A beer case of spirits constantly watched over me as I drowned my fears and sorrows. My home was inside a vehicle that was consumed by an alcohol-embezzled heat and the odor of a dying man. Frequently, inquiring minds would press their faces against the window so hard that I could see their pores and fingerprints. Desperately, they did this to see if there was movement beyond the fogged windows. I was honored to be their priceless fish in an aquarium. It was a very lonely time period in my life where fear stretched my skin to its limits in order to protect me from my existence.
During this period, I was homeless and scratched and clawed to find the (pranayama) breaths to survive the unsympathetic streets of Phoenix, Arizona. I would look in the rear view mirror and see the past in my eyes’ reflection, each plastered with skepticism and anger. My anger would scream at how the United States Air Force had left at the Circle K just outside of the bases walls. I was left like a new born turtle, who is unaware of the home of protection on its back, to fend for myself against the evil tides of society. These tides filled with so-called predators that looked like me. They too had smooth brown and caramel skin that melted in the soot and grime of the street. Their beauty only to be seen by people that took the time to wash their judgments away. I only could hope that one day they would do the same for me.
training program. I am finding it very difficult to make it through an identified world with a yogic non-dual identity. I suppose my fear is I will be invisible and voiceless. Through mindfulness, I aspire to ignore the ignorance of the klesha of “identity” that manifests in the ego. My patience has guided me thus far to move dynamically (rajas), intelligent but with discrimination that Patanjali refers to in the Yoga Sutras. I have become more aware of this fact as I travel inwards past the sheaths.
maneuver around to receive a college education, which is imperative to be successful today. I surrendered to the divine and dived blindly into the space of yoga and have been pleasantly surprised to open my eyes and enjoy the present of the moment. For attachment to the past and/or the future is an illusion that takes you to a social construct of nonexistence and I only want to exist to offer myself to those who also want to BE. But, the difficulty of studying yoga at a college is the bureaucracy and the red tape that comes along with it and I have come very close to allowing that tape harden into a wall in which I cannot move.
Rashaad Thomas is a United States Air Force Veteran and an aspiring Certified Yoga Instructor studying at Scottsdale Community College. He is the founder of a non-profit, 501 (c) 3 organization program called, “The Angels of New Hope,” that supports homeless youth and their education. He has made it a goal in life to share with the homeless community he once lived in through the love, compassion, and creative art and science of yoga and the Buddhist philosophy that has embraced his life. He has been practicing the BKS Iyengar Yoga method ever since he traded in alcohol for the mat and each day he continues to move and never look back.
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