Levelling the Playing Field

Do you ever wish the world was equal? That regardless of race, class, caste, religion, age, or even experience, you were valued as much as everyone else?

This is what yoga does. I have some experience in yoga, having taught for a few years and practiced before then. That doesn’t mean I am any higher than anyone else.

I remember my first “student-teacher” class, my Yin instructor, Aradhana Kaur, was taken aback with the number of new students who came into what was usually a class of  the same 6 or 8 students. In fact, hardly any regulars showed up at all! Several of the new students were pregnant too, and one was a really really tall, big man–a linebacker type.

All were experiencing “yoga class” for the first time. Though I was new to teaching, Aradhana did not hesitate to give me free reign over the session. At the end, she even told me she had learned a new yin pose (1/2 frog)!

I find that I don’t know everything about yoga, but then again, neither does anyone. We are all in the same boat, whether we have been practicing for decades, or are trying it out for the first time. I can learn a lot from listening, talking, and reading what others have experienced, even if it’s their first time.

Yoga is not something we receive from our parents. There is no yoga trust fund, even if your mother practices rigorously, as in my case. It’s because what my mom needs is not what I need. My mom’s body, mind, and soul are uniquely hers, as mine are mine. Understanding that can help us realize that we cannot rank ourselves, and become humbled in that moment.

Yoga is not something we can learn from someone else, actually. Yoga comes from within. We do it for ourselves. And that is what makes us all equal in the eyes of yoga.

Once this sense of equality becomes internalized, we can take it out to the field as well. We can respect each individual for his or her contribution to the knowledge pool.

In a country like India, where the inequalities are so fast…. where I live in a beautiful penthouse without too much worry about my meals and deals, and the watchman at the front of my gate begs me for money every opportunity; where the educated urbanites have access to all the luxuries of life and more,and the rural agriculturalists hardly have proper infrastructure (roads, electricity, buildings, water, and most importantly, education); where cows are treated with respect and never harmed, and baby girls are killed for no fault of their own; and where schedule castes and tribes never have a chance to educate themselves enough for the reserved jobs and seats in university….

Yoga is a necessity to level the playing field.


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Chelsey
    Jun 20, 2011 @ 20:09:03

    So true! Thanks for posting.


  2. Minakshi
    Jun 20, 2011 @ 21:58:34

    So true.. Thank you for giving chance to read ur post…:)))


  3. positivekid
    Jun 20, 2011 @ 22:18:25

    Well said! I completely agree with you that it has to come from within and each one is unique and need his own set…

    But I don’t know, if it can ever level the playing field for Guruji and….


  4. Etali
    Jun 22, 2011 @ 23:43:55

    “My mom’s body, mind, and soul are uniquely hers, as mine are mine. Understanding that can help us realize that we cannot rank ourselves, and become humbled in that moment.”

    Very well said; it is an insight and deep thought about connectivity and who we are on earth!


  5. Renee
    Jun 24, 2011 @ 05:23:19

    Thank you so much for sharing Sowmya and for connecting it to a personal story about your culture. I can totally understand that yoga is what you make it and it is very personal and tailored just like meditation and dancing. Love your blog. Congrats!


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