Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Birth of The Yoga Bag Blog

September 7, 2013

Happy Birthday to my new blog! 


Yoga- The most effective pathway to intergration and stilling of the mind. The essential pathway to self-love.

Bag- a non-rigid container.

Let me tell you how this baby was conceived. 

On July 11, 2013 I was helping Susan Russel and Gary Steeves help yoga blossom at Resurrection Church on Doat Street, near Goodyear on the East-side of Buffalo. Keri Solka, Amy Green, Alexis Asquith, Rachel Cahill, and Katie Bassennello were also helping. For six weeks we taught yoga at the Resurrection Church summer camp. It was fantastic and wild-- both at the same time.

On this Thursday, my mind was full of many things. I had just met with colleagues on a study we were finishing up on eating disorders, priming, and decision making. I was going to help teach yoga at Ressureciton and then head out to teach yoga to the Amherst High School Swim Team. I had secured my office and business in order to clear things for our trip to Africa on Monday. So much on my mind and so much in my car. 

I walked into the summer school and started chatting with the other teachers. Susan Russel wanted to play "With My Own Two Hands" for savasana. I said that this was great and I had a Bose speaker in my car, IN MY YOGA BAG. I ran out to my car to grab the bag.

It is funny how these things come to your awareness. I saw my car. Something was not right. Then, I opened my door. The passenger side window was smashed, glass dispersed across the inside of the car into the street. The green glass had caught the midday light and was shimmering. My brief case was gone.  Blessing of blessings, my purse was still hidden under the driver's side seat- passports, drivers' license, credit cards all secure. Relief and then awareness of what was else missing. My yoga bag was gone.

We called the police and two young men from the church scoured the neighborhood with me. No luck. As I walked the things I had lost rolled into my awareness. My daily planner. My private practice schedule. Photos of my children, baby photos from the day they were born. Book contracts. Research notes. Ugh. I was overwhelmed.

My thoughts turned to the yoga bag. Actually, as I write now I am sad. My stomach aches and I feel a weight on my chest. Loss. It's heavy. The yoga bag contained my Bose speaker- no biggy- I knew I could buy a new one. My itouch with yoga play lists too- was gone- replaceable.

Then the painful stuff. My annotated sutras, "How to Know God" annotated during my training with the Himalayan Institute. McNally and Roach's Yoga Sutras- Annotated the first time I read, "How Yoga Works" and eveytime I cited the sutras in class I had dated and noted the sutras. The Bahgavad Gita- Gandhi's interpretation, annotated from the work I did with my Baptiste Certification. My handmade Mala beads, many times meditated on and now gone.  Notebooks of notes and plans for yoga classes. My lululemon journal from the Ambassador Leadership Summit and the igolu notebook with the how-to-change-your-life roadmap. Years of quotes and flows and ideas. Lost.

The saddest loss was my mantra written for me by Rolf Sovik when I received it the previous fall at the Himalayan Institute. It is completely private and gone.

At first, I was just sad. I had to replace some things like my yellow fever card for our trip to Africa. I thanked God many times for my purse and the blessing of not having to get a new passport in 3 days. Amy Green stopped by my house and gave me her beautiful mala beads. So beautiful for many reasons. Then....

The fantasy...... I imagine that some young people had broken into my car. They ran fast to get the goods out of sight. I watched as they made their way to one of their houses and ran upstairs, out of the view of their parents to go through the stuff. The brief case was nice, they would agree. Leather and in good condition This could be sold, they would agree. The planner- toss it. Book contracts, notes- garbage, they would agree. Then, they unzipped the yoga bag. Nice, a Bose speaker. This could be kept or sold and was new, perfect. They saw the itouch old model- maybe they'd get a little for that. They would scan the songs and wonder, maybe laugh. The books, the notes, the Mala beads, not worth much. They left those in the bag and tossed it aside. 

The goods stowed in one of their own backpacks, they headed out to see what they could get. 

The yoga bag sits. The notes, the igolu road maps, the yoga sutras with notes, the Gita with notes, the quotes and interpretations..... these all sit there. Days pass. Weeks pass. The bag gets kicked to the side, maybe even under a bed. Waiting.....

One day, a girl. Maybe a sister or cousin sees the bag and asks one of the theives "Can I have this? I love this bag." Answer, "Yeah, sure."

She takes it to her room and begins to look and read and wonder. She knows her brother has been in trouble. She worries about him. Her mom is always stressed and works too hard and dad has a new girl friend and family three streets over. She's anxious most days, every day. This yoga bag, these books are different, strange. They make her worry. Where did my brother get this? I should tell mom. I better not tell mom. She shoves the bag under her bed. Its hers now and she, for some reason-- no reason, has a sense that it is okay that it is hers.

As I miss my things, I see her read. When I wonder about my mantra, I see the perfectly foled paper and the careful penmanship in her hands. As a write new yoga classes and try to remeber my journal writing, I see her anxious hands and her right hand, first finger tracing words as she reads. She brings me peace of mind. I wish, I wish that when I was little and scared that I had a yoga bag like she does now, a bag full of things that would teach me how to be okay. A bag full of stuff that would teach me how to trust myself and to trust others.

Then today. It came to me. The Yoga Bag-- it was real and it was not going to be shoved under her bed anymore. It was going to be this blog. And anyone who is scared or wondering about how to do this thing called life, well I will tell you what was in my bag. I will also add to the bag.

As I have been told, "Life does not happen to you, it happens for you." I am grateful for this door opening and for my yoga bag-- lost and found. I am thankful for the little girl who showed up in my mind to help me deal with this material loss and make good of it. As I write, I am headed into some hard years. I imagine, I will be facing real fear and real loss. Accordingly, I am grateful for The Yoga Bag showing up for me right now.


Catherine Cook-Cottone

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What I like most about this story is seeing how mindfulness can help a person who lost such precious things and turn it into something positive. It would have been so easy to get angry and wish bad things on the thieves, but what good does that do you? Or me? Not much. But, turning it around into a way to grow and to help others grow is an inspiration to me to let go of my own anger. I will look forward to learning more about mindfulness and to deepen my own practice through reading and reflecting on lessons from this blog. -Angela from CEP672