To Be or Not To Be is Not the Question

“Doing is not more valuable than being.”   
- Livia Cohen-Shapiro, Fluency podcast - Being vs Doing

Doing is necessary.

We must Do to survive: to eat, to get dressed, to turn on the lights. But in the midst of all our Doing, it is also necessary to have a refuge. Somewhere or someone that lets you just Be.

My mat has always been my refuge. It’s the place I can come and breathe and move and rest and be. Yoga doesn’t judge me. Yoga doesn’t care what I look like. It doesn’t care how “good” I am. It’s perfectly happy if I crawl onto my mat and cry in child’s pose for an hour.

More importantly, I have people who allow me to be. People who choose to see me raw and exposed and not look away.

If you don’t have a person like this in your life, get one. And if you have to pay a professional to be your refuge, that’s ok. That’s more than ok. However, if you have a professional in your life that is not a refuge, if you don’t feel safe enough to be naked and afraid in front of your therapist or counselor, then get a new one!

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about this idea of refuge, about what it means to have a tribe: a group of people who are safe, who see you, and don’t look away. This tribe doesn’t have to be perfect - that’s impossible, that will never happen - but it has to be real. It has to be honest. It can’t be fake and only put it’s best face on. It has to be raw. It has to be a little bit scary, because being honest and open is scary. It means you are exposing yourself to judgement and rejection.

It sets you up for loss.

But it also sets you up for freedom.

It allows you to spread your wings and soar. To see and be seen. To be accepted, not for what you look like or what you can do, but simply because you are.

“My hope for you is that you can come into contact with the value, the worth of your existence. Simply because your soul has come into this body.” 
- Livia Cohen-Shapiro, Fluency podcast - Being vs Doing

It may be a tall order, but that’s what I want this place to be. I want JBY to be a refuge where this tribe of people can come together to laugh and cry, practice and dream. A safe haven where you can be seen and be accepted. Where no one will ask you if you wear a size small yoga pant or if you can do a handstand, because no one will give a shit. We can be a community of practitioners, embracing the motto of practice. NOT perfection

Being over doing.


This is a bit of a stretch, but I wanted to take the above ideals and see what they would look like as a yoga practice. So take them as separate but equal ideals, both with their own merits:

You are not what you do. You are not your practice. You are not what your body looks like. You are not the job you have, the education you have, the house you live in. You are You. And that is so freaking cool. So, let’s practice like we really believe that is true. No worrying about doing things “right.” Just breathe and move.

Do your yoga pants slide down under your belly when you hop forward from downward facing dog? Do you usually adjust them when you get back up to mountain pose? What if you didn’t? What if you just kept breathing and moving?

Does your shirt hang down or shimmy up a bit too far where you feel self conscious, like your bits are hanging out for all the world to see? What if you didn’t fix it? What if you just kept breathing and moving?

What if you fart in the middle of Warrior 2? What if you queef every damn time you come down from headstand? What if instead of holding completely still and pretending that it never happened (or doing what I tend to do and never, ever, ever do that pose in public) you laughed and said “Now that feels better!” And then you kept breathing and moving?

What if you don’t apologize to the teacher after class about being a beginner and not being very good? What if you don't explain and justify why you are taking modifications today?

What if you practice for yourself and enjoy the crap out of breathing and moving, whatever it looks like, whatever it sounds like, the hell with what anyone else is doing?

If you aren’t quite ready to do all that in class, why don’t you try it in your own living room. Grab any practice you want from the Practice Community library and go for it.

Practice being and loving it, no matter what it looks like.

Revel in being alive and on your mat.

Love what happens even if it isn’t what you think it should be.

Just be.

“My hope for you is that you can come into contact with the value, the worth of your existence. Simply because your soul has come into this body.” 
- Livia Cohen-Shapiro, Fluency podcast - Being vs Doing