Growing up, my mother was quite the rebel. I was, like I'd imagine most kids are, embarrassed of her. My family was quite different from the conservative republicans that surrounded us in Houston, Texas. At the time all I wanted was to be like everyone else. As a child I was insecure and shy. I never spoke up and lived life as a people pleaser, always telling them what they wanted to hear. The only time I felt free was when I danced and performed, which I did until I found yoga in 2000. Through the practice of yoga I've come to know myself more deeply. When I became a teacher I learned how to speak up. Through introspection and self-observation I'm finding my voice.
I've done a lot of self-inquiry in the last year as I clarify what exactly yoga is to me and what I am offering as a teacher. As yoga explodes there has been so much talk about what is "real" yoga. Although the conversation has gotten quite exhausting, it has prompted me to ask myself that same question. There is no one answer, as there rarely is for the difficult questions. In this case for me, asking the question has been more important than finding the answer. We each need to decide for ourselves what yoga is, why we come to our mat, and what we want out of our practice. The question invites us to dig deep beneath the surface and dive into the most profound inquiries of who we are, and what we hope to do in this life.
What I've discovered for myself is that I value integrity. I desire authenticity, creativity and diversity. I've come to realize that my mission is to inspire others to own their individuality, to be themselves fully and embrace every part of their being with love and acceptance.
Now I also realize this isn't easy. We need to support each other and release our judgement. We need to work together to create an environment that embraces differences. In whatever way we can, boost those who are being themselves. We also need to be willing step out of our own box and challenge the status quo, to venture in the unknown and try something new. We need to be vulnerable and brave enough to speak our truth, to follow our heart and do our dharma. The world needs each one of us to be more uniquely ourselves.
Champion the right to be yourself; dare to be different and to set your own pattern; live your own life and follow your own star. -Wilfred Peterson
p.s. I'm no longer embarrassed of my mom. She is a true inspiration of someone who makes her own rules and crafts her own life. I'm so proud of her and so grateful to have her as a role model. xo