• 2015-10-24-1445673061-4446277-ThisBridgeCalledMyMat.jpg

    I believe we are in a time of great change.

    And I’m saddened by the state of our yoga world in the US and beyond. Seattle shows us that we have so far to go. And so do the amount of times friends tell me “I don’t feel comfortable going to yoga classes.”

    Change is needed. This is change that doesn’t only through come through fighting a war.

    It’s a change that comes through opening up to and doing the inner work. This is the asana off the mat. Self-reflection, self-discipline, lifestyle training, practicing connection, building bridges, living our yoga.

    2015-10-24-1445673390-129727-yttclaredurand.jpg

    Truly sitting with, listening to one another’s stories. Centralizing decentralized voices and issues.
    Knowing there can be more than one winner and no losers.

    The call for us this week is for radically storytelling in and around yoga studios – as only you do it best- through word, song, dance, writing, poetry, music, art.

    And really showing up for the sharing- sit, get still and truly listen to someone else’s story.
    It’s in the speaking and the deep listening there’s the healing.

    I’m off on a personal yoga retreat for a week.
    I so look forward to sitting, listening and learning from the group.

    As a healer and teacher I often suggest self-care to students and clients.The only way I can suggest this is by being in the integrity of practicing care for myself. Though I teach and hold a lot of space for folks, I know it is so important for me to continue to receive and to always continue to learn.

    I am so deeply grateful to have family and friends who support me in this self-care in very real ways. It wouldn’t be possible without you.

    And when I take care of myself, it isn’t just for me. It’s for you too.

    Here’s where my heart is at right now, a yoga story, in poem form.

    This Bridge Called My Mat

    Somewhere we lost the way
    Yoga studios wartorn geography of
    Exclusionary sameness
    The absence of some bodies
    trace invisible battles nationalism, communalism,
    Internalized oppression upon us
    We’re dueling it out in this yoga site
    Believe me

    As my mat became their bridge
    for walking on
    my culture their source
    of sustenance
    my presence their privilege
    to erase
    & my confusion
    their sense of certainty
    cos my mat became their bridge
    for walking on

    Do we know this river of pain is sourced
    In forces greater than those we see
    The perpetual dominance of a few
    Over many, the lives we lead
    The unsilenced voices we refuse to heed
    We’re OMing
    While others have their tongue cut out
    for speaking sacred sounds
    and the mass yoga politic goes on ignoring
    Marginalized bodies

    We set about greedily grabbing
    Our egos into existence voraciously
    Constructing our differences into divisions
    Where glances are borders
    And silences lengthen into shadows of omission

    my pain became a mirror
    for the yoga-industrial-complex dream
    & my isolation deepened
    into strength
    & my silent voice became sound
    for the unwritten stories of history
    & my mat became a bridge
    to understanding

    Walking the banks of suffering
    I see multiplicity
    Centralizing sidelined voices
    We create community
    Never alone
    Though deceptively astray
    In separate currents of pain

    So we begin tentatively
    The asana off the mat
    Washing away separation
    Words and smiles of unity
    through looking deeply
    Bridging divides, creating a force more powerful
    Than those that deny us

    & laughter becomes the chorus
    of our unity
    & our tears slake the thirst
    of desperation
    & our isolation opens space
    for community
    & our mats form bridges
    of possibility

    2015-10-24-1445673604-9932811-sistersblue.jpg

    Healing the world and ourselves
    Happens interchangeably
    Facing suffering takes bravery
    A warrior spirit
    Weapons of gentle compassion, self-reflection
    Sharing pain and joy lovingly

    Into pain we dive
    Gripping suffering tight
    Only to die into ourselves
    Let go the solid block of suffering called me
    Sacrificing the crutch of identity
    joyfully
    Creating communities of healing
    Where pain’s embraced honestly
    and transformed

    & our inner journey becomes every long road
    to freedom
    & our struggles ignite fire
    for change
    & our differences light up the path
    of awakening
    & our mats become bridges
    of breath
    toward freedom

    2015-10-24-1445673897-1561143-summergoddess.jpg-Susanna Barkataki
    “Building community is to the collective as spiritual practice is to the individual.” -Grace Lee Boggs

    Sign up for my weekly blog and build with me at www.SusannaBarkataki.com

    Check out some recent  articles that went viral published on my website, in
    Elephant Journal and Everyday Feminism.

    And consider signing  this petition to take action towards safe yoga space.