One of the things that I feel is important to mention, is the fact that these black martial artists went to China and were just Kung Fu artists. Not black, African American, Colored or Negro. Just kung fu artists. They also mentioned that Kung Fu starts with the breath and then moves into the stance. The artists I am watching treat the art of Kung Fu as a spiritual experience.
Yesterday at work, our student worker mentioned a school district that was being sued for teaching a yoga class. The parents of this school district felt that the principles of yoga infringed on their religious beliefs. Before I actually started my practice, I could probably agree. But again, this country suffers from the ignorance of the unknown.
Yoga Lawsuit: Encinitas Union School District in California Sued Over Classes
When I decided to take a yoga class for credit at school, I walked into with several expectations. I would start slow but by the end of the semester, I would be super yogi. I would start slow but by December stand on my head.
Now let me return to reality. Yoga is not for the physically fit or the faint of heart. It is real.
The entire semester, I never heard my teacher refer to yoga as exercise but as "practice". Usually when you refer to practice, it means you are trying to prepare yourself for the "big game", but I learned that the "big game" in yoga takes years of individualized focused practice. Let me repeat individual.
Yoga in my years of practice
- Never told me what to believe
- Never told me I have to be in the best in the class
- Never told me I would never be super yogi without dedication
- Never told me I need to spend hundreds of dollars on materials to be the best
- Never told me I should not respect my God and personal religious beliefs
- Never told me I wasn't trying hard enough and I should do better
Yoga has told me
- Begin with the end in mind
- Listen to your body, do what you can
- Focus your mind on what is important
- Maintain your spirituality in your God (who ever that maybe)
- Taught me to focus on myself, to allow my practice to be for me and for no one else
- Not to compete with the other people in your practice, because everyone has their individual struggles and strength
- And so much more
Now I have been lucky enough to find instructors that have maintained these beliefs in the practice. Like school there are some teachers that are better than others. I really think to myself if some of these parents allowed themselves the gift of practice, to learn the Sanskrit and the principles if they would be so against their children finding the spiritual peace, my practice gives me.