Leave it as it is. lara farks yoga gas bloating back pain


I was 60 minutes into my last Escents Aromatherapy Yin class at YYoga. “In the the fight or flight response adrenaline is the hormone that tells your legs it’s time to run or kick…” I softly said as I headed towards the front of the room just as I sensed the studio door behind me briskly swing open. As I took my next breath to finish my thought I heard a voice yell “I’m sorry but we have to evacuate.”

Fittingly, the multiple aromatherapy diffusers had masked the smell of a potential gas leak in the building and while it can pay of to take risks for happiness, seldom is taking risks ever prudent for safety. The manager emphatically told us to leave everything except our personal belongings as we shuffled out of the room.

Still half in a meditative state, the entire class got up quietly to walk away as we left our mats and blankets and shuffled outside as the fire department walked up the stairs to the studio. We left the comfort of our cozy yin castles to venture out into about a foot of snow and ice that had covered the streets of downtown Toronto. The winds had kicked up to a howl – a far cry from the relaxing singing bowls and flute music that had lulled us into relaxation mere moments ago.

A few students and I quipped outside about how nice it would have been to finish the class but we were all in it (or out of it) together understanding that no matter what we wanted, we had to go. We had to walk away no matter how tough it might have been to leave everything unfinished, open and unresolved. No arguments – no discussions. Out of the comfort zones, into the unknown…

On the surface it was calm and effortless – on the inside there was a storm of anxiety rippling underneath me. I was leaving a group of people who had supported me for a year – who were patient with my growth as a teacher, who took time out of their Sundays to learn together. I was afraid. Not of the weather, the gas or the immediate danger surrounding me – of walking away without saying anything. I wanted to fill this discomfort with words. I wanted to soothe myself that the transition would be seamless and easy – it wasn’t.

I was uncomfortable. I wanted to fight to stay here even though I knew I needed to leave. I struggled leaving the comfort of the space I had built. I wanted to run sometimes from the idea that I was letting people down. I panicked over how to say goodbye for weeks before settling on a few words of appreciation. I worried about how to express the gratitude I had for those who decided to take a risk in spending their time with me. How vulnerable yin yoga makes us as teachers just as much as they do our students. I wanted to leave our goodbyes to happily ever after… not a cliff hanger without a sequel.

Now when I reflect on going out without a “bang” (pun very much intended), I realize it was perfectly befitting. It was perfect as it is. I had created space in this room and left it there untouched, unresolved. Perfectly ready to receive whatever happened the week after. Without filling the discomfort with goodbyes, and meanings – I had left it open and full of potential as to what would happen next… I wouldn’t know where it would take us but I knew I had left something here. I had left it as it is – silent – ready for the next voice to fill it’s space.

I’ve just completed a yoga history course where I learned some stories from yoga’s lightest and darkest chapters in history… from the limited knowledge that we have on the origins of yoga, to the period of classical Hatha, to the survival of yoga through British colonialism in India, many different forms of oppression, through the travels yoga has made across borders, how modern yoga has allowed practitioners to learn from one another all over the world, being shared for peace and in some cases for profit. Although some of these stories have been uncomfortable and unsettling, the overall inspiration I’ve gotten that yoga – throughout history – has always strived to make yoga more accessible to more people (with varied success). I’m more inspired than ever to honour this intention of accessible yoga for anyone and everyone seeking to learn regardless of class, age, gender, language, belief, location, look, to build healthy bodies, quiet healthy minds, both in the spirit of this tradition of meditation and physical health… in this ever evolving and growing practice. It’s an honour to be an ink blot on one of the pages of yoga’s practice.

3. Krishnamacharya touted as the “father of modern yoga” who first publicly made available the more complex asana or postures to demonstrate yoga’s capacity to build physical fitness. This is his ad for his Yoga College which includes references to mind and spirit.