This past month I wanted to support the initiative of my youngest son who of his own accord wanted to do a half marathon for various charities campaigning for stopping Asian hate. He ran and I cycled. Reminiscent of less than 15 years earlier when the roles were reversed as I taught him to ride his bike. It was hard enough then keeping up with him. All this before the outcome of the George Floyd trial which in a similar way to the Asian murders has brought the world’s attention to address racial injustice and inequality and yet is also hope for the start of a real change in the world. As a family we sat blinking back tears as we listened to the verdict being read out which sent a clear message to the world that police brutality will not be tolerated at least in the state of Minneapolis.
What brings meaning to your teaching?
It’s hard to avoid all the difficult news and travesty when at the same time it is our only conduit to witnessing the rest of the world and we have a narrow window to see into it. We have been in our own limited spheres for a long time here in the U.K. It feels so important to me to honour the suffering from the people of India, Brazil, the USA and beyond.
One of the key teachings of cultivating compassion in Buddhism is that just as it’s important to feed a body with nutritious food to stay healthy, that our minds equally need a healthy diet of what we feed into our psyche. What we fill our minds with is after all where we place our focus and in order to be able to generate feelings of care, kindness and empathy, we actually need to instil positivity, rather than negativity. Our mental fitness is necessary to be able to direct care towards ourselves and then to others. It’s pretty simple, healthier minds enable us to access our ability to cultivate action such as compassion. Not as easy as it seems though with the tabloid press, social media etc releasing untruths and speculation that then circulate. It is within our choice however to disregard, to not give our attention to malicious rumours and to spend our time more wisely. Anyone who has watched the Netflix show ‘The Social Dilemma’ has already had an insight into the damage of being hooked into the whirlwind of social media. I also listened to an excellent talk this morning on Radio 4 (14 minute download) by Tristan Harris on the damage social media does through targeting us with adverts. We are the product when we spend time on it. It’s a multi million dollar industry that is booming.
Aside from the effect of seeing a post that has us spiralling into worry and getting clogged with anxiety over the smallest trigger when we already have so much on our plates with the adjustment in our lives this year coping with separation, enormous change and the threat to our lives and livelihoods. Everyone has quite simply had enough.
Compassion isn’t some airy fairy word. It’s a way of being that can help bring so much meaning and resonance to your life enabling you to forgive yourself and others for past transgressions. It has nothing to do with yoga per se and yet it has everything to do with our yogic path.
I hope you can join me this Saturday 8 May for my Yin Yoga and Compassion Meditation Workshop at 11:30am.
The details are here……
Meditation has been the cornerstone to which I turn in order to feel the softening in my mind. It’s like a moisturising mind rain shower. It’s possible that I’m only able to access this feeling nowadays through the repetition and constancy of my practice over the years. I’ve been practicing for a disaster for as long as I can remember. The whole point of the practice after all is to build a resiliency before disaster strikes, so that we have a clear method to rely on. I know it’s not easy or possible for everyone to establish an ongoing practice with their lives and cultivating other methods such as developing compassion, care, empathy and understanding can also have a hugely beneficial impact on managing stress and difficulty. Group practice and gatherings are often the time when the benefits of the power of the practices are touched upon or genuinely felt by an individual and consequently provide clearer motivation to want to make this a regular habit or develop a practice of this kind. It was hard to initially imagine that this could effectively be ‘done’ or felt online when the energetic fields of others are not palpably picked up from our immediate surroundings. And yet as energy is an unseen phenomena and is ours alone to experience, I for one have felt the powerful resonance by being in conversation with others online just as viscerally as if I were feeling it from them in the room and possibly even more so, because, I believe, I am safe at home to experience my own thoughts, feelings and transference in my own way.
In the coming year I will continue to teach in this way online enabling me to provide offerings to a far wider audience than I ever imagined. There has been less expense for everyone, time saved, less energy expenditure in not having to travel, less stress, not to mention safety and control over what you choose to focus on. I’ve been able to grow in my understanding through immense fields of literature and study this past year attending conferences, visiting laboratories and venturing into areas I have only ever dreamed of enjoying such as dance and the world of somatics.
I hope to see you soon for an upcoming workshop that are new this year and follow the seasons and will not be repeated. I’ve been able to upload past recordings of the live events on to Vimeo-on-demand which in itself was a major triumph for me as a one woman (and sons) studio. It’s been an honour and privilege to have had your presence and attendance at any previous workshop or training this past year and even if we haven’t met face to physical face, I feel as if I’ve got to know an important part of many of you through your emails, essays and feedback to me. To every teacher who has walked this path with me, we know that it is this connection and witness to change and transformation in someone’s life that provides meaning to our own lives and existence as yoga teachers and is a gift appreciated beyond measure.
May is here already and I hope it brings a freshness and renewed hope to your life,
Sarah Lo ~ May 4, 2021
Mum to boys, witness to change, student of yoga.
Trying to figure out Vimeo…….the not such fun part of being a yoga teacher.