Sandy Hook, The Hobbit & Yoga.

Via Anne Falkowski
on Dec 29, 2012
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the hobbit poster movie

I don’t say these things out loud, but these days I hesitate to go to a movie theater with my family.

I imagine the worst—everyone I love being shot hundreds of times. There is no escape route. The Sandy Hook massacre still lingers in my bones. I feel the darkness and vulnerability of this world.

In spite of my fears, I went with my sweet family of five to see The Hobbit. I didn’t plan on enjoying it and really went to be with them. Maybe this is what I needed to do to face my fear. It worked.

At one point I totally forgot that we could all die. As I sat in my seat surrounded by my kids and husband, wearing 3-D glasses that looked like airplane goggles and our bellies full from popcorn and blue sugary frozen drinks, I felt momentarily complete.

Midway during the three hour epic movie, Gandalf the Grey Wizard, played by Ian McKellen, explained to his band of warriors why he chose the unremarkable hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, to come with them on such a dangerous journey:

“Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found…I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay-small acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? Perhaps because I am afraid and he gives me courage.”

Gandalf’s words are the heart of yoga.

Every time we go to our yoga mat or meditation cushion, we are doing our best to free ourselves from our own murky shadows and go to the good. We learn how to do this first in our own bodies, minds and hearts. If we practice yoga long enough, eventually both our dark and light side is revealed.

We are all ordinary people made up of both.

We learn how to deal with the parts of us that are whiny, bitter, desperate, judgmental, clinging and fearful. We locate the parts of us that are solid, sturdy, compassionate, kind, knowing and loving. This is what we strive to bring into our every day lives.

Yoga is a small act.

Even if you can do big showy yoga moves like put your foot behind your head, it is really just a small thing in the hierarchy of this world. But the deal with yoga is that your yoga mat is your mirror. The small acts that make up a yoga practice polish the mirror over and over again and help to keep the darkness at bay.

Every time we practice yoga, no matter how we show up, we return back to love. It is our willingness to be present, breathe, be compassionate, and real that creates courage. Every time we show up for practice we perform a small act of kindness to ourselves. A kindness we can extend out. This is how we heal. This is what we have to offer to the world.


Ed: Kate B.

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About Anne Falkowski

Anne Falkowski has been teaching and practicing yoga for over 15 years. Currently she is obsessed with Forrest Yoga and can't possibly relax her neck enough. She writes for her blog and owns a yoga studio in Connecticut. Contact her by email


5 Responses to “Sandy Hook, The Hobbit & Yoga.”

  1. marlysa says:

    Beautiful and inspiring! Thank you!

  2. Jayleigh says:

    I love those Gandalf quotes that say just the right thing.

    I like this one too:

    Frodo: I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.
    Gandalf: So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. There are other forces at work in this world, Frodo, besides the will of evil. Bilbo was meant to find the Ring. In which case, you were also meant to have it. And that is an encouraging thought.

    Thanks for reminding us.

  3. lisa says:

    thank you for this lovely essay. xo

  4. Suzanne says:

    Your essay is so human and so true- we all need to return to our roots and shine our mirror. There is more good than evil in this world and we are a part of it …

    Went to a Christmas light display tonight in Meriden where there happened to be a remembrance ceremony for Sandy Hook victims- it brought a flash of darkness to think of the evil that occurred but then I saw a face of one of the victims, and a friend, Chase Kowalski. There was an amazing amount of lightt and positive energy that flowed from the darkness- people helping one another in the slippery conditions, offering to walk alongside each other in the dark night, hugging strangers … There is love, more love than hate… It's up to each of us to discover that in ourselves. I agree- yoga is the way. Both on and off the mat.