whatever spirit means to you.)  Those categories require different levels of training and have different outcomes.

I’ve always said YOGA is a question of semantics because asana only is not YOGA.  Yeah, I said that, deal with it.  As I’ve said before, I heard Desikachar say in class, “Yoga contains asana, pranayama, and meditation.  Anything else is acrobatics.”

Talk amongst yourselves.

 

 

“WHITE LADIES FINDING THEMSELVES SISTERHOODS”

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original upload by White Ibiza — irony, much?

“I would like to imagine other options, other ways of being, other ways of understanding identities, other ways of being together, even as we come apart.

Especially, in my world, where women gather.

In sisterhoods — to explore spirituality, creativity, personal development.

Our sisterhoods need to evolve.

They’re so often a slurry of cultural appropriation, spiritual bypassing, neoliberalism, multilevel marketing, and random woo punctuated by various signals of authority, virtue and performative vulnerability from their leaders.

And to quote Queen Latifah, they’re whiter than a Wilco concert.

I know; I’ve been in them, and have profited off of them. In lots of ways, I still do.

We can do better.

 #######

(Pretty done seeing us white women using the word “tribe” for a lot of reasons. Like, people who buy our shit are not a “tribe.” A NEWSLETTER LIST IS NOT A TRIBE. See also: NamaSLAY, Spiritual Gangster, Unicorn Thug, Gypset and other terms that are co-opted by white people from POC to sell lifestyle products.)

#######

The inherent racism, classism + other -isms of LOA and The Secret, and other “mindset” and “manifesting abundance” programs are rarely thoroughly confronted.

#######

Can we give things up so that we begin to enter into a better relationship with each other? What might that look like? Our dreamcatchers, our dreadlocks, our trappings of the new age flattened without dimension or context by Whiteness and by capitalism, which really can’t be separated from each other? Can we wonder why we love to put on face paint and feathers to show our affinity for Standing Rock but don’t say shit about Black Lives Matter?”

____________________

WOW.

A friend had posted this piece by Rachael Rice on her Facebook page and I was blown away.  You can read the entire piece here.  I immediately sent Rice a friend request because damn, I had to know this woman who wrote what I’ve been thinking for a very long time.  I wrote about the lack of diversity in the New Age Yoga World long before it was on the radar screen of some popular yoga bloggers.  Ahem.

This is sure to piss off a kombucha drinking white New Age yoga woman somewhere.  Holding up a mirror to white privilege usually does that (“I’m not racist, I have a black friend!”)

I invite you to read Rice’s entire piece and her links and video before you get your Lulus in a bunch and get all offended and ranty.

I’m not going to unload a shit pile of judgment on outdoor yoga fests where many who attend are dreadlocked white people.  You know which fests those are.  As an introvert and loner, those mega fests ain’t my thang.  I’m a lone wolf.  If you feel the need to bond for three days with like-minded people, go for it.  Just don’t call it a fucking TRIBE.

Before learning definitively I am Native American and Mexican (I was lied to about my ethnicity but that’s another story), seeing white people wear headdresses as a fashion statement or burning sage (“spiritual Lysol” for white women as a Native friend calls it), made me very itchy.  I couldn’t tell you why but it pissed me off.  I just knew it was wrong.  Finding out I was Native explained it.  “Blood memory” a Native friend told me.

Don’t get me started about white people calling themselves “shamans.”  Absolutely a white person can study with an indigenous person and learn the ancient ways.  But not everything belongs to you – some things have to be earned the hard way, through sweat and blood and tears.  And you don’t become a shaman in a weekend workshop at a yoga studio or New Age store.

Rice also writes about giving up her making of dreamcatchers:

“This is my announcement that I will no longer be making dreamcatchers.  It is no longer congruent with my ethics as an artist to profit from this type of work. Really, it never has been. I’ve never felt 100% comfortable appropriating and selling a white girl version of the indigenous craft even though I took measures to give back, to educate, to honor the people I learned from.”

I also invite you to read that entire piece because dreamcatchers are a BIG THANG in the New Age World.

As I said, this post is sure to piss off someone.  But these are things that need to be said and explored.  If this post makes you angry or defensive maybe that tells you something.  Learn from it.

As Pema Chodron said, we need our buttons pushed if we want to get woke and stay woke (paraphrased.)  That’s what a good teacher does.

But it’s easier to sleep walk.  I love being the troublemaker.  😉

 

 

 

 

 

are you faking it ’til you make it?

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ONLY IN INDIA ©2017 Metta Yoga & Bodywork Company

Below is a question that was asked in a Facebook yoga group I belong to.  As a teacher who is persona non grata in my local “yoga community”, it was an important question.  My answer to the teacher’s question is below it.

“I’m wondering how people experience and process professional jealousy. It seems to be a part of our normal human experience, but it feels particularly horrible – sticky, viscous and taboo. Sometimes it’s ridiculous – resenting that a new teacher, who I’ve mentored and supported – has ten people in their first class, even though most of them are friends there to offer support. Other times it’s more peer-related: why has that person received that opportunity (even if it’s one I didn’t want) or that recognition or that amount of money? For me, it seems to be rooted partly in anxiety about my capacity to make a living (which is compromised because of my disabilities), and partly in a voracious need to be seen – which I can laugh about, but there it is.”

MY ANSWER:
“I think it’s all about finding your niche and to stop trying to be all things for every yoga student. I’m not a “love and light” type of teacher so for those people looking for that, I’m not their teacher. There are plenty of others out there who will be. I always remember what I heard Seanne Corn say in a workshop, that she’d rather teach to the two who get it (i.e., what she teaches) than the 10 who don’t.  I’ve reconciled myself with that.  That might not mean a lot of money in my yoga bank account, but it’s all about choices. I’d rather be me than try to be something I’m not.  I’m not going to fake it to make it.”

What say you, yoga peeps?  Are you faking it by pushing down your emotions as if they are something dirty?

From my Buddhist perspective, less than beneficial emotions are not to be transcended, they are merely to be recognized and let go.  Yes, I know, SIMPLE BUT NOT EASY.

In this Facebook yoga group some said negative emotions should be transcended so we can evolve into an enlightened state.  Good luck with that Humans!

It fascinates me to see how many yoga people believe we are supposed to be immune to jealousy, hate, anger, bitterness, etc. merely because we practice yoga.  A 200 hour training, 1000 hours, or even 10,000 hours of training does not mean we become enlightened.  I mean seriously?!  Ramana Maharshi spent days in such deep samadhi that he was unaware of ant bites.  THAT’S trancendance, people!

After about six weeks, “he was carried out and cleaned up. For the next two months he stayed in the Subramanya Shrine, so unaware of his body and surroundings that food had to be placed in his mouth or he would have starved.”  And we expect to become enlightened or transcend painful emotions just because we do a little yoga?  WHAT?!  One woman commented in the Facebook group that she felt “immature” and so “unevolved” for having an emotion like jealousy.  I’ve heard the Dalai Lama say that sometimes he still gets annoyed at reporters’ dumb questions.  Hey, if HHDL can get miffed about dumb questions, so can I.

I have found these things to be extremely helpful to me over the years.

The first thing is the wonderful book Shadows on the Path by Abdi Assadi.  It is not a recent book but I think it’s the best I’ve read about our shadows on the spiritual path.  It will definitely be required reading if I ever get around to creating a teacher training.  My copy is heavily underlined and dog-eared.

The second thing is Jack Kornfield’s technique of RAIN:  “RAIN stands for Recognition, Acceptance, Investigation, and Non-Indentification. This acronym echoes the Zen poets who tell us “the rain falls equally on all things.” Like the nourishment of outer rain, the inner principles of RAIN can transform our difficulties.”

I also recommend Phillip Moffitt’s book, Emotional Chaos to Clarity: How to Live More Skillfully, Make Better Decisions, and Find Purpose in Life.   The Amazon blurb: “Despite our best-laid plans, life is difficult, and we sometimes experience anger, anxiety, frustration, and doubt. This emotional chaos can negatively affect the way we live our lives. Yet, Phillip Moffitt shows us that by cultivating a responsive mind rather than a reactive one, we can achieve a state of emotional clarity that allows us to act with a calm mind and a loving heart.”

Stop beating yourself up for being human.  You’re only a yoga teacher. 😉