Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Hello Crisis, My Old Friend.

Last week I learned that my child is in trouble. Big trouble. The kind that requires drastic measures, outside help, money, time, and perhaps most importantly, unconditional super-mama love. If you've ever had a child who has struggled, you know exactly how this feels. It creates incredible disruption in the home, fills you with fear and uncertainty, and often requires fundamental shifts in every aspect of your life. It CAN be devastating and all consuming. I'm happy to tell you that for me, it is not. I feel astonishingly calm. I feel fully present to the crisis at hand, capable of dealing with ANY way that it unfolds and able to appreciate the rest of the blessings in my life, and I must say, I'm pretty surprised and amazed by my own reaction. There was a time when I would have been destroyed by the chaos. I know beyond a doubt that what I'm seeing now is the result of 15 years of Yoga. My practice has given me four incredible tools to deal with the current crisis, and I want to share them, both as an homage to the power of Yoga (which surprises and amazes me all the time), and as an offering for those of you who might also be going through difficult times.

1. Witness Consciousness: The first gift of my yoga practice is the ability to be a full participant in my own experience while also witnessing it objectively and compassionately. For years on the mat I have learned to notice all of the sensations of my body, mind and breath in any given moment, and I have practiced stillness in some very uncomfortable and difficult postures. In some ways that practice has served as a sort of "boot camp" for real life. In the midst of the upheaval with my child, I can see clearly all of my own reactions. When the conversation is heated, when he becomes defensive, angry and indignant, I notice the waves of hurt, anger, and frustration that roll through, but rather than allowing them to control and direct my response, I am able to let them move by like passing storm clouds. I'm able to hold fast to equanimity and center, and that seems to carry both of us through the storm.

2. Letting Go of Control: The Bhagavad Gita, one of the most important yoga texts, teaches that we are not the "doers." In other words, the universe is driven by much larger and more infinite consciousness than what we see before us, and while we are an individual expression of that consciousness we are certainly not in control of the way it manifest in our egoic world.  When we become attached to the world of shape and form, we tend to believe that we can determine and manipulate every outcome. Letting go of this idea and the need for control is incredibly liberating. I have a Karmic responsibility and a mother's desire to give my child absolutely everything he needs to navigate this difficult time. I can and must put tools in place for him, but I understand that in the end, I have no control. So much of our suffering comes from this delusion that we CAN control every outcome, even in another's life. We become attached to our idea of how something SHOULD be, rendering us incapable of accepting how it is. When we learn to accept even the darkest of moments with grace, we save ourselves from the heartbreak of endless disappointment.

3. Unconditional Love: Yoga classes often end with the salutation "Namaste" which is a perfect encapsulation of the main spritual presupposition in the practice. Ghandi defined the word this way: I honor the place within you where the entire Universe resides; I honor the place within you of love, of light, of truth, of peace; I honor the place within you that when you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, there is only one of us" Years of meditation and inner work have taught me to be acquainted with this place of infinite light and goodness that lies within, and more importantly, they have taught me to see that light in others even when they can't see it for themselves. My child has become lost in a world where this light is no longer visible to him. The gift of my practice is that I can still see it shining. This frees me from the anger and disappointment I might otherwise experience. It gives me the ability to truly love him unconditionally without expectations, exactly as he is in this moment.

4. Residing in the Now: Ram Dass' famous book Be Here Now reminds us that the present moment is the only one that matters. Suffering comes from attaching to the past, either longing for things as they were or reliving the pain of things that were hurtful. It also comes from attaching to the future with fear and endless worry or with hard and fast expectations about how things must unfold. True peace can only be found in the present moment. It is this awareness and ability to reside in the "now" that may be the most powerful tool of all in weathering a crisis. Practicing presence in the moment allows me to feel joy in the things that are still very "right" with my current circumstance, my friendships, my teaching, my yoga practice, etc.  I can fully enjoy and appreciate the beautiful moments as they occur. Furthermore, I am able to know that each moment is temporary, and that even the most difficult ones will pass creating space for something new. 

The combination of all of these tools allows me to welcome crisis as on old and familiar friend, here just for a moment, beyond my control, and perhaps even carrying gifts of wisdom and understanding. Hello Crisis, my old friend. Looks like we're going to be together for a while....

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Claim Your Power: 5 Simple Ways to Change Your Life and Live Like the High Priestess You Are Meant to Be.

In the past six months, I have had the opportunity to sit with two different Intuitives/Psychics who have read my tarot cards. I don't put a whole lot of stock in this, but the card that keeps coming up for me is the Priestess. First the "High Priestess" and then "The Priestess of Cups."  Both times the card fell in the identity position. I can't say I really understand all that this means or that I believe any of it, and I know that it can be interpreted in a myriad of ways, but I have to admit, I love the idea of sitting in the role of a Priestess.  For years, I have joked about the fact that if there is such a thing as a past life I think I must have been some sort of Druid Priestess. I love nature and ritual and magic, spirit and mystery, and of course, long flowing dresses and wind in my hair. Who wouldn't want to live like a Priestess? A priestess is powerful and mesmerizing, capable and confident. She is who we should all be,  and the truth is, it's easy. Here's how you can make five subtle shifts and manifest that strength in your own life.

1.  Immerse Yourself in Nature. We live in a sterile, commodified, materialistic world that has separated us from the environment and filled us with fear. We are told to protect ourselves from the elements, hide in the shade, avoid pollen, fear bugs and snakes and crawly thing.  A Priestess does not live in fear! She knows her connection to nature brings power and magic to her life. Stop protecting yourself from the elements so thoroughly! Let the sun warm and bronze your skin. Sink your bare feet into the earth. Dive into icy water. Feel the wind in your hair. Make friends with spiders and snakes. Adopt a companion animal. Watch the sun rise and set. Breathe in moonlight and stars. Let the rain wash you clean and realign with the elements.

2. Light a Fire...literally and metaphorically. Thousands of years ago fire was used not only for heat and protection, but for ritual and ceremony. It served as a gathering place, as a tool for burning away impurity, a fuel for alchemy and creation. Bring this back into your life. Build a fire pit. Write down the things that are preventing you from living in your full power and truth and drop them in as an offering. Become mesmerized by dancing flames and glowing coals. Listen to the pops and crackles and embody the power at the center of the heat. Then ignite just as powerful a flame in your own heart. Discover your passion and fuel it with dreams and visions, with big ideas and the magic of hope. Let that inner fire light the way towards the life you want.

3. Cultivate a Community (but don't fear seclusion). A Priestess stands strong in the center of a group of like-minded people. She inspires others and draws inspiration from them as well. She knows that we exist for connection, and she craves that. Choose carefully. Make sure your community is authentic, that you uplift each other. Wrap your arms around a friend who shares the struggles of her journey with you, and allow yourself to be held when your heart is breaking and world is crumbling. Feel the healing power of sisterhood as the divine feminine courses through you all. At the same time, allow yourself time to be alone. Seclusion is fuel for the fire in your heart. It allows you to listen to the wisdom of your own intuition so that your offering to the group is authentic and powerful.

4. Own Your Sexuality.  A Priestess is a powerful, sensual being, not because she cheapens her sexuality by giving it away frivolously, but because she knows its power and guards it wisely. She is attractive because she knows her value and never barters it away with her body. Connect with your beautiful, sensual nature by taking care of yourself. Let go of shame. Massage your skin with pure, organic oils and watch it glow with magical luster and radiance. Walk around naked in your home. Let your hips sway when you walk. Toss your hair back when you laugh. Strengthen your muscles. Stretch languorously like a cat.  Learn to love your body no matter how curvy, soft, or imperfect it may be. When you feel desirable, everyone around you will feel it too. There is enormous power in this. Know it, and use it wisely.

5. Find a path to God and invite other people to join you on the journey. The primary role of a Priestess in ancient times was to lead people to Spirit, but you can't be a guide until you have made the journey yourself. Whatever that looks like for you, commit to it. Create a "Sadhana," a spiritual practice, that enriches and enlivens your soul, and use the fire you have ignited to adhere to it with unwavering discipline. Create rituals for yourself that keep you on the path. Seek the divine everywhere, even in the places that might seem profane. Know that once the veil of illusion lifts, everything becomes Holy. Then point that Holiness out to others. Help them see what you see. Let the light  shine through your eyes so that they can find it in their own hearts.

It's simple, really. Choose today to embrace your power and become the High Priestess you were meant to be!

(to be published soon on

Sunday, April 20, 2014

What Nobody Tells You About Yoga Teacher Training

This year I co-taught my first 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training. It was an incredible privilege to watch a group of beautiful yogis and yoginis dive deeper into their practice, face their insecurities, embrace their new roles with courage and authenticity and connect with each other, but I also felt their frustration as they struggled in ways that they never anticipated.

At the same time, I completed my own 500 hour training. I was a bit more prepared for the roller coaster ride that it would be, but even so, I found the same issues emerging for myself that were happening in my students. Most of us go into Yoga teacher training because we have been deeply touched by our practice, we have been inspired by a wonderful teacher, we want to learn more, and we want to share what we learn with others. We expect the training to offer all that we currently enjoy in yoga and more, and the truth is, for the most part, that is what we get, but some things about YTT are never told to us.  This is my list of the top 3:

#1. Yoga Teacher Training Will Change Your Life:  Oh, I know you are all thinking that you've heard that a million times.  I did too sometime before I embarked on my first training. But I never really questioned what that would mean. I assumed it meant that I would live more mindfully, that I would be more spiritual, that I would connect to a cool group of people. What I didn't know was that my life would be thrown into utter upheaval. When I went into teacher training, I was married and content, living a very stable and suburban (and superficial) lifestyle with my 2 children, beautiful home and 2 dogs. It was everything we are told to believe we should want and need. Having completed that training and another, I am divorced. I am raising 2 teenagers and 3 dogs alone. Most of my former friends are not in my life anymore. I have opened a yoga studio, live with enormous financial instability, travel all over the world to teach and practice yoga, and can hardly fathom my previous life. My story is not unusual. I meet people all the time who have had a similar experience. Chrys Kub published an article in Elephant Journal in February 2012 while I was deep in the muck of separation and an unraveling marriage that resonated profoundly with me. The title is "Question of the Day: Does Practicing Yoga Cause Divorce?"  In it she divulges her own experience that bears a striking similarity to my own, and she concludes that "as women begin this process of rediscovering themselves [through yoga], many times the husbands do not come along for the ride. They just sit idly by, saying we are "crazy" and too into that "yoga stuff." Meanwhile, their wives are slipping away, and probably never coming back." In reclaiming your authentic self as we do in yoga and particularly in the hard work of teacher training, you risk losing those who have fallen in love with the false persona that you may have been wearing for years. Sometimes that may be husbands or wives, sometimes friends or family members. The deeper practices of yoga may be incomprehensible to many of the people in your life, and many of them will walk out as a result. This kind of "change" can be extraordinarily painful and unexpected, but it can lead to a life of abundant and authentic connection because the ones who stick around will be those who truly care about you.

#2 There Will Be Times When Yoga Teacher Training Will MakeYou Hate Yoga:  When I began training, I thought I would relish the opportunity to practice everyday, but I was accustomed to practicing primarily in a studio, with a beloved teacher, surrounded by friends. My pre-YTT yoga practice didn't require me to think at all. I showed up, and all was carefully prepared and crafted for me. In training, I had to develop a personal practice, and I had to do it amidst all of the other brain-stretching, overwhelming information I was trying to digest. Most days I loved rising at 5:30 and stumbling into the adjoining room in my pajamas to work through my sadhana (a fully engrained morning ritual now), but occasionally, I held a visceral hatred for my early morning alarm. I was frustrated by trying to do my practice and learn sanskrit names for postures at the same time. My own sequencing didn't feel as seamless and fluid as the classes I had attended for years. I longed for the days when a class was served up perfectly balanced for me to savor and enjoy. The same was true of the many hours spent in training. For the first few sessions, I sat wide-eyed and delighted. I wanted to remember every moment, every word, every nuance of what my teachers were sharing, but eventually, I found myself getting annoyed with some of my fellow students' questions, watching the clock to see when the anatomy lesson would end, feeling like I wanted to crawl out of my skin if I had to listen for one more minute. I chastised myself for that reaction and I felt like an inadequate yogi for my lack of attention and interest. What I know now is that those reactions to both my personal practice and the class sessions were common, and that in many ways they were a sign of my resistance to incredible changes that were awakening in me. Yoga is first and foremost a tool to awakening self-realization, and self-realization ultimately means a deep awareness of one-ness with all. This kind of emotional and Spiritual growth is hard, and your ego-identity has a stake in resisting. As you begin to shake off the part of the mind that keeps you separate from and in competition with other beings, as you begin to recognize the unity and divinity of all, resistance shows up in subtle but powerful ways, as boredom, as irritation, as doubt, or as any number of other things. There is safety in staying small, and part of your consciousness fears growth and transformation.  The practice is to begin to recognize these states in yourself so that you can move past them mindfully and enjoy the full depth of your experience. 

3. You Will Graduate from Yoga Teacher Training Feeling Like You Know Very Little.  When I registered for training, I assumed that I would complete it with a similar body of knowledge to that of my favorite teachers. I  really had no idea what, exactly, I would learn, but I figured it couldn't be too much.  Ha!  How little I knew!  Yoga is an ancient practice, and the body of information around philosophy, language, energy, anatomy, history, traditions and myriad other categories is almost incomprehensibly large. Even after completing 500 hours of training, I feel like I am still at the very surface. I have learned a great deal, but there is much that I still long to know. At the end of your 200 hour training, you will probably feel as if you have been offered a glimpse into this seemingly inexhaustible supply of information, but it will feel slippery at best. It will take more depth, time and training to really grasp some of what you are taught initially, and some of it will elude you for years. See this as a blessing, not a source of frustration. Yoga offers the opportunity to grow and learn ad infinitum. You get to explore your own vast inner experience even as you absorb the ancient wisdom and knowledge of those who have traveled before you. Each workshop and training you do, each book that you read, each wise teacher who inspires you, will enrich not only your ability to teach, but your ability to realize your full human potential. You will likely NEVER exhaust this well of knowledge. 

If someone had shared this list with me before I began my first training, I probably would have completely disregarded it. In my hubris, I would have thought it may apply to a lot of people, but I would be different. Perhaps that is your reaction too, and perhaps that is a good thing. How many of us would still sign on if we knew what really lay before us? Despite it all, though, the experience of becoming a yoga teacher has been one of the best of my life (second only to being a mother). I live my life with a full open heart and enormous gratitude for the richness of my experience and for the beautiful souls who have shared the journey with me.  For me, there really was no choice. Though I didn't understand what was happening, a part of my soul was crying out for something more than the way I was living my life.  In the words of Ana├»s Nin:

"the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” 

If that day has also come for you. welcome it and enjoy the ride!

A Lifetime of Easters

I grew up Catholic. I attended Catholic School for 16 years, all the way through college. I faithfully attended Mass on Sundays and Holy Days. My mother was a former Catholic Nun. My father was a lector, a choir member and a leader on the parish council, my brother was an altar boy. My Grandparents belonged to an elite Catholic society called the Order of the Holy Sepulchre. I practiced piano in a convent, held my first job in a rectory, and had my first kiss in the choir loft of the church. My entire childhood revolved around the church, and most of my friends' lives did too, especially during Holy Week.

Beginning with Palm Sunday, the Catholic Church shifts into high ceremonial gear. Over the course of one week, the devout Catholic will experience and often participate personally in processions, the waving of palm fronds, foot washing ceremonies, veneration of inanimate objects, candlelight incantations, public baptisms and confirmations, elaborate hymns, multicolored vestments and altar cloths, incense, trumpets and exuberant exhortations in an unrivaled ritualistic feast.

As a young girl with a devout heart and a flair for pageantry and drama, I loved most of the Holy Week ceremony. It offered a change from the usual Sunday routine, and the many hours sitting in the pew were generally offset by free time to romp with friends afterwards while our parents talked or readied the Church for the next event. The only exception, for me, was Good Friday. After the Holy Thursday Mass commemorating Jesus' Last Supper, the altar was stripped bare, the instruments were silenced, and the candles were snuffed. The Friday service was solemn and devoid of all of the trappings that spoke to my soul. It was a cold and lifeless routine in which I was asked, along with the rest of the congregation to play a role in the reading of the passion, reciting, on cue, "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!" as we shouldered our responsibility for the death of our God. I cringed every time I uttered those words. I believed that had I lived at that time, I would not have been one of the crowd calling for death, that I would have gone against the grain and defended goodness and Truth.

Would I ever have "Crucified Him?"

All these years later, things have changed for me.  I don't participate in the Catholic Holy Week ritual anymore, but it is never far from my mind as these days come each year, and I have given a lot of thought to what it all means and to how I feel the stories of Jesus' Glorification, Death and Resurrection relate to me. What I have learned through my yoga is that we don't need to seek God in any Church or authority because the light of divinity resides in each one of us. It is the part of us that remains unaffected by outside circumstance, that is constant, whole and infinite, unchanged even when our smaller self, the one that holds tight to our constructs of ourselves as individuals with unique and important identities convinces us otherwise. Through the practices of yoga, and specifically meditation, we learn to empower that Higher Consciousness in ourselves, and by doing so, we learn to embody it in our lives and relationships. Even further, we learn to recognize it in all other beings.

Nonetheless, we can never escape the endless cycle of oscillation between the ego self and the Divine Self. This is the human experience, and it shows up in much the same way as Easter Week. When we choose a path of spirituality, we are like Jesus' entering the city of Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, prepared to lead, greeted as wise, in control of the moment and radiating goodness. We cultivate meaningful friendships. We choose our sangha, or spiritual community, carefully and surrender to our intuition and spirit as he did at the Last Supper. We claim our place in the community of Higher Consciousness.

But Good Friday comes for us all, and even when we have identified that "still, small voice within" that guides us to Truth and uplifts our spirit, the fact is, that, for the most part, we all CHOOSE to crucify it. We numb ourselves with unhealthy relationships, with substances, with media, or with any one of dozens of other degrading options. We kill the "Christ," the anointed or highest part of ourselves again and again. Sometimes we fall short of our ideal and do this on a daily basis, sometimes just now and then, but it is part of the experience of being human. And because it is, we need not label it as bad, or evil, or shameful, because the real "Good News" is that no matter how far we bury the light within, no matter how heavy the stone we roll over the tomb, it still shines. When we have faith in the truth of our own light, when we find our way back again and again to its source in our heart, Easter comes, and our highest self triumphs, at least until the cycle begins again: We find the light, we crucify it, it is reborn brighter than before. Many who espouse Eastern philosophies like Buddhism and Hinduism would say that the cycle continues not just in this lifetime but into the next and the next and the next.

And so this year, though I will miss the rituals of my youth, I will still choose to celebrate Easter...the triumph of light over dark, of goodness over evil. I will create my own pageantry as I light candles, do yoga, and meditate. I will offer my gratitude for the fully human aspect of Jesus who showed us the path to our own divinity through his enlightenment, and I will resolve, once again, to roll back the stone and free the light in my own soul.

Kate Mullane Robertson says it so much more beautifully.....treat yourself to a full read of this poem. It is well worth it:

“I am a 
a Phoenix,
a sweet 
never born 
and never dying 

only self-immolation 
and resurrection 

and resurrection 

self-immolation and 

over, and over,
and over
and again.. 

but, I am ready. 

Sometimes it is the 
heart that burns, 
white hot and 
eager for the resurrection 

and sometimes 
it is the body... 

the body of selfish desires,
the body of spectred dreams,
the body of wants and woes, 
sorrows and imaginings 

I am not afraid 
of the 
bring it on...


refuse to 
live in the vestibule of
in between, 
the space 
where the ego 
still stands 
by the 
letting go 

I welcome the 
Phoenix fire,
let it burn 
hot and 
scrupulously --
incineration of 
whatever would 
keep me from 
loving without reason, 
and with abandon 

Let its flames engulf 
the me, 
the my, 
the mine 
and failure, 

of what I think I've earned... 
and what I'll 
never be... 

let the veneer, 
the scarred paint,
the flash of self 
blister and 
in the 
heat of unselfed 

I am weary of 
carrying around 
not quite
incinerated ashes 
of resistance, 
the almost immolated shards
of sharpness and arrogance,
the pulverized
still peppered 
with bits of bone 
and broken incisors,
the bitter fragments of 
that once 
gnashed and gnawed 
at the details of 
who's to blame,
of he said/she said,
of human choices made, 
and what went wrong... 

a limboed 
state of 
regret and pride, 
of what we wanted, 
what could have been... 

I want

no, more! 

I long for, 
I ache to know 
dissolution of 
the veiled ego, 
the clouded past, 
the "what never was" 
and is 
and really 
shouldn't be... 

I can do this,
I know I can

I can walk so fully into the 
that there is nothing 
to carry back out 
but the gold, 
the silver, 
the whatever is essential, 
what lives beyond and 
never dies

no rust... 
no dross... 
no smell of fire... 
just a sweet nestling me
as pure 
as the 
"form of the fourth"* 

There is no flickering ember of 
the past's tinseled 
moments of selfish 
indulgence and accomplishment, 
the genetic grime 
of dark alleys 
filled with ghosts 
sorrows waiting 
to pull me down,
and yet
still further 

no bits and pieces of 
another time, 
a former me, 
a maybe him,
or "what if her" 
left to cling 
to new 
downy feathers,
soft and wet 
as we 
emerge from the 
clean, white 
ash of 

Just dust and 
fine as silt 
to soften the journey 
like a powdery 
just a dusting, 
quickly blown away by 
Spirit --
fresh winds of 
I am --

I am! 

I am 

I am 
the I AM 
that never was a 
and seeks no promise 
will be. 
But sings the 
sweet silver 
song of 
I am,
I am,
I am,
I am 
all that 
right now, 
in this moment 
of grace... 

"here am I, 
send me...” 
― Kate Mullane Robertson

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Mesquites and Mangroves...More on the Instagram Challenge

In my last post, "No Pictures for this Yogi," I addressed MY OWN reluctance to engage in the kinds of Instagram and Facebook Yoga Pose challenges that have been circulating online. I did so because I had been wrestling with my own demons, ego and temptation, and I wanted to clarify for myself why I felt the way that I did.  As a writer, I often find that the only way for me to make sense of things is to give them words, and my last blog was my exploration of a topic that was unsettled for me. When I went on to publish, it also became public, and since it did, it has sparked a mountain of reaction.

Some of the feedback has been very positive. Many people sent me notes to let me know that they felt the same, but much of it has been negative. Some people who I love, admire and respect felt judged for posting pictures, and they felt like the blog was aimed at them. Today's post is meant to clarify anything that may have been misunderstood.

Let me be clear:  I did not in any way mean to imply that there is anything intrinsically negative, demeaning, shallow or superficial about taking or posting pictures in beautiful yoga poses. I know that many of you have used these challenges as tools to help you grow your practice physically, emotionally and spiritually. I know that for many of you it has been more of a lesson in humility than ego as you post pictures of yourselves in less than perfect alignment. I know that for many of you it has helped you reclaim a sense of place, a feeling of belonging to a community, a visibility that you may have shied away from for years. Those are all beautiful and amazing benefits, and I honor your willingness to engage in that exploration. In some ways I even envy your ability to do so in a way that is uplifting.

FOR ME, engaging with yoga through pictures like this would not have been healthy. I say this with the utmost humility and recognition that I have much inner work left to do. For many years, I bought into the myth of superficiality that is pervasive in our culture. I believed that if I was thin enough and pretty enough, if I wore the right shoes and the right brand names, that I would be happy. When I began to practice yoga, I became less concerned with how my body looked and more concerned with what it could do. But even then, I felt like if I could stretch far enough, balance well enough, flow freely enough, assume inversions, bend backwards, and bind, I would be satisfied. I spent hours working towards a "perfection" that I know is completely unattainable.  I am not proud of those attitudes. It has taken a lot of effort and self inquiry to overcome them and embrace the truth that spirit and consciousness resist form and tangible expression. Nevertheless, I remain profoundly aware that the demon is not vanquished but merely subdued, and I know that for me a challenge that requires me to post pictures of myself everyday would feed the worst of me, not the best.

Just like plants and trees, human beings derive nourishment and find what they need to grow in various ways. Some trees, like the Mesquite, throw down a tap root 60 feet deep. They gather what they need to fulfill their potential from dark and unseen places. Some trees are more like the Mangrove. They spread their roots along the surface above the ground and can nourish themselves in the open air visible to all. Both trees are beautiful, both are growing, both are gathering what they need to thrive and develop.  It seems that yogis are like this too. I am more of a Mesquite, but that doesn't make me value the Mangroves any less.

I think this is an important discussion. If there is one thing we ought to have gained from our yoga practice, it is the awareness that nothing should be beyond examination. One of my teachers talks frequently of the necessity for "ruthless" self-observation. If after engaging in that kind of inquiry you find that an Instagram challenge is useful to you, I applaud you, and I will be the first one to "like" your post. But I hope that as a community, we can also bring some awareness to why these poses are valuable. Perhaps a sentence or two about what it means to you, about what you hope the observer will "see" in it, about your journey. Let's give it a context and help people understand what this practice is all about.