Last week I taught at my home studio, Kula Yoga Project. It’s the site of my serious entrance to yoga. I found it and quickly afterwards, it became the only place I wanted to practice. It was my happy place, and it was where my friends gathered. During the practice years, it was my very definition of yoga. To this day, I make a point of schlepping up the Kula stairs at least 3 times a week. Which got me thinking: What’s the big deal about Kula? What’s the allure?
Through the years I’d gone to other studios, with more convenient locations and schedules. I’d been around. And each time I went elsewhere I was hit hard with the best kept secret, kept only from me. I was darned good at yoga. I’d become really advanced, adept, flexible, floaty, natural in this movement.
Yoga classes served up exactly what I was so hungry for: the permission to be huge. In so many places in my life I’d recognized how capable I was, and how horribly uncomfortable that made other people. And at the time, other people’s discomfort became my own. In the office, and in romantic relationships and friendships alike, I’d become accustomed to holding back just a little. I got into the habit of making myself small. But never, NEVER in the yoga studio. Never at Kula. I never apologized for being capable. I’d found a space that allowed me to be as strong and as soft as I am. With no apology necessary.
In yoga, we’re taught to be kind to ourselves. And that can look differently to different people. Kind to yourself isn’t always about doing less. It can also mean being disciplined, energetic, and unapologetically awesome. Shrinking would be unkind. Expanding is sometimes the kindest gesture.