Yesterday I had a wonderful conversation with Risa Garon, founder of the National Family Resiliency Center. We are working to put together a grant to bring yoga and meditation to young women who have experienced family trauma like the loss of a loved one, divorce, moving, or personal afflictions like depression, eating disorders, or anxiety. During our conversation it became evident at the heart, we are interested in helping young women re-assign value to themselves and identify their value within the context of their community.
For many young women it is a challenge to identify their value outside of what they own, and their physical features. It is our hope to help them discover their value in terms of what they can give.
The term currency comes from the Latin word "currens" which means,'a state of flowing.' On its own, gold has no value. It is only valuable when it is being traded or 'moved' from one person to another. So, to know our own value, we need to move and be moved. We must find our gifts and do something with them.
I remember many years ago during an herb walk with David Winston, he mentioned that in the Cherokee tradition, if a person was depressed it was called 'spirit sickness.' This was a very serious condition and was treated within the tribe by giving that person to an elder or a medicine man as a helper or caretaker. The spirit would get stronger through the act of service. This fed the flame of spirit until the persons light was restored.
In my eyes, yoga is another way to feed the flame and get our currency moving. It can move us outside of the small locus of 'self' where we get stuck. In a yoga practice we can face our insecurities, our fears of failure and success, rise to the challenge, and sit quietly with our hearts and listen to the voice inside can tell us where to go. When done in the right spirit, yoga can provide us with the right questions needed to identify our soul work and the communities that can be served by this work.
It is my hope that yoga is valued by its ability to bring people together in a safe place and for its ability to move energy THROUGH its practitioners. That a yoga classroom is a space where deeper questions are asked, tears are shed, frustrations expressed, changes are made, and learning can happen.
It is my hope that every person that walks out of a yoga class thinking, 'what can I contribute?' And that contribution is made with a smiling heart.