Embodied Alchemy

IMG_4020-1-241x300This election has wreaked havoc on me. Physically, emotionally, and spiritually, I am simply not the same as I was six months ago. I feel heavier, weaker, more anxious, and less hopeful about and connected to the world around me.

I know that I am not the only one.

I spent the first few weeks after November 8th oscillating wildly between poles. At the one end, I felt energized and ready to organize, at the other I felt despondent and hopeless. I dealt with this polar experience by drinking heavily, eating comfort food, binge watching Harry Potter, and withdrawing into isolation.

I also organized. I also taught. I also tried to connect. But what I found, after weeks of abusing my body and mind, was that I felt less able to do the things that need to be done. The revolution seemed unlikely when daily life was such a fucking chore.

I questioned everything. I questioned whether revolution was even possible. I questioned living in America. I questioned our so-called democracy. I especially questioned my role in all of this. The world is on fire, I thought, and I am teaching a fucking yoga class? Who cares?

And then I realized: I am not doing anyone any favors by feeling weak, scared and powerless. When I doubt my self worth and the value of my contributions to the world through my vocation, no one wins. Not me, not my students, not the revolution.

It is no new thing to state that the personal is political. But it feels true. And the political is also personal. Right now, I feel the political as a force that moves through my body, my mind, and my soul. And it feels threatening, a virus that is capable of turning me against myself.

I am not going to tell you that self-care is a revolutionary act. This has been said better by others, and I believe them. What I want to say is that without self-care, revolutionary acts cease to be possible. Drunk hermits don’t change the world, except perhaps in poetry.

In order to resist, we must be strong enough to do so. We must be strong enough to take care of ourselves and each other. We must be strong enough to carry heavy burdens and light enough to know when to rest. We must be the change, with our bodies, our minds, and our hearts.

It is increasingly obvious that the State will not take care of us. Many of us may soon be without access to basic healthcare. This will inordinately affect those most likely to resist the current regime: women, POC, undocumented citizens, LQTBQ folks, and the poor.

We cannot allow our resistance to be quelled.


The first battleground is our bodies. That the first act of the incoming administration is to remove our access to healthcare proves this point. They shot the first arrow.

When forces of oppression choose our bodies as the arena, how will we respond? We could do what is expected of us: wither into weakness, addiction, and, inevitably, submission.

Or we could get strong.

I am not so naïve as to believe that yoga and self-care can fix everything. I am not so duped that I believe that my personal enlightenment takes precedence over social activism. I know that getting up early and drinking green juice won’t save the world.

But these things can help. Not least because they can make us stronger, healthier, and more capable of resistance. Also because they are the tools we have that exist outside of regulated structures. Anyone can do yoga. Anyone can meditate. Anyone can drink green juice. Anyone can change their daily habits to ensure good health.

You don’t need me to do these things.

That seems so important that I feel like I should say it again. You don’t need me.

But I might point out that none of us can do this by ourselves. I can help. I can help you revolutionize your daily habits. I can help you learn to take care of yourself. I can help you feel better in your everyday experience. This is my work. I’m pretty fucking good at it.

I am not suggesting that you should only learn how to take good care of yourself so that you can be a better force of resistance. You should take care of yourself because your body is the vessel that you inhabit and out of which your whole experience of life on this earth is experienced. It might be nicer for that vessel to be clean and durable. You tell me.

embodied alchemy

I am offering this class, Embodied Alchemy, as a laboratory in which to alchemize your physical experience. We will experiment with changing our daily habits, using the tools of yoga and Ayurveda as a guide.

Some things we will talk about are: living in rhythm with nature, meditation, breath body practices, and healthy eating. We will focus on practical application of these habits and troubleshoot integrating them into our lives.

You don’t need to be super into yoga to come, although we will do yoga. You don’t have to be committed to eating local or vegan or paleo. You don’t have to promise that you will get up at sunrise each day. You don’t even have to like green juice.

You do have to commit to participating, and to having a spirit of experimentation. The motto of the class is, “Try it and see what happens.”

Our guiding question is, “Does it feel revolutionary?”

En Solidaridad.

Click here to see course details and registration information.

Click here to be added to the Embodied Alchemy mailing list. You will only receive emails related to the class.

Click here or here or here or here to read articles I have written about some of the habits we cover in this class. 


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