Don’t you love it when a yoga teacher shares an inspirational message during class? I have to admit it is one of the things I most look forward to when I attend a studio class. Sometimes it’s a poem, sometimes it comes straight from their heart, and more often than not it is a message that really resonates, as if they were speaking just to me.
Do you sometimes cringe when you’re the one that has to come up with that inspirational message or theme for a yoga class? If you answered yes, then I have the perfect yoga teacher companion for you – one that is full of inspirational messages and beautiful poems that can be easily picked up and weaved into a yoga class theme.
If you are a lover of poetry, a lover of yoga, or a yoga teacher looking for inspirational poems to weave into your dharma talk, you must check out Volume 1 and the just-released Volume 2 of The Poetry of Yoga.
The Poetry of Yoga is a new anthology of contemporary poetry that was edited and pulled together lovingly by community organizer, peace educator, author, spoken word poet, yoga instructor, and artist HawaH, who wanted to create a body of current yoga verse written by modern, living poetic voices that would reflect on how yoga continues to shift the landscape of human consciousness and civilization.
Back in October 2010, HawaH launched a call for submissions for the book (which, through the power of social media, became a worldwide poetic movement) and received more than 1,500 submissions. How cool of a job would that be to read all of those submissions and then get to pick which ones made it to the anthology? HawaH joyfully did this task without seeing the names of the authors so that he would have an unbiased view. He was able to narrow down the submissions to 450 pages – too much for one book – so the decision was made to offer two anthologies. The first was published on November 11, 2011 (11/11/11) and the second on December 12, 2012 (12/12/12).
The newest addition includes over 500 beautiful pages of poetry written by yogis from around the world. Amongst the collection you’ll find poems written by MC Yogi, Tommy Rosen, Kia Miller, Angela Farmer, Seane Corn, Hemalyaa Behl, Ana Forrest, and Dave Stringer.
As if that’s not already cool enough, by buying either volume of The Poetry of Yoga you are giving to others because 50 percent of proceeds are donated to the non-profit organization One Common Unity, which provides inner-city youth programs that teach peace education and the building of a non-violent culture through music and art.
My copy of the first book of poems is already completely dog-eared with all my favorites, and I’m sure I will be pulling inspirational passages from it and the latest volume for years to come.
Here is one of my favorites from The Poetry of Yoga Volume 2 titled “Blossoming,” which I will be threading into the themes of yoga classes.
Blossoming by Janet Arnold-Grych
from The Poetry of Yoga Volume 2 (page 41)
In the beginning,
With each unraveling of the mat,
We are anxious to add to our garden,
To gather the beautiful buds,
And coax each asana to open quickly.
Feet in the dirt we stand,
Sometimes for the first time,
Connecting earth to muscle and muscle to sky,
The energy of an immense lineage
Pulsing with promise.
But as the poses settle,
As we settle,
We find that yoga’s true gift is not about more
The outline of the poses remain the same.
Yet when the space between is fed,
When ease replaces expectation,
When patience replaces petals,
We find that the asanas are no longer
About holding on,
But letting go.
And in that release,
Without judgment or force to impede,
Breath floods in,
Releasing the mind and freeing the heart.
That core of serene nothingness,
And learn that in letting go,
We gain everything.
You can purchase both volumes of The Poetry of Yoga at http://thepoetryofyoga.com.
Maria Santoferraro, RYT, is first and foremost a student of yoga and hails from the beautiful shores of Lake Erie, Ohio. A former marketing executive with a ‘Crackberry’ addiction, she now enjoys spending her time teaching yoga, building yoga brands, and creating meditation videos for Hang Ten Meditation. Go from stressed out to blissed out on her blog The Daily Downward Dog, Twitter, and Facebook, and join her next April for a week of beach yoga bliss in Aruba.