this is how you know the yoga is working

Georgie, I don’t think the yoga is working. I still can’t touch my toes or do a headstand and I haven’t been to an intermediate class. When is the yoga gonna start working?

This is how you know the yoga is working:

It’s not about the arm balances and the flexy hamstrings and the lavender essential oils. It’s definitely not about kale or kombucha or 10 Steps to Enlightenment e-books. And it’s never, ever about the lululemon.

Yoga is slow. Yoga is quiet.

It’s about being able to, if even for the most fleeting of moments, have compassion for that person who said something negative and untrue about you. Compassion. Not pity, not sadness, but compassion. Love. Like you honest to God want to give that person a hug and buy them a beer. Even if in the next breath you’re blasting Alanis and walking through the streets of Oakland with extended middle fingers and you kind of want to buy that “F THE HATERS” t-shirt you saw in the mall–it’s okay. If you, in any amount, have desire in your hurting heart to be kind to this person, then the yoga is working.

If when you look in the mirror and some days you find yourself saying, hey, not bad kid, then the yoga is working.

If when you’re climbing or writing or meditating or doing the dishes or making love, if instead of talking shit to yourself the entire time you are metaphorically (or maybe literally) cheering yourself on with pompoms and highkicks, then the yoga is working.

If you have goals in your relationships such as making the other person feel like she/he is the coolest, raddest, smartest, most badass and hilarious person on the planet, then the yoga is working.

It’s about being able to stand behind what in the springtime is a roaring Yosemite falls and acknowledge that it is your ego that’s experiencing hurt and deceit and judgement, but it is your body and therefore your soul, the real stuff, that is looking down at the snow-covered valley, glittering and vanilla, and you’re thinking about how you’ve looked up at this waterfall a million times and how now you’re standing right under it, and how it’s dried up for the season but you can still feel its power, and if you’re really feeling the winter sun on your cheeks, and if you’ve stripped down to your long undies and you’re watching ice melt and fall off the top of Lost Arrow Spire, and if despite all the little dramas and ego bruises you can still not help but say out loud, damnit this is gorgeous, then yeah, the yoga is working.

If for just one moment during the day you can feel like things are all okay, and that you’re doing pretty well, and you know deep down that it’s all good, then the yoga is working.

If it is a priority of yours this holiday season to give just a small attempt to stop using the bad things that have happened in this life as your excuse for being bitter or gossipy or Grinch-like, then the yoga is working.

Oh, and don’t get too hung up on the word yoga–replace it with anything you do that makes you less bratty and more like the kind of person that feels really good to be. Keep practicing, stay psyched, and be good to each other. Happy holidays everyone!