Anyone who has been to one of my public classes in the past few years has no doubt heard me reference the Catholic humanitarian, Dorothy Day. As a young girl growing up in Oakland, she witnessed the city of San Francisco catch fire during the 1906 earthquake and saw boatloads of people fleeing across the bay in search of refuge and medical aid. To her astonishment, all of the adults on the Oakland side knew exactly how to respond to the situation by spontaneously and generously providing food, water, shelter, and care. Out of this experience she asked herself a beautiful and poignant question that shaped the trajectory of her life’s work — ‘If we know innately how to treat each other in times of crisis, why can’t we live this way all the time?’ I have often wondered the same thing myself, and it seems to come up each year around the holiday time. ‘If we know how to treat each other with kindness and generosity during the holidays, we don’t we treat each other like that all the time?’ More recently, I’ve been pondering the question of why we seem to be able to extend tenderness toward animals, children, or people in need, but often times we fail to be able to extend that quality of tenderness toward ourselves. And this last question seems to be how the yoga practice keeps calling us back, not to selfishness but to a type of Self-fullness, Self-relevance, and Self-belonging. We simply must remember to include ourselves on the list of those who deserve care, and though it may not initially be easy to do so, the net result will be a greater capacity to serve all of humanity.
Check out our newest releases, Everyday Yoga #3 and #4. These are beautiful sequences of poses and alignment actions that I try to work on every day to care for my back. Everyday Yoga #3 focuses on the optimal alignment of the sacrum, or “sacred bone,” in a wide variety of poses. While Everyday Yoga #4 explores the relationship between strengthening the backs of the legs in order to lengthen the front of the spine. Both practices are a boon for low-grade, everyday back pain. Both practices will improve your capacity to breathe in the fragrance and fullness of life. Both will lay the foundation for you to navigate the mayhem of the holiday season with inner space and grace. Hope you enjoy!