“Alright: stop, collaborate & listen!”

While the 90s rapper born Robert Matthew Van Winkle (whom many of us all know better as Vanilla Ice) isn’t necessarily the first name that pops into one’s head when thinking yogically, this quote really spoke to me. (Try not to “sing” the next lyric, and come along for the ride.)

Alright. Is it a bastardization of “all + right”? Hope not, since we’re not! “Al” could also be a contraction like in Spanish – a is the preposition to/at, and el (the, masculine)  combine because the vowels don’t play well together. Thus, a + el = al. Is it, in other words, “to the right”? Hm…Alright, let’s get on with it! Pun intended? You decide. 

How do we stop doing whatever we’ve been doing that just isn’t serving us? To borrow a phrase, if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. Change is hard, but it’s unlikely to stop anytime soon, if ever. (See the “we need the storm” blog from last week.) 

A support system is paramount. It can come through ritual – a hug & kiss when seeing a friend or loved one, it can come through routine – tongue-scraping first thing in the morning, or habit – always putting your keys in the same spot to facilitate finding them. 

New grooves take time to settle in and become the norm. Give yourself that gift – patience, in small sips or baby steps. And forgive slip-ups. If they don’t happen, you’re not trying hard enough.

(Side note: who remembers Susan Powter – “stop the insanity!”)  

The import of the concept of Sangha, or community in Sanskrit, cannot be overstated at this present moment. How can we get out of our own heads, out of our own bubbles, and begin to work together to affect change? How can we begin to abandon or at least put to the side the concept of mine vs. yours, and begin to talk about ours? Humans are hard-wired to crave connection, and social interaction. How can we tread new paths towards a brighter, more egalitarian future for everyone under the sun?

What does collaboration mean? Collaborating necessitates bringing our own experiences to discussions, looking to neither dominate discourse, nor subjugate others’ ideas, but to work together. It can mean putting pen to paper, joining a book club, marching, calling the powers that be, or none of the above. Perhaps it’s as simple as a favorite beverage sipped and savored in the company of a like-minded individual. 

What about non-like-minded individuals? Can we reach across the aisle to hold hands literally or figuratively? (Not during COVID, of course, unfortunately, but you get the idea.) 

Practicing Yoga (asana, or what’s thought of in the West as “doing Yoga”) together, IRL, in real time, is a whole different experience. It’s funny – OMing at the beginning of class is centering and grounding. OMing at the end of class is a whole different animal! Somehow everyone has gotten on the same page by the end of class, and we’re all in tune (even those who, ahem, make a joyful noise). 

There’s an old axiom that’s paraphrased thusly: if you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together. 

Listening is the reason some say we have two ears and one mouth. What or who are you listening to? What are you digesting? Is it too much fast food, is it too much mindless TV, is it a past experience that was none-to-pleasant? Anything any of your senses absorb and experience is digestion – not just food. Try not to ruminate: it’s a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t wanna live there. Take what you can from each experience, then move forward. 

Is anyone else working towards Samadhi, or spiritual union? Please feel free to chime in below if this post resonated with you. Until our mats unfurl again, be well.

Published by yogabymeredith27

A Yogini since 2k, you will find her on the mat, at the mic (for karaoke) or on the couch (reading or napping.) Classes for every body & everybody - come play! In times like these, it's especially important to practice self-care, on and off the mat. Be well.

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