When I can now, I take time for yoga practice. I took my first yoga class last summer and this sacred movement meditation has been strong line from that time of rest to the more frenetic days of this fall and early winter. Yoga is of course a religious practice which comes from the Hindu tradition and it is the intersection of spiritual and physical which I find so nourishing. What I am in my current curiosity and ignorance of its lessons is appreciating what it teaches us about being both supple and strong. Supple and strong are qualities I believe we will need in these days that are now upon us. I do not go to a trendy studio or a place of mostly super-fit extremists. I take the classes as they’re offered and they fit in my schedule at my local YMCA. And I study the texts of the Bhagavad Gita. One that seems appropriate for our times is: “They approach me, so I receive them. All paths, Arjuna, lead to me.”
Through my introduction to yoga, I have learned the sequence of the warrior poses. The first has a wide stance and your hands straight up as if surprised by the need for such a stance. In the second, weight is more balanced and your arms are stretched out one in front and one behind ready to take to aim at what needs to be pointed out. And in the third warrior pose, you are balance on one leg and foot with your eyes fixed on a point ahead. By adjusting to your gaze slightly ahead of you once can find balance because in that stance, one can maintain that tricky balance on one leg. Yoga teaches you to be prepared, poised, positioned and balanced.
In this year before us, let us each find whatever is needed to be prepared, poised in our knowledge that what we believe about the world matters, positioned to take action and balanced in maintaining our own perspective that while these times are hard, they are NOT end times. Let us also remember the importance of being flexible and yet prepared to address what is before us. Let us remember our strength, both inner and outer, and also our capacity to do things we have never done before. And perhaps most importantly, let us keep our eyes fixed at a point slightly before us, because the future is always waiting to unfold. May we be the ones to help with that unfolding and to make it one filled with love and justice.
Rev. Leslie Takahashi