This shows up in yoga all the time

Last week I found myself following a bouncing ball of thoughts. Thoughts that started from this.

Australia’s indigenous story and our long history of attempting to reconcile the past show up in yoga ALL THE TIME.

Let’s go back about 250 years ago when the first people in Australia, group A, lived peacefully with their very distinctive perspective of the land. They used the land for specific purposes with their own set of intentions. When others arrived, group B, they had a very different set of beliefs about the land. They came with a different agenda and purpose. Group B’s agenda and belief system overtook Group A’s. It was as though the land was designated single use only. As if the 7.68 million hectares of Australian soil was only able to be used for one purpose.

Our bodies are designed the same way Australia should have been. For multi-use purpose. Health for our bodies relies on being able to easily interchange between back and forward bends. The ability to move smoothly between standing and sitting. Hanging upside down and twisting to the left as gracefully as to the right.

What went wrong was when group B overtook group A, stripping away their purpose and perspective.

What goes wrong in yoga is when you rape and pillage from your backbend in order to give to your inversion. You strip the life out of your breath in order to feed your forward bend. You compress the sh*t out of your lumbar spine to give to your hamstrings. For your inversion to ride upon the hunched shoulders of a collapsed forward bend.

The truth is that it’s quicker and easier to push someone or something lower so you seem higher but you can’t elevate a person, a race, a cause, a minority or a posture by taking from another. By making one group feel better by dragging another group down. Long lasting change, true reconciliation only ever elevates. Elevates both parties, both perspectives, both body parts. Evolution has to include all the people, all the parts, all the perspectives.

Truth. It took me eight years to be able to execute a downward dog and a backbend at the same time. Difficult but highly desirable. To not let the backbend suffer in favour of the inversion. To maintain the forward bend of the hips and slowly deepen the backbend of the upper spine.

Yoga postures give you really creative ways to access every part of the body. Tending to each body part takes time. You need to listen to each part and speak with each part. It rarely gives you instagram worthy images but it respects the whole body, that each little part has a purpose and fits snugly with the rest.

The opening ceremony of the Games wove contemporary culture with indigenous perspectives. Neither stole the spotlight and they fit oh so snugly together to give a rich, colourful map of Australia.  What has also fit oh so snugly together are all the athletes. Athletes with two legs or just one, with eyes that work and eyes that don’t, athletes that wheeled and those that walked. There was no big headline announcing a para-event, no ticker tape banner across the tv screen. They just ran, swam, dove, threw, did whatever they do alongside everyone else. The able-bodied and the disabled fit oh so snugly together.