Tag Archive: Elizabeth Goodman yoga classes

Another Encroachment on Individual Liberties (and Arjuna’s dilemma)

When I was waiting for the metro to go to Willow Street Yoga this Saturday morning to offer a free gentle/therapeutics class (new session starts for the class next Saturday, January 15th–all welcome), I heard a very disturbing announcement on Metro.  I only take Metro once or twice a week.  I am pretty certain I would have noticed it if I had heard it before; in rush hour, of course, it is hard to hear the announcements when the platforms are full.  What I heard was this:  “Metro police have advised that all passengers are subject to random searches of their carry ons.”  A reasonable person might want to know what is a “carry on” for these purposes.  My first question to myself was “don’t random searches of this type violate the Constitution?”  (Yes, the American Civil Liberties Union is actively engaged in the issue).

I find random searches just for boarding the metro with a carry on an unfortunately not particularly shocking example of how far we have allowed the “war on terror” to be waged against all of us.  Perhaps there are readers of this blog who are not shocked or perhaps believe that these searches are warranted; I am open to listening to why.  I know that it was not front page news, and my friends have not been talking about it.  This was just another one of those awful things we have started taking for granted, which is something that I hope is getting progressively harder to do.

My biggest question for myself was what I would do if the police asked to search my handbag.  The odds are slim to none that “random” would in practice include a reasonably well-dressed, clean, small, middle-aged, middle class, fairly evidently American-born, white woman.  But what if random was really random and I happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time?  Would I refuse to let my bag be searched on principle?  Would I be willing to lose my job and possibly go to jail for my conviction that such a practice misses the mark completely for its intended purposes and tears at the very fabric of a free society and our individual liberties?  I find that I do not know the answer.  Partly it is attachment to my own security.  Partly it is that I do not know whether it would be better just to allow my bag to be searched and not engender conflict than to engage in conflict that will certainly harm me, severely limit my ability to give financial support for important fights and causes, and potentially could harm others around me, even if ultimately, with the help of many I am sure, I were to be a participant in reason prevailing and the practice ceasing.

In thinking about how unsure I was of my ability to act if I were to be put to the test, I was reminded of the situation at the beginning of the Bhagavad Gita, where Arjuna is paralyzed by inability to act in the face of the hideous spector of violent death and destruction that would result from going to battle even to rectify an injustice.  Arjuna looks out on the battlefield where battle is enjoined because of the injustices that have been done (we’ll leave it for another day as to whether the violations of law in the Mahabharata are ones that a modern thinker might agree should give rise to the epic battle in the Bhagavad Gita.)  Krishna explains to Arjuna that it is his dharma to go to battle; he is a warrior and these wrongs must be rectified.  The general day to day principle that governs the life of a yogi — ahimsa or non-harming — is trumped by the greater need to rectify the societal injustice.  Arjuna must join in battle because leaving the injustice uncorrected will in result in greater harm to the order of society, even the cosmological order itself.  See Stephen Phillips, “Yoga, Karma, and Rebirth” (discussing the interrelationship between the individual practice of ahimsa and the need for cosmological order in Indian philosophy).

I am not likely to be put to the test here, but that is part of the evil of the practice.  What can I do?  What should I be doing in the face of a direction in society that gives rise to policies like these and the gunning in Arizona yesterday?  It takes great discrimination (viveka), more perhaps than I have, to know how and when to act.  I do know that it is not right for me as a citizen or a yogi to stand aside.  I offer this very public statement of my beliefs and I gave a generous donation to the ACLU yesterday.  I am sure that is not enough, but it is a start.  As our society moves in the direction it is moving, more and more of us must contemplate, evaluate, and begin to expand how we act and participate to see a world where ahimsa is not just personal, but all persons and beings have the possibility of being free from suffering.

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March News (website version of e-newsletter)

Dear Friends,

It has been a longer winter than usual for DC, but that will make spring even more special.  This month is filled with opportunities to start to flower along with everything around us, including your own garden.

Tuesday night Wm Penn House classes are always available for all levels on a drop-in basis with special pricing for not-for-profit workers, students, seniors, and those between jobs.  Drop-ins also welcome any time at Willow Street Yoga — level 2 at 8:30 am (great way to start your weekend) and gentle/therapeutics at noon every Saturday.

On Saturday, March 13th, on the eve of Daylight Savings time, come join yogins and gardeners alike at this year’s Yoga for Gardeners. 2:30 PM – 5:00 PM, Willow Street Yoga Center, Takoma Park, $40.00.  Whether this is your first time taking the workshop or a repeat visit for the love of yoga and gardening, get ready to grow, align, cultivate, and rejuvenate mind, body, and spirit with joyous anticipation of spring and the coming gardening season! Suitable for novice and experienced yogis and gardeners alike, this workshop shows ways to align most optimally when digging into the dirt and also provide an opportunity for your true self to blossom. I will bel donating a portion of her profits to benefit the Youth Garden at the National Arboretum, so coming to the workshop will be yet another way to foster gardeners and gardens in the city.  To register, please visit www.willowstreetyoga.com.

The third Saturday of the month wouldn’t be the same without the Serenity Saturday restorative workshop from 3-5 at Capitol Hill Yoga.  This month will be extra special invitation to welcome the light on the Spring Equinox.  For more information and to register, please visit www.capitolhillyoga.com.

Coming in April, along with the usual array, I’ll be teaching one of the special charity classes at Capitol Hill Yoga on Sunday, April 4th, from 3-4:30.  Details to come.

Stay warm, enjoy the new budding of spring, and the last of the snow and winds of winter.  Looking forward to seeing you soon.

Peace and light,

Elizabeth

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Thaw Your Muscles and Melt Into Bliss (Web Version of E-Mailing)

Dear Friends,

It was indeed a relief that no more snow accumulated over the weekend and the storm passed to the north.  The sidewalks are starting to clear.  If you look carefully, you can see leaf buds starting to emerge on the trees.  Under the piles of snow, I am sure spring bulbs are starting to push up through the earth.

During this time of shoveling, slippery walking, cold, and confinement, having a mixed practice of warming yoga and restoratives has been an incredible support.

Come join me this weekend for “Serenity Saturday” at Capitol Hill Yoga to thaw your muscles and melt into the blissful lake of the heart.  To register, please visit www.capitolhillyoga.com.

Need class before the weekend?  Join us at William Penn House, Tuesday nights at 6:30pm, with a class that will suit for all levels.

Peace and light,

Elizabeth

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Website Version of December Newsletter

Note:  If you would like to receive newsletters or previously subscribed, but changed your email or have not been receiving emails, please resubscribe directly through the website or send me an email and I’ll try to get you on the list.  I do get some mysterious bounce backs.

I hope this email finds you well.  I’ve been enjoying the decorative lights outside and candles inside as we move towards the Winter Solstice.  Even with the excitement of the holidays, it is a great time to turn inward, to pause and refresh our remembrance and recognition of the light inside us all.

Many thanks to all of you who came to the Thanksgiving Oxfam class (in spirit as well as in person).  Thanks to the generosity of Willow Street and all of you, we raised almost a $1,000 for Oxfam.  All of you who come to regular classes help support the Wednesday night practice being 100% for charity.  All fall, in recognition of one of the biggest issues of our day, the charities selected have been health-care focused, and I’ll continue that for December.  If you have any suggestions for cause of the month for 2010, don’t hesitate to share with me.

Workshops:

December Serenity Saturday: Give yourself or a friend or loved one a holiday gift of sweet relaxation at the next Serenity Saturday, which is December 19th, 3pm-5pm, at Capitol Hill Yoga.  Do a little local shopping or dining at Eastern Market and then join us for the delight of a deep restorative practice.  To register, please visit www.capitolhillyoga.com.  $5 discount if you register more than seven days in advance.

New Year’s Day Workshop: Flow into grace with an all-levels asana practice, followed by yoga nidra from 2-4 pm on New Year’s Day.  Suitable for the well-rested and late-night revelers alike.  Go to www.capitolhillyoga.com to register.

Classes:

Needing a little extra yoga or to get back into the swing:  come drop in at William Penn House on Tuesdays at 6:15 for all-levels or at Willow Street on Saturdays (level 2 at 8:30am and gentle/therapeutics at 12 noon).

Holiday Schedule:

Willow Street is on break from December 21st through the end of the year.  I’ll be teaching through December 19th and then teaching free classes as part of free class week on January 9th.  Yes, there will be class at the William Penn House on Tuesday, December 22nd, but alas no class on December 29th.

As always, please visit the website at www.rosegardenyoga.com to get more information on classes and upcoming workshops and to enjoy the blog.

Peace and light,

Elizabeth

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