Sunday, October 11, 2009

Emotional Cleansing

From someone who was a punk rock teen with goth inclinations--you know, I wore black and stuff--this is a pretty amazing revelation. I never felt like I fit in anywhere. In yoga I found a community, but have managed to hold onto an old thought that groups and popular things are bad: I was more of an alternative person I thought. Then twenty-or-so years later here I am questioning this need I have felt to be different.

The way I see it, the world has big problems and we need to come together to make something good happen. So it might take something really popular (like yoga?) to bring us together to create a positive solution. And the people who initiate this positive gathering might have to be famous people, or they might become famous in the process. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it can be easy to criticize and be skeptical of someone who is famous. And I'm not suggesting that anyone blindly trust the choice of crowds, but I think that it is good to check out popular things or people and really look into it. Some will probably be shallow, and some might be really amazing.

I came to do these programs at Kripalu with Seane Corn through intuition. I knew I desperately needed to break my routine. I received an email from Kripalu, and thought it sounded good, but I didn't realize the depth of what I was getting into. I really thought I was going on vacation... We have been doing really powerful work physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

I thought it would be relatively light and safe psychologically and intense physically based on the fact that Seane is a famous American yoga teacher. I've seen her beautiful smile and blonde curls in the media so much. The work we did today blew through my unexamined assumptions.

Seane Corn informed us today that she likes to offer a "detox" retreat because it tends to draw a wider or more varied group than what she usually offers. She said that people come in who want to poop and then she delivers her message about yoga and mysticism. Today was about emotional cleansing, and how important that is. I couldn't agree more. When the tears need to flow, they should. And they did. I don't feel capable right now of adequately describing what happened, but maybe it's enough to say that when I put my hands together for "namaste" at the end of class, my fingers found snot trailing from my nose. I had a moment of wondering, "What is going on?" It wasn't obvious why I had just had those powerful tears. I felt humbled, grateful, connected, and in awe. I was thanking God for suffering and healing and for everything that led up to me in that moment. I had a sense of enormity and great suffering and I was okay and this was a miracle.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Anonymous said...

Based on the photos you're sharing of yourself on this blog, I would never have pegged you as the goth type. But then, even I had that sort of period when I was young.

And even though I have the heart of a hippie, I know I don't really look like one, or dress like one too much. Okay, maybe sometimes!

Yet, that's how it is. We tend to pigeon hole people based on appearances, don't we?

Its fascinating that Seanne has this 'famous' image, and clearly how that's communicated is controlled. Having the All-American looks helps the general public assume she is light weight, I imagine. And I guess she doesn't want to scare people perhaps? So she lets people believe what they may.

Sounds like you got just what you needed, even though you thought you were signing up for something a little more easy going.

YogaforCynics said...

Beautiful post.

I think the need to feel different tends to come...well, actually, it probably comes from a lot of different places for a lot of different people, so maybe I'm just talking about myself here, but maybe you can relate...from a feeling that fitting in or being part of a group means denying parts of yourself, making yourself smaller, or less than you could or really want to be, cramming yourself into a narrow identity so you'll be like the other people in the group. And, in most people's school, work, church, or other cultural or countercultural environments, that's usually pretty much the case. Yoga of course is something that also means a lot of things in a lot of people's experiences--what it means to me, ideally, is something that encourages opening to every aspect of oneself--and a radical acceptance of everyone around you. And, if ideas like that can truly become popular, rather than being sidetracked into yet more dogmas and narrow identities, then that could be a truly beautiful thing...

Bob Weisenberg said...

Wow, Brooks. I was seriously moved by your post, then moved again by the depth of Svasti's and YfC's comments. Put the three together and you have something that is profound and deeply meaningful to me in ways I can't begin to describe yet. So I'll just sputter out a few things.

Feeling like an outsider? Check. I grew up moving schools every year and a half on average. I am a gregarious hermit--very outgoing and quite conventionally successful on the outside, but if given the choice, I usually prefer my own company. Stop there, I'm already trying to say too much in a space too small and without enough time.

I ask myself, why do I spend so much time on this virtual Yoga community of ours? Because it's taken what was a beautiful solitary pursuit and turned it into a beautiful communal one, but remaining just private enough not to ruin it. Does that make any sense?

And because Yoga has been the first thing in my life that has truely taught me to start to abandon my ego, time-optimization, achievement-oriented, prove-myself mentality. But I'm not saying I regret the way I was, either. That was good for me, too. Stop. Trying to say too much for the space and time again.

Because these blogs quite suddenly inspire me to pour out stuff like this, usually more about Yoga, but always deeply if sometimes hiddenly personal nonetheless.

Because you're at Kripalu, which through my intimate reading of Stephen Cope's work (work that makes me feel like my long-time personal teacher, even though I've never met him)is like a beacon I'm reluctant to visit because it could never live up to the impact it's already had on my life. But you're telling me people still have profound experiences there unexpectedly, which is one of the many things your blog is about.

Because your story of Sean Corne reinforces what I always end up saying in the frequent blogosphere discussions about the future of spiritual Yoga in America--while others all say the sky is falling I say spiritual Yoga is thriving and growing as we bemoan its decline, masked by the even faster growing, and, in my opinion, also good, far more visible veneer of commercial workout Yoga.

That's it for now. Isn't that enough?

Thanks to all three of you.

Bob Weisenberg

Flo said...

Amazing. I really hope to hear more. Kripalu for me is a special place. It was the first place I ever took a yoga workshop and for me it shook something awake.
This post reminded me of that felling.
So much love.

Unknown said...

Kripalu is an amazing place. I remember the first time I drove up the driveway and said to myself, "I didn't know a place like this even existed!" I felt an incredible feeling of belonging and coming home. (The scents from the kitchen and the sounds of the Kripalu drummers still permeate my memory.)

I came across this quote today and it seemed to fit with the theme of this post:

"Peace is not won by those who fiercely guard their differences, but by those who with open minds and hearts seek out connections."
-Katherine Paterson


Kara-Leah said...

I wanna be there with you studying with Seane Corn too!

Only I'm living in NZ and haven't made it over... yet.

And yep, I never felt like I'd found my tribe until I found yoga. But maybe that was because yoga taught me to open and connect, not because yoga people are a particular kind of people.

'Cos people are people, and we all feel like outsiders, until we dissolve the imaginary boundaries of separate self...

Like your stuff.