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Moving for Change

March 2, 2010

photo by Poppy de Garmo

Writing for Change.  The title cast a spell on me and I was not disappointed.  It was on the schedule at the San Francisco Writer’s Conference that I recently attended.  A presenter from the 2048 Project spoke about the reality of our increasing population and the need to learn to live together in harmony.  The project’s subtitle, Humanity’s Written Agreement to Live Together, reminded me of what my Bikram Yoga teacher, Amy Mihal, said during one very crowded class at Village Yoga.  It was one of those mat to mat classes, so the word crowded doesn’t  fully describe the true human density of the situation.   We staggered our bodies to make space to lift elbow and arm and then we began.  As our chins rose and our heads went back, our united breath mingled and added to the collective body heat.  For those unfamiliar with Bikram Yoga, it is done in a heated room, where sweat flows freely, people are scantily clad, and towels are the only thing preventing the activity from becoming an aquatic sport.  I may have been one of the people who groaned when Amy asked us to move our mats closer than the half-inch of remaining separation, to make room for one more.  But after what Amy said that day, I have never complained since. 

It was half way into a Sunday 4pm, a notoriously busy class when she said it.  “It is so great to see all of you crammed in this sweaty hot room, practicing being peaceful together.”  She went on to say how beautiful it was to see us all working hard, with very little space, but in complete peace and harmony.  She suggested that we take this feeling out with us into the world when we are in long lines, or crowded stores and heavy traffic.  Why would someone like me, who gets out into the wilderness any chance I get, who actually has a house in Idaho, 30 miles from the nearest town of 500 people, need to practice this.  It is because the reality of living together densely is here and not going anywhere.  It is essential even, to keeping the backcountry wild for the rest of the species on our earth.  I pay homage to all folks who choose to live in cities and thank you for the gift of keeping the wild lands open.  Just as the writers in the 2048 Project propose a written agreement for peaceful living, we yogis can do the same  by practicing a moving and breathing agreement to live together in harmony.                         Post script:  Thanks Amy!

Marie Diaz Hoffman

Khalil Moutawakkil


One Comment leave one →
  1. April 10, 2010 12:00 am

    Hot stuff! Flexibility is something every writers need, especially if you have to bend over backwards to please an editor. Here’s to sweating the small stuff.

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