As an American, 4th of July has become absorbed into my cells to represent a day of freedom. As an expat, this is often a complicated idea as the States become increasingly involved in and the catalyst for much of the conflict and subsequent diminishing freedom experienced around the world.
Holidays and their assumed significance are a choice. My favorite is Valentine's Day- a "fake holiday" to most, but one I look forward to year after year. My least favorite, Christmas- the one day where American 24 hour culture actually takes a break.
Though often perverted in its use, freedom is an important idea that applies to more than geographical and idealogical boundaries. My friend, Lucie, a yoga teacher and body worker, asked her student, "Have you ever thought of your body as a temple rather than a prison?"
Yoga has been the key to unlocking freedom to be in the skin I'm in. This starts on a literal level- freedom of movement. That enable freedom to experience- sports, the ocean, sketchy staircases leading to the best views. Ultimately, freedom of mind. Yoga is defined as equanimity- calm under duress. There is a freedom from worry, from fear, from the unknown, that I have cultivated in my years on the mat. Freedom in the body enables freedom in the mind. These are not separate, but symbiotic.
This 4th of July, American or not, we can make use of the reminder to invite freedom into our lives. The path to freedom is not always comfortable (insert Shawshank scene here!) or easy, but the feeling is nothing less than delicious.
Please join me in inviting some freedom into your body through the very adaptable practice of Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga. Regardless of what constrains you- bad knees, a bad back, a sticky shoulder- this practice is merely a framework- with my guidance we will find a way to make it your own.