A teacher gave me an opportunity last week to sit with someone who was in pain. I turned it down, feeling uncomfortable in that position. And he, ever questioning, asked me why. To which I replied with an inward shrinking-away and an outward “I don’t know.”

He said, “I do.

Too much teaching yoga.

Ultimately, how do you do yoga?”

This question was baffling to me. What possible answer could satisfy it? I know him well enough to know that he was not asking a physical, mental, or emotional question. Those modes do not begin to encompass the practice or the conversations this teacher engages in. So, what? (The problem, of course, is now clear to me: I changed his question in my mind to a “what” question. He asked a “how” question.)

He said, “You do yoga alone.

You teach yoga together,

and you learn yoga together,

but, ultimately,

you do yoga alone.”

It’s easy to fall into wanting to be together, all the time. It is comforting and safe to be hugged, loved, together-with-others, and to have all questions answered easily for me. But, ultimately, I am living in this body, living this path. You and I may walk side by side for a ways, we may give and recieve love, blessings, beautiful and precious gifts, but I cannot clear your path of its debris.

Thank you, to my teacher, for reminding me I don’t have to. It’s enough to tarry alongside for a while and be present with care.

Today, I’m going for a long walk alone, to remember the feeling of loving my own aloneness. I suggest we all spend some time loving being alone.



P.S. There is a difference between being alone and being lonely. When you get lonely, look to your left, look to your right. You’ll see all the people tarrying alongside, caring for you.

~ by Carmen Celeste Thurston on April 3, 2011.

One Response to “Alone”

  1. Yoga is not all you should teach.

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