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Heart to Heart

A Message of Hope and a Call to Action for Our Community

As a small part of our commitment to action and an expression of gratitude to you, our community of great ones, SYJ will be joining forces with One Tree Planted and planting one tree for every class pack and studio membership purchased at SYJ for the foreseeable future.

Why? Because trees not only help clean the air we breathe and filter the water we drink, they also provide habitat to over 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity.

Did you know that 25% of the medicine you take comes from trees? Forests also provide jobs, folks. In fact, over 1.6 billion people are employed because of forests.

Thoughts on why we all need to act right now:

I’ve just finished “The Book of Hope. A Survival Guide for Trying Times” by Jane Goodall and Douglas Abrams. It’s a conversation between the two, where Jane, a renowned primatologist and impassioned climate activist, recounts stories and provides insights as a call to action during this great time of existential crisis.

Jane’s message of hope is this: “There is hope for our future, the health of our planet, our societies, and our children, but only if we all get together and join forces. And I hope, too, that you understand the urgency of taking action, of each one of us doing our bit. Please believe that against all odds we can win out because if you don’t believe that, you’ll lose hope, sink into apathy and despair and do nothing.”

Jane maintains that there is a small window of time in which we can still repair much of the harm we humans have inflicted on the natural world — but in addition to hope, there is a need for action, engagement, even anger.

Action, engagement and even anger? Some would say this doesn’t feel like yoga. Where is all the love and harmony? To these folks, I say “Peeshaw, oh yes it does!”

And here is why: As yogis we can ruminate at great lengths on peace, love, and our “we are all one, interconnectedness” (Namaste anyone?), but we must choose to also do the hard work of making ethical choices in how we behave.

Sometimes this looks nothing like a blissed out, rainbow-loving, complacent unicorn covered in Sanskrit tattoos. Sometimes she looks a lot more wild and ferocious than that.

Goodall points to four main reasons for hope: “the amazing human intellect, the resilience of nature, the power of youth, and the indomitable human spirit.”

Oh my, I say, “intellect, resilience, power and spirit.” This sure feels like Saraswati, Kali, and Lakshmi all wrapped up in a 90-year-old woman who’s words of wisdom I want to hear.

Think about the incredible human intellect our scientists employed in order to produce lifesaving vaccines at record speed. What if we spent more time recognizing just how lucky we are for this incredibly brilliant science rather than politicizing it? Imagine where we’d be right now.

How about the power of our youth? Of course, they’re powerfully pleading with us to do something to help with the climate catastrophe we face right now and we must support them through great action rather than false promises.

As for our indomitable human spirit, you decide. I, for one, think this takes a community working together no matter what race, ethnicity, or religious beliefs you may have, in order to bring out the best in human spirit.

For Jane, hope is more than just a fluffy idea, “it is what enables us to keep going in the face of adversity”.

As a small boutique studio, SYJ has faced enormous amounts of adversity during the last couple of years, but truth be told, it is the indomitable spirit of our community that has kept us going.

SYJ takes the path of yoga that asks us to “bind” ourselves not “free” ourselves from the reality we face.

Having a choice to bind oneself to something of meaning, something that grows our understanding of the world, and something that helps us, hopefully, leave the world more beautiful for having walked upon it, is the assumption we take.

Here are some local and global organizations doing the great work of leaving the world a more beautiful place, in addition to some talks and videos that may help you keep hope your heart.

Have a lovely and safe Thanksgiving holiday everyone, with enormous gratitude to all of you for keeping SYJ in your hearts.

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