Nourish yourself so you can Serve Others

brick

I recently read an article written by Tim Cook, CEO of Apple. In this article Tim explains  how he tries to hold himself to the words of Dr. Martin Luther King who said “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is “What are you doing for others?” This quote inspired Tim to come forward and share with the world that he is gay.

In the article he talks about how he has benefited from the sacrifice of others and if sharing this personal information about himself can inspire or comfort others, then it is worth the trade-off of the privacy that he values so deeply. I was touched by the entire article but the last line stuck with me and became my inspiration for last weeks classes. “We pave the sunlit path toward justice together, brick by brick. This is my brick.”

On the mat last week I offered Tim’s message to my students; and asked them to perhaps dedicate their practice to connecting with their own “brick”.  As we began on our backs, warming up the spine and the core I reminded them to nourish and serve themselves on their mats. Yoga is a selfish practice; it is all about the person in their moment, not about anyone else. Once we nourish and replenish ourselves, then we can turn our energy outward and serve others. First we work from the inside both Physically through the Asana on the mat, and then Spiritually through the Breath and Meditation and from there we have all we need to connect to our “Brick” and contribute to the building of the Sunlit Path.

As our flow intensified it was almost like a dance, bringing the collective energy together in the room. We moved from Plank into Fallen Triangle (pictured above) and then into flipped Downward Dog and by doing so several times, heated and nourished the body. From there, we twisted to wring out the spine and release tension stored there, creating the space that is needed inside in order to give outward. Balancing was next; and with our focus on the intention of  Paving the Sunlit Path Together, we explored Uttitha Hasta Padangustasana (Standing hand to toe pose) and then Warrior 3 into Half Moon to cultivate more lightness.

Off the mat we get to choose how we want to live our lives; if we have the capacity to serve others once we nourish ourselves. I connected deeply to the Tim Cook’s description of a sunlit path being created one brick at a time by all of us. Seemingly small acts can build bricks because kind acts inspires more kindness in the giver and receiver. It is a ripple effect; it builds the path. I found myself again explaining the message of Tim Cook’s article, this time to my daughter just last night, and I was again inspired. We all have an obligation and even more importantly, the opportunity…the gift of giving to others.

On our mats the pace began to slow; transitioning into hip opening and gentle back-bending and then ultimately into Savasana. As they rested, I asked my students to visualize the sunlit path, the bricks being laid down one by one and then again to ask themselves “What is my brick?”

I took a moment to ask myself the same question, What is my brick? How am I of service to others? I felt Gratitude in the answers that came and gratitude for the gift that I have been given to teach and grow with this practice both on my mat and in my life.  It allows me to find the space I need within myself, to then Serve others. I also felt deep Gratitude to Tim Cook for having the courage to ask himself powerful questions, to hold himself to high standards and for reminding us all that we have the power both individually and as a collective  to “Pave the Sunlit Path Toward Justice Together, Brick by Brick”. Namaste.

 

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