Turn Things Upside Down

Be Well Be Happy

Many years back, I had an opportunity to work with the special needs children who were non- verbal. They were a precious gift in my life leading me towards a career teaching yoga here in the Rockaways. With the support of my family, I was able to follow my heart and bring this special love to many in our community. A song by Jack Johnson, Upside Down, always reminds me of the children and all they overcame in their life.  If you can listen to the words please do.

“Who’s to say, what’s impossible, well they forgot this world keeps spinning and with each new day I can feel a change in everything, and as the surface breaks, reflection fades, but in some ways they remain the same and as my mind begins to spread its wings there’s no stopping curiosity. I wanna turn the whole thing upside down, I’ll find the things they say can’t be found, I’ll share this love I find with everyone. I don’t want this feeling to go away.”  The children treasured yoga because it helped organize their vestibular system, giving them more balance and coordination. To me it was a miracle to observe the children thrive in a calm, quiet, peaceful way. They taught us the value of yoga in a world spinning out of control.

And so, I began to build a yoga community in 2009 in the Rockaways to help people feel what I experienced when I practiced yoga. Pure joy and freedom in your body and mind is often the byproduct of having a regular yoga practice. A calmer mind and deeper awareness of our beautiful world. We practice for all beings everywhere. As many of you have experienced and witnessed, our world at times seems ‘upside down.’ We practice to remember to breathe, to learn to let go, to be in the chaos and yet be grounded. Healing is the return to oneself.  Reflecting inward gives us a clearer view of how we can weave together a fragmented world.  We live in troubling times, having tools to navigate will help keep you sane!

Often in conversation I will hear people say: “I can’t do yoga,” “It’s boring,” “I need more,” “It just doesn’t work for me.” I completely understand and respect people for whatever they believe will make them happy and whole. Many people want immediate results but that is not how yoga works. We call it a practice so you get many opportunities to delve deep into your internal world. There are no mirrors in the traditional yoga room so the ego is left at the door and we are more concerned about how we breathe, move and modify to adjust to whatever is going on with our bodies and minds. It is a practice about coming home to yourself and releasing the negative, habitual patterns we develop in life.

Eight weeks ago, I had surgery on a broken wrist from an accident. Thankfully, I was able to continue to teach and bring the authentic teachings of yoga to our students. If you were looking for a killer class, I would not be the teacher. Instead, I found compassion for the students who work with injuries, physically and mentally. Yoga is for everyone. Slow and steady has always been my mantra and now I truly had to live those words. I am grateful for the simple practice of yoga that can turn things upside down and give you a new perspective of life. There is much joy found on the yoga mat. I wish you all peace, ease of mind and good health. “We are all just walking each other home.” - Ram Dass

 By Helen Kilgallen

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