Two weeks ago I overheard someone in San Francisco's Cliff's Variety store say, "This is why I love spring. It's full of hope." I was shopping for a few kitchen items for my new cosy home before heading to yoga class at Yoga Tree Castro. I paused briefly to put the statement in my back pocket before quickly finishing my errands and heading to the studio.
On my mat, next to one hundred other mats, I heard my teacher Janet Stone talk with clarity and insight. She has a way of not saying much while speaking to the depths of my soul. That night she spoke of our internal rhythms- the in breath and the out breath, the expansion and the contraction, the rise and the fall- and how it matches the universal rhythms of night and day, light and dark, heaven and earth, life and death. She has that secret way of making you feel like you are actually a part of this world.
She then had us connect to the space in-between- the movement, time, and space in-between the inhale and exhale. Although she has spoken of this before and I have practiced and taught this idea many times over, this night it felt real in a way I had never understood it before.
I realized that spring is full of hope because it is that time in-between... in-between winter and summer. It is a season where we celebrate the magic and the potential that exists in the in-between moments. AHA! EACH moment is an in-between moment! Each moment has the magic and potential for growth, healing, joy, and love.
Despite the epiphany that night, the polarities continue to show up in my life. I teach kindergarten at an all girls school and there is conversation about girl and boy, masculine and feminine. I heard the inspiring Bryan Stevenson, lawyer and social activist, publicly talk about black and white, justice and injustice, hope and despair. And all around me I catch myself labeling people, situations, and things as good or bad, right or wrong.
Then I remember that this is the practice! When I do have the awareness of my own binary thinking, I practice coming back to the teaching of the space in-between. I practice being fully awake to what is and simply being present for the magical spectrum of this life.
As my teacher travels here, there and everywhere (maybe she is in Singapore or Bali, I can't quite keep track), may she know that her teachings continue to evolve and be understood in deeper ways. May we all take a moment to honor our own teachers. May we take a moment to honor our teacher's teacher and their teacher's teacher. May we take a moment to honor the lineage of this practice of yoga and may we honor this thing we call life.
To learn more about Janet Stone, visit her website.