This is the blog post that I’ve been meaning to write for a long time. The thing is, I wasn’t sure if it would be a break-up post, or a let’s-work-things-out post.
For the past year, IAYB has sat quietly waiting for… something. I haven’t posted anything since February 2016. But while I never had the heart to shut it down, I didn’t have the energy or drive to do anything. I was waiting for the right time, the right thing to say, the right something.
And then I slowly started to feel the call. I also saw a bunch of dumb shit going on in the yoga world, and I couldn’t not say anything about it. Shit like a well-reputed instructor who presents at conferences around the world post a misogynist rant on his Facebook profile, and an American practitioner who claims that she was raped by her teacher traininer and mentor at a well-known school in India (Sampoorna Yoga School, who posted an impassioned denial on their FB page and called her allegations “slander”). This shit keeps on happening, and while everyone gets in a tizzy on social, nobody is really calling for accountability or taking anyone to task.
There’s something else, too. We live in dark times. It takes every fibre of my being on a daily basis to not let hopelessness, cynicism and despair defeat me. Yoga helps (so do other kinds of movement, and connection, and community), and it still has the potential to help plenty of people. I know that the world needs more than yoga, and my time may be better spent working on something more “worthwhile” than this little corner of the internet. But maybe this little corner of the internet is what I have to contribute. Maybe the resistance needs to take a breath and practice self-reflection.
What it’s really about, though, is love. There is a lot of love in these coded pages. Since 2009, I have poured my heart into posts and the community around IAYB. This is what I’ve missed the most during the silence. I’ve missed the people who were drawn into the IAYB circle, to whom I’m connected on social media, and who supported my work in the past. I’ve missed conversations and jokes and, yeah, even the gossip.
In some ways, I feel like I have maintained a connection to yoga culture, but I also feel much less involved than I once was at the “height of IAYB,” circa 2011-2014. I no longer actively teach, I don’t organize events, I don’t attend conferences or symposiums. While I once went to yoga workshops at least monthly (sometimes multiple weekends in a month would be occupied with some kind of yoga training), now I rarely attend public events or even studio classes.
However, I can’t say that I haven’t been practicing. I have a solid home practice which isn’t based in asana, but rather guided meditations, light visualizations, and self-reflection. Whenever life throws challenges at me, the best respite has been time spent on my bolster wrapped in a blanket with an eye pillow on my face.
So if I haven’t been blogging, what have I been up to lately? Living. Being in relationship. Growing friendships. Adventuring. Fretting about my aging and increasingly frail parents. Practicing deep listening as I educate myself on resistance and labour movements, white supremacy, anti-racism work, decolonization, intersectional feminism, etc etc. Working a normal job like a normal person (something that nobody in yogaland seems to do or talk about).
While my energy for volunteer and community work was once directed into yoga projects, since becoming a normal job person I have gotten involved with my union, which feels like the most political, purposeful, and selfless thing I can do, as well as a concrete act of resistance. And of course, on a simplistic level, the word yoga is often translated as “union” so while it may seem like a grand detour from my previous path, it’s kind of in line. My “union consciousness” and interest in labour issues was actually sparked on the blog back in 2013, when I covered Yoga Journal’s non-response to a Hyatt Hotel boycott during one of their annual conferences.
This reboot means IAYB on my own terms – to do what I want how I want to do it. I don’t owe anybody anything, and this space is my little corner of the internet (literally; I pay to play here). I’m not interested in being a blogger personality or cultivating a personal brand. I simply want to do what I love, which is long-form reflective writing about self-awareness and culture. And no matter what I do, it is filtered through the lens of yoga. The practice is in my cells.
And so here I am, slowly stepping in, picking up where I left off but also recognizing that things must be different. I’ve been trying to renegotiate my relationship with the blog and the only way I can do that is through writing. I can’t think about it or talk about it.
The thing is, I’m not really sure what’s next. But what I’m committing to are bi-weekly (as in every two weeks, not twice a week) blog posts and a newsletter with some linky love. I’m committing to doing the thing I’m good at, which is writing and not photography or video or putting inspirational quotes on pictures. I will write about what I know (which is myself) and what piques my curiousity (which is almost everything). Join me. There is love here, enough for everyone.