This past Sept 11th snuck up on me. When I turned on the news that morning, I wasn’t prepared. I was watching the coverage from ground zero as my 10 year old daughter was getting ready for school and she looked over at me just as a tear rolled down my face. She asked me why I was crying and I told her honestly that this day, 13 years ago was the day when everything changed, when we no longer felt invincible in this country anymore. There was a fear that came to all of us that day that has never left.
Then later that same day, I had the pleasure of attending a training with Seane Corn. Seane talked a lot about energy, how real and palpable it is and how collective energy can be channeled and felt. Fear is a real emotion and when we feel fear, that is what we are sending out into the world for other people to experience. Cultivating a collective energy of love and peace, (not fear) and sending THAT out into the universe is a service we can all provide as human beings in contributing to the greater good.The collective energy of grief can be felt on days like 9/11. When we do something to make the situation better in some way, it is a chance to make peace with the hopelessness and the helplessness. Seane calls this prayer and I tend to agree.
Clearly I had a lot to inspire me as I crafted my class for 9/11. I knew I wanted to explore the hips, where some of our deepest fear and emotions live. I asked my students to practice creating this collective positive loving energy on their mats and direct it to a person or a situation that touched them near or far away. As we began to breathe in unison through Suynamaskaras A and B, the unity of energy began to be palpable in the room. I felt the students begin to let go of some of their fear, fear of failure, fear of taking a break and even some fears they may have been grappling with off the mat. We went deep into the shoulders with binding and Gomukasana arms to help us release the fear we could have been storing there, with the hope that with space, comes love and the continual building of this powerful collective energy.
As we moved deeper into the practice and stripped away the pretense and fear, the mood in the room lightened. The positive energy continued to be strong and we started to laugh, to be light. Once we had released the grief and the fear, we could find happiness, joy and love (both on our mats and off) for ourselves and for the world around us. We went deeper into binds and arm balanced from there and then came into deeper hip openers. In Pigeon and then Gomukasana, I asked the students to connect to what they were feeling in their bodies and what emotions came up for them. To accept what is there, not to judge it. To let it go if it wasn’t serving them and create positive energy in it’s place. Back bending and more hip opening on their backs cultivated a reconnection to the earth.
As the students moved into Savasana, the air felt heavy, it had a sound almost….a buzzing, and as I walked around the room adjusting everyone, I could feel the energy coming off their bodies and I knew we had achieved our intention.
On a day of grief for all of us, we acknowledged it, we let it go and we cultivated a collective energy of love and peace and sent that out into the world. Seane says she doesn’t know if this collective positive energy can change the world. What she does know is how damaging negative energy is and can be.
On Sept 11th of all days, in a yoga studio less than 20 miles from ground zero, I became convinced that positive energy can in fact change the world. I believe that we can be of service to ourselves, our communities and our world when we create this collective positive energy, in our yoga practice and in our lives. We have the power. Namaste.