Yoga teaches I am whole yet inside of me exists a world of contradiction. A part of me loves, another hates, this part is kind while that part is cold, one piece sings and the other weeps, one has patience, the other is frustrated. It goes on and on and at first I never realized this was so yet as I looked deeper into myself I saw all of these raw and vulnerable pieces of myself and it was shocking. This is what I didn’t ask for when I started to practice yoga.
Anytime we are shocked we turn away based on reaction. We avoid pain because we are told it is bad. We bury emotions that others tell us we shouldn’t feel or that make us appear weak. For a long time I had to unplug from myself because I saw total chaos inside of me and no one told me that was okay. I disconnected. I had no tools to organize this chaos.
I saw the world fragmented, divided. I saw the contradictions inherent on this planet: the rich and poor, the hot and cold, the suffering and the liberation. People acknowledged this. But what I wasn’t told was that I was a piece of this larger planet. That within me all of existence was so delicately folded. Each cell of my body holds the measuring stick to all I am made up of, my coding. If this is so, why wouldn’t I be the measuring stick of what the planet was made up of, the planet being the measuring stick of this solar system, the galaxy, and on and on.
Here I sit infinitesimally small yet infinitely large, radiating the contradictions of existence.
My practices have improved. Now to mediate these paradoxes I sit with myself each day in meditation. This allows me to have concentrated awareness while observing my body, mind and breath. My whole being is in a symphonic dialogue and when each piece resonates together I can see myself more clearly. The clearer I see, the stiller I become and this stillness feeds observation, showing me things not available to those that don’t do the work. What is the work? It is not just doing yoga in the sense of gym class. The work is when I take an honest look at myself, perceiving all that I am made up of in order to move closer to equanimity, balance.
The minute I can see what I am made up of I have a better map to find centre. In centre I place myself between the paradoxes and contradictions that I came into the planet with. In the middle of myself I am able to respond to my environment from a place of compassion instead of my primitive patterned fears.
I become labelled as a teacher because I do the work, not because I am perfect. I never want to be placed on that pedestal. I am just as flawed as the next person. I am a teacher because I found tools that work, a yoga practice that is measured and a seated meditation practice that allows me to be with myself. I strive to better understand myself so I can navigate my personal waters. Sometimes I fumble other times I rise. The things that make me me don’t go away I just learn better techniques to deal with them and see them for what they are.
I have an intimate understanding into I the characters of my emotions. How they feel, taste and linger in my body. So delicately I watch the waves of these emotions rise as my circumstances change. This intricacy requires a dedicated practice because it’s so subtle it risks going undetected. I am honest with myself. I watch anger arise when someone cuts me off in traffic. If I am tired sometimes I let myself be angry knowing full well that whatever I give my energy to takes energy from me. This is the deal I make. The best of times I am so on cue that I watch unnecessary emotion arise but then I choose to feed love. That is the most elevated practice. It is a measure of my own personal practices and where I am in time and space. I work to observe and not judge for I am human and I am flawed, vulnerable and doing my best with what I was given.
When I look inside I see my world of contradiction. But with practice I see its beauty. I see that it is giving me information so I can better navigate through this world. I know that all of it exists inside of me but the choice of what I feed is all my doing. I know my work is to feed love and move from a place of compassion. I also am honest and know that this is a daily practice and it will never end. The deeper I look the more I see and the more I see the more work I know there is. On this path right when you think you are done you aren’t looking deep enough. Sometimes it’s exhausting, seemingly insurmountable but then I remember it’s not for me, it’s for the bigger picture. It is so I can set the conditions for others to choose an elevated state.
In all my fragmentation I see the pain and suffering of the planet, each society and its peoples. It’s all the same. I know the work is far greater than I can ever imagine and then what choice do I have but to love myself and others for the paradox of this existence. Nothing is broken nor does it need to be fixed, it is merely fragmented, divided, and needs more love to mend the fraying seams into a greater wholeness.
Bio: Kat has been teaching Katonah Yoga both locally and worldwide through public classes, workshops, retreats and trainings. Her greatest mentors are Nevine Michaan and her mystical dog Hamlet. She has been using the tools and techniques of a measured yoga practice to live a joyous, magical life. Spending hours each day immersed in practice has shown her the impeccable design of human form and the geometry of confined space. There is a pattern that hides behind these momentary snapshots we see and understanding this pattern moves us into greater alignment and harmony. Look out for her book “Yoga as Origami, Themes from Katonah Yoga” a measured yoga practice explaining the functional fits and awe inspiring impeccable design of the human form.