Namaste everyone. Many of you know by now that there was a confrontation the opening day of the NW Yoga Conference, in Seattle, Thursday, February 22. I (Roy Holman) was a presenter the last day of the conference Sunday, February 25th.
I am choosing to side step some of the drama by not publishing the Facebook video, apparently shot by one of the group members of the speaker, Savitri. Savitri was asked to receive an award on behalf of her husband, Aadil Palkhivala, who is one of the most well known yoga teacher in the Seattle area. Aadil apparently had bronchitis or pneumonia and could not speak. Aadil and his wife Savitri have run Alive and Shine Yoga Studio in the Redmond area for over 25 years. I have met them both and studied briefly with them. As you will see below, though, I am not taking sides, just sharing from my sight and heart.
In short, the conference founder and organizer Melissa Hagedorn is shown in the video cutting short Savitri’s talk at about the 5 minute mark. Savitri argues back, and refuses to relinquish the microphone. She later claimed that she was allotted 10 minutes.
As often the case, there does seem to be two sides to this story. We may be wise to not jump to conclusions and judgments. Certainly Melissa could have handled this differently. And I also get an uncomfortable feeling about the way I saw Savitri respond, sort of defiantly and defensively, and the way Aadil responded in a rather intense letter, which protesters were handing out at the conference.
I have read some online comments that were quick to judge and draw conclusions. And there are also the ones who are staying quiet, staying with their body and their breath and their yoga, knowing that this too shall pass.
If I may offer a relevant bird’s eye perspective (at least from this bird named Roy) ….. there is a tremendous and beautiful shift underway on Earth. The energy vibration keeps getting higher and higher, and it is not always comfortable. In this world of polarity and duality, this new energy is lighting up everything that is not resonant with the new vibration. Whether it is the recent sex issues, or race issues, or talk of walls and hate and on and on, any egoic tendencies are being sifted to the surface and out into the light.
This is not comfortable! But we must remember that things are not getting worse–well, maybe they are. But they are getting worse and better at the same time. In truth, there is no good or bad, better or worse. But the old energies and the shadows and pain bodies and egos are getting a big light shined on them, and this is awesome! Not easy, but a necessary step in healing.
We in the yoga community are not unlike the rest of the world. We are doing our best to be healthy, nonviolent and peaceful, but we have our wounds and warts like everyone else. And this incident is perhaps helping us face our farts! We all have bodies and egos; we can find the humor in all this. All of us have some shadows in need of compassionate light.
I guess the side I am taking is this: I am for all sides. Yoga means union. So in the deepest sense, if there is only one of us, then who is responsible? I AM! If I am going to stop the blame game, how does this incident reflect my own egoic and shadow tendencies? I judge other yoga styles as inferior to the style I teach (viniyoga). I judge other teachers. I worry about money. I try to control everything. I defend myself in immature ways. I am blogging to feel significant. My fear of conflict and my codependent side wants to “fix” this situation and have us all sit down together and sing Kumbaya.
We are the ones who are bringing in this light. Do you see the beautiful irony? The theme of the conference was “Be the Light”. So Melissa, Savitri, Aadil–everyone who on some level has bravely chosen to get involved in this conference and challenging incident–is helping us each see our own stuff. We are lighting up what needs to be seen and felt and faced and integrated. Will we face it? Will we see it? Will we take responsibility for it?
My teacher in India, Sri Bhagavan, said, “The problem with man is, he sees everything as a problem.” Is there really a problem here, or an opportunity? My Kumbaya side would love to see us gather in community in some sort of a healing reconciliation ceremony, tame all our activated egos.
This too shall pass, and we are wise not to get lost in the drama, but stay focused on the beautiful new paradigm we are co-creating. This is the true promise of yoga, the true promise of life.
I am praying for and trusting in the Kumbaya.
Or perhaps the Kumbaya moment is here, now, and we just have to celebrate it.