I am in Tucson, Arizona, where I led a two-day Hatha Yoga workshop on Thursday and Friday for a group of Tucson yogis! My friend Jane made this all possible by doing the work of organizing and getting her yoga friends to commit to carving out some precious time to stretch, strengthen, breathe, meditate, laugh, to feel alive, to share a healthy meal of various salads (and, the next day, a fruit spread) made/prepared by the yoga group. I have a deep gratitude for Jane and all her efforts, planning, and organization. I also fell in love with the yoga group. How could I not? The yoga participants filled the studio and my heart with warmth, love, and kindness.
At one point during the workshop, Tim offered us a good belly laugh by exclaiming, “I feel so good, it’s terrifying!” Tim’s words made us laugh, but also brought us to the place where we all come to the wonderfully sobering reality of how powerful the yoga practice actually is!
As an ice-breaker, I asked each person the following question: “Please give me the name of a book or books you have read that have spiritually moved you.” Many of the members in the group are in book clubs and all of them are avid readers. Below is the list of answers.
Sue: The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz
Patti: The Book Thief by Marcus Zysak and Broken for You by Stephanie Kallos
Marie-France: Title coming!
Bobbe and Pam both had the same title come to mind: American Dervish by Ayad Akhtar
Linda: Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson
Amy: As a Driven Leaf by Milton Steinberg
Jane: Loving and Leaving the Good Life by Helen Nearing
Eileene: A Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
Joanne: Grist for the Mill by Ram Dass
Gene: Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
Tim: Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda and Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Melissa: Waking by Matthew Sanford
Fran: Love Medicine and Miracles by Bernie Siegel and Path with Heart by Jack Kornfield (originally, I said Margot by Jillian Cantor)
Gretchen: Candide by Voltaire
Note: If you are reading this and would like to add the title of a book/s that has moved you spiritually, please include it in the comment box below. I’d love to hear from you!
Lastly, I’d like to include another round of replies I received from the group at the very end of our two-day workshop. After an invigorating session on Friday, the group formed a circle for Shavasana before settling into a guided meditation. Before sinking deeply into Nirvana, I asked everyone to define yoga with a word or two:
Yoga is strength.
Yoga is inner strength.
Yoga is breath.
Yoga is life saving.
Yoga is loosening.
Yoga is love.
Yoga is community.
Yoga is calm.
Yoga is calm breath.
Yoga is stretching.
Yoga is balance.
Yoga is consciousness.