Yellow Wood Yoga
When people hear the words “yellow wood,” they immediately recall Robert Frost’s iconic words:
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller
And everyone knows how it ends: the speaker takes the “road less travelled by,” and that makes “all the difference.”
And yet, so misleading.
Too often, Frost’s poem is reduced to a cliched hymn to non-conformity, when in fact the poem has far more complexity. The speaker at first says that one road has been well traveled and the other hasn’t, but on second look admits that they were “really worn about the same” and that the roads “equally lay” before him. Further investigation shows that the poem isn’t what it seems to be about at all. It’s not about the importance of choosing the road less traveled but about “how way leads on to way,” how each path chosen leads to new paths, how choices lead to new sets of choices, how we can never get back to that original moment, that original moment of choice.
And so with yoga. Rather than being its stereotypes (childish escape from responsibility, mindless followers wearing flowing clothes and beads, or trendy exercise of the wealthy), yoga is a complex, layered practice that is much more than backbends and handstands. Part of yoga is about the poses, of course, but not in the way people often think. It’s not about achieving some ideal shape but about the beautiful tension in moving without striving, between pushing too far and not daring the edge. Every pose becomes a lesson in accepting the world and ourselves as we are in that moment. Another part of yoga is about breathing in certain ways that bring certain effects to our system. Yoga can lift our system, and yoga can lower it. Another part of yoga asks us to look at ourselves off the mat, at what we do and don’t do when we’re not doing the poses, how we cultivate well being in our actions, thoughts, and relationships. Clearly, there’s more to yoga than one person could understand in a lifetime. Even the name “yoga,” which means “union” or “yoke,” invites us to ask exactly what is being brought together: mind and body? Breath and movement? I and we? Yoga is a complex set of practices and principles that are surprisingly relevant to our modern world. So, yoga, like Frost’s poem, shows us a vision of the world and asks us to actively engage to hear its truth.
At Yellow Wood Yoga we believe in stepping onto the path with our eyes wide open, our feet firmly planted on the ground, curious to see what’s there, prepared to accept whatever we stumble upon.