Daily Archives: October 15, 2007

Five Questions

I was cruising through the archives of Liv’s blog – Madness, Madness I Say!.. isn’t that a great title? – when I came across a post where she answered interview questions from a reader. She offered, at the end of her answers, to interview others, so I sent in my request for questions.

I’ve done this once before. Contrary started the last round of interviews, and I remember having great fun with her questions – and great fun thinking up interview questions for other people. Coming up with “good” questions was hard work, but I’m willing to give it a try again, though, if anyone wants me to. Leave me a comment asking for your queries, and I’ll email them to you. Dudley, WW, Auntie, and anyone else who doesn’t have a blog of their own (you know who you are), I’ll post your answers as a guest post if you want to play, too – this isn’t a bloggers-only game. Also, if any of you have any questions you want to ask me, fire away!

Okay, here goes…

1) How long have you taught yoga? What made you decide to take a 200 hour (I’m guessing it’s a YA) training?

I started teaching yoga about six or seven years ago – I forget exactly when – when my health club brought a YogaFit training team to the gym. It was a one-day workshop that was really quite insufficient to the task of teaching people to teach, but one works with what one has, you know? Anyway, I really took to the practice as exercise (YogaFit takes pretty much ALL the Om out of yoga – it’s designed specifically for health club settings), and I started to do some research on my own to help me learn more than that one day training session taught me. I took a couple more workshops through different certification outfits – mostly more one-day trainings – in the hopes of coming out feeling at least somewhat competent because, really, I was feeling like an impostor yoga teacher.

After very few of these one day things, though, I realized that they were all pretty much the same. I could keep dropping $129 on repeats of essentially the same workshop, or I could enroll myself in some serious training. I took the 200 hour Yoga Boot Camp not only because it was seriously convenient (it happens in my own hometown, it’s only one weekend a month, and I could pay in installments), but also because it was time for me to stop dicking around and get to some real training.

That’s the long answer. The short answer is that I wanted to be better at something I already do pretty well. I’d hit a proverbial wall of going as far as I could go on my own, and it was time for me to seek out better teachers.

2) If you were any of the asanas, which posture would you be?

Ooooh! GOOD question! This is a hard one, because it depends on how I’m feeling at the moment.

Sometimes I’m dancer pose; strong and balanced and graceful.

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Sometimes, I’m bridge; low to the ground, stable and practical.

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There really aren’t any poses for when I’m out-of-balance and impractical and crazy, are there?

3) Do you regard yoga as a lifestyle or as a work-out?

Another good question. I think it’s more of a lifestyle for me, though I’m not obviously “yoga” to look at me. There are a lot of things about the practice that I was already doing in my life “off the mat” anyway, so I kind of came into yoga with a bit of a head start in that area. I haven’t spent any time studying the yogis or anything, though; my lifestyle choices a result of some pretty amazing people I’ve had in my life who’ve taught me to think and feel in ways that I’m not sure are very common out in the world.

4) You wrote in a “10 Things Tuesday” post the following question: Why the hell can’t we all figure out how to get along and treat each other with love and dignity?
What do theorize is the answer to that query?

Fear, plain and simple. The way I figure it, we make all of our behavior decisions based on one of two things – love or fear. When we’re operating out of love, we recognize each other as parts of ourselves (empathy), we stop worrying about what someone might do to us or take from us (trust) and we see that the success of “others” makes our lives better, too (cooperation). Nearly every behavior or emotion that we label as “bad” can be traced back to fear – fear of scarcity, fear of harm (physical or emotional), fear of abandonment or isolation. If we truly embraced the idea that all of our differences are artificial, we would be a long way toward figuring out how to eliminate all of the ugly in the world.

5) What was your inspiration for starting the Gay/Straight Alliance? How has this area of activism influenced you and your community?

I’ve always been an ally. There were precious few things that my parents did right in raising me, but they did teach me to be tolerant and accepting of all people – color, gender, religion, sexual orientation, race, nationality or any status whatsoever notwithstanding.

Several people I love very, very much are queer, and it both terrifies and infuriates me that they can be discriminated against – or targeted for much, much worse – just because they love who they love (and, yes; I recognize that I’m operating from fear there).

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking through my reasons for being activist about gay and lesbian rights – mostly in an effort to come up with an argument that can be considered “logical” by people who would argue my stance – and the best one I can come up with is this: keeping rights from anyone – queer people included – threatens MY rights, and it threatens yours, too. That alone is reason enough for activism.

My immediate inspiration for starting the GSA at Tiny Community College, though, was that I saw a pretty serious need for this kind of group on campus. Last month, TCC held a week long commemoration of the U.S. Constitution and, as a workshop focusing on the 14th Amendment (the “equal protection” clause), TCC invited a panel of queer kids from a local outreach program to come and talk about being one of the few groups not specifically named as protected against discrimination. The conversation was less about housing and employment rights, though, and more about what it’s like to be queer in today’s society. I sat in the back of the room listening to students ask these kids their coming out stories, what they do for fun, how their lives are different from straight people’s, and it was a big revelation for TCC students that queer folk are really not that different! Imagine! Gay people apply for jobs! They have to study for tests! They have the same relationship issues that straight people have!

What I’m saying is that this is a group we need on campus. If we’re going to combat the behavior and attitudes that narrow-minded people have, we’ve got to get them to see “others” as not-quiet-so-other.

As far as how it’s influenced me and my community? I’m not sure that’s for me to say because I don’t really know how much or how little my activism has touched anyone else. I do know for sure, though, that I can’t NOT do this – it’s not a question of my wanting to care, I just do. If I’m going to live authentically and true to my soul, I have to stand up and speak out.

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