On July 4th, I had the distinct pleasure to celebrate Independence Day as part of a team of talented teachers and musicians that came together at Wanderlust, Colorado, to help debut OUTLAW Yoga on the national yoga stage.
Contemporary power vinyasa, this practice sets devotion in motion—a movement towards a new way of practicing, a new way of being. Technically simple but physically challenging, it provides a platform for celebration, for presence, and for good old fashioned hard work and rock n’ roll in the yoga studio.
A liberating take on a familiar form, come as you are to leave stronger, more connected, with a little layer of luster that coming together in community leaves layered upon us to shine the way through the dark.
Set to live music, the experience has been called by one student, “The most fun you can have with your Lulu pants on.”
As we gathered halfway through class at Copper Mountain to empower each other into partner hand-stand, it occurred to me a few other things that are quite liberating even when performed with your Luon snugged securely around your waist:
5. Step on Someone Else’s Mat
Our society clings to an antiquated notion of personal space. There is even a law in my home state of Colorado, that say if you are on my property I can kill you if I feel threatened by you.
No bullshit, it is affectionately referred to as the “Make My Day Law.” For some time we witnessed a spate of killings—and draggings—of bodies onto lawns so homeowners could claim they felt threatened…
This world needs connection more than anything. In a community you are only as far removed as you want to be, in this class community comes first.
Don’t say we didn’t warn you: we will drag you off your mat if necessary.
Don’t hold back. When we deny our inmost nature, it erupts in some other—often uglier—way.
Don’t want to sit deeper in Thunderbolt Pose (Utkatasana for you sansnobs)? Fuck it. Its just a form and forms are fleeting. Sit deeper, give more, celebrate and honor this moment, even if this moment seems to be a fuckin’ painful one.
Real change is seldom courteous.
You eat a burrito before class. You twist real deep. You need to fart. You hold it in…sound familiar?
Integrity starts from within, but you can’t connect to it because even as you are encouraged to “detoxify” your internal organs, you are preoccupied with clenching your sphincter for fear of letting loose the toxicity within.
Let it out.
The word “community” is tossed around a lot in the yoga studio, often in a very flimsy, non-substantive way. I like to make it really simple—your true community are the people who will forgive you for farting in class.
2. Go “Woo!”
You don’t have to be serious to be spiritual. Here is a recently overheard exchange in a yoga class in Des Moines, Iowa:
Student: I love coming to your class
Teacher: Oh yeah, why’s that?
1. Take it With You
By distilling the offering of yoga to its most essential parts, we can deliver a fun and, even more important, functional lesson. By offering students real tools to take with them when they leave the mat, we offer participants the chance to put the most accessible components of yoga into play in their daily lives. The practice made more practicable.
Each moment is a choice, and each choice is a chance to welcome in all of those great things you want, and to offer up all those valuable components of life and love that you already are.
But like all tools, you must wield it for it to work. Hammers don’t build homes, human hands do. We challenge you, to live this moment as if it were the only one, to take your practice off the mat and into the world.
We challenge you to lead with love, to know that this practice will only go so far as you take it.
This moment, this choice is yours…we dare you to make it.
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Ed: Bryonie Wise