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Mapping Heritage and Health with Nikki Calonge

I used to want answers from my yoga practice. I think it is very human to want to understand the nature of our existence and give it meaning. As I get older, as we all are every day, I turn to practice to find the space to question and explore all the things, from social constructs to personal fulfillment.

Practice is a vehicle, one could easily use the same mindfulness techniques to turn inward and put the blinders on to reality. This is, in my opinion, the norm of what is “sold” in the wellness sphere. But one could also use similar techniques and turn inward to open our eyes to the world around us, and how we are interwoven into it.

This is one of the reasons I invited Nikki Calogne to teach a workshop on the platform. I took this workshop earlier this year and I was grateful for the opportunity to recognize and learn from a bigger world both within and around me.

I recently asked Nikki a few questions about practice:

What does it mean to explore the myth of identity, and why do you think It is an important practice for these times?

I think it’s important to remember that we are made up of so much more than we see and understand; among them being historical, social, developmental factors that bring us to where we are. To say that identity is a myth is to challenge and disrupt the notion that identifiers are solid and enough to contain who we understand ourselves to be.

How can we use information that challenges our personal and worldview to explore embodiment?

There is nothing hidden from thought; anything that challenges what we think we know can cause ruptures, wrinkles, creases, and potentially strange tensions that inform the shape of the body in space. This is another way of saying that every desire can cause a blush; rage can curl the fingers; confusion may furrow the brows — is there any material that might move us more toward peace, beyond understanding? Some may say that that is the work of yoga itself.

In a way, it’s excavation work. Would you agree? What tools can we use for this work?

Wow, yes; excavation along with inquiry. It’s not enough to peer into the darkness, mine for memories, thoughts, opinions, desires, and hopes but to also contextualize from different perspectives. I plan for this workshop to reflect on this in a more detailed way; how do we step back and bask in all the jewels that have been dug up? The most present tools I can turn to for this are from a mighty teacher of mine; pay attention and take care.


Please join us this coming Sunday, November 14th at 4pm ET on Zoom for Mapping Heritage and Health.

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