Why Practice Yoga?

I want to be useful to you.

Sometimes that drive, that desire makes me think my blog posts should be things like "Top 10 Tips to a Better Downward Dog" or "How to Engage Your Core in Yoga Poses" or even "Top 5 Meditations for Better Sleep." 

And there's nothing wrong with any of those. That content is out there, right? All out there! All over the place! And really serving people too.

It's not easy to free myself from the grip of that gnawing need in the back of my head: Be Useful. Give them the tips. Keep it tidy & neat. Use trackable metrics & measurable data.

And yet, when I can loosen my white-knuckle grip on the desire to be relevant or to serve you up pinterest-able content or something like that, I rediscover the seed of my truth for being here with you. 

Here's why I practice yoga. 

Not to touch my toes [I promise you, nothing magical happens when you get there]. Not to stand on my head [though that looks nice in a picture, right?].  

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Though the poses feel + look great, they are not why I practice yoga. 

I practice because yoga teaches me how to pay attention. 

To all of it - the gorgeous, glorious beauty of my son. And the spaciousness of a Sunday afternoon at home. And the sound of the rain. But also... my leaky roof. My discomfort with uncertainty. My self-doubt about how this will all work out. 

Even so, I continue to practice paying attention through my yoga + meditation. Because when I can pay attention to my life, I can fully participate in it.

And only when we get off the sidelines of our life and start participating do we have the opportunity to do good things. 

I say all the time that I love teaching yoga in Washington, DC, because the movers + shakers + change-makers come through our doors and into our yoga rooms. I've been touting that line for years now.

It was only this morning that I realized that maybe I'm using that idea as a way to avoid fully engaging with the possibility that I'm a mover + shaker + change-maker too. That we all are. If we can step up.

And how do we step up?

Every time we get on our yoga mats or our meditation cushions or close our eyes for a few moments to take some deep breaths and stop the pattern of reacting or avoiding or distracting ourselves (with food, booze, shopping, etc.), we start to pay attention. And then we wake up to deep privilege of being a change-maker too. 

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Your yoga butt was made to do more than look good in your yoga pants.

So when we practice showing up for ourselves on our yoga mats, we can practice showing up for each other. 

It's time we use that strength + flexibility we've gained from our sweaty yoga classes for being strong, yet flexible enough to really listen to someone with whom we disagree. Use that good night's sleep after a stress-reducing restorative yoga class to fuel your support for candidates you believe in in the mid-term elections. To pay attention to your own loving, patient, compassionate good work in the world. 

I'll practice doing the same.

It's on us. Our yoga butts and our presence. 

Catherine xo 

all photos here, courtesy of the gorgeous  Addy Burr .

all photos here, courtesy of the gorgeous Addy Burr.