Self care is deeply altruistic. When I am able to attend to my life with focus and attention, I am less likely to go seek out what I might need in others. More specifically, when a person is feeling good and grounded in themselves, a seemingly natural empathy and curiosity about others tends to present itself, as does the desire to touch and be touched, to make contact.
The abiding Katonah Yoga metaphor of center and circumference goes directly to this point. When I am organized in the center of my own circumstances and my sphere of influence, I can both look in and look out. When another is similarly centered, our interactions are neither invasive or evasive. When these two spheres interact, a third space is created, like a Venn diagram, or a vesica piscis. That overlap is a fertile portal through which something new can be born: a project, a conversation, a relationship, a person.
This is why I believe practice to be magical rather than medical. Medical dialogue seeks to categorize and diagnose, to refine and differentiate in order to better know. Of course there is value to this, but I am not a doctor nor have I ever been interested in becoming one.
My body is not made of different parts. My body is inseparable from the ancestry, culture, social norms, and biology that both give rise to, and determine its legibility, as it moves through time. Nothing about a self is static.
My goal in practice and teaching is personal and political. I want to turn towards the life that is here in all of its complexity. I want to decolonize the way I live in my own skin. I want to teach others to empower themselves, to make choices, to radically embody themselves. And these acts are political.
Radical acts of embodiment through making the unconscious conscious are not decorative: this is how we affect real change.
Headshot: Alex Kikis, courtesy of The Studio.
Illustration: Nevine Michaan, Katonah Yoga®, 2017 © Katonah Yoga Center, Inc., www.katonahyoga.com, Illustrator Susan Fierro.