In this strange time of the “new normal” while amidst a revolution, we have all experienced a vast array of different emotions, from confusion to hope, from sadness to gratitude, and from guilt to action. While some are working out daily or hitting new career goals, others are stagnant or depressed, having fallen completely out of their routine. The quarantine has offered us a forceful change in perspective to turn inward and find new beginnings. The current spike in the Black Lives Matter movement has also given us a chance to examine the deeper layers of ourselves we so frequently ignore.
Change is scary and uncomfortable. We often resist or become stuck when we unintentionally hold out against growth by not simply allowing natural cycles to pass or by not dedicating enough time towards rewiring embedded patterns of the body & mind (known in sanskrit as samskaras). From my experience, yoga changes lives. When we practice yoga, we see our reflections clearly mirrored, and, often, judgement appears, insecurity surfaces, and habits reveal themselves, giving us the opportunity to recognize and break through them.
I can personally tell you that during my yoga teacher training, I was highly depressed off and on. Yoga opened me up but it also BROKE me open. I felt so aware of the new lifestyle that I wanted and so inspired by the yoga philosophy. I consistently judged myself when I didn’t show up perfectly or get results that I was expecting from the hard work I was doing. This is NORMAL. It’s a good reminder that we are still human when we step onto the spiritual path. When we learn something new, like that being non-racist must mean being anti-racist, we have the choice to either let the guilt and shame from not knowing depress us or… CHANGE US instead.
My best suggestion for yogis feeling stagnant or ashamed during this time inside is not just to move the body, but to take the practice to a more philosophical level. Begin dedicating more time to daily meditation and anti-racism education. Yogic texts give a continuous parallel to life that you can apply tangibly and understand in a way that offers perspective, and, in turn, this helps us to lift the resistance to change that we all tend to have.
There is nothing to fear in stillness except the awakening of your own power.
A Part of the Revolution,
Kelsey Reed Armbruster