Stop. Take a breath, exhale through your mouth. Do that again deepening your inhale and exhale. Now do it a third time deepening your breath even more. Raise your shoulders up, then bring them down and back. Do that one again too. Now close your eyes for a few moments and take in the sensation.
Feel better? Good, I thought you might
There are many ways to approach yoga. One view I embrace is of yoga as a method for integrating the mind, emotions and physical body. I try to use it as a way to remain centered and peaceful, even in the midst of chaos and upheaval. In fact, my favorite version of The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali translates the second sutra as, “Yoga is the settling of the mind into silence.”
Silence. Peace. Centeredness. Integration. How in the world do we move towards those states?
There are certainly enough things that can throw us off balance. First of all there are the multiple problems faced by the BLGT community as a whole. Check out of the news on any given day; biphobia and homophobia are rearing their rather ugly heads with what seems like the wildest of abandon. From “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” to being denied the opportunity to attend a prom, the situation is tense and surreal.
Of course, there are those issues that bisexuals face in particular: denial of bisexuality and invisibility. The demon of dichotomous thinking strikes again.
Ah, but wait. The asanas–or postures–of yoga are there for building more than just physical strength and flexibility. They also help us cultivate stamina and flexibility for dealing with what life hands us.
For example forward folding has been a real issue for me. Every time I get on the mat, I have to work various ways to come deeper into any position that requires bending. After years of practice, I’m a farther along than I was when I started.
So it is with bisexuality. I’ve found I have to contemplate what it means for me in various ways, coming at it from different angles. I’ve had to look at how I deal with relationships with women and men and with how I approach the various kinds of intimacy with each. Years later, I’m a little farther along than when I embarked on the adventure.
Yoga isn’t easy either. I have a friend who is fond of reminding her classes that, “Yoga is not a pleasure cruise.” It is work that takes discipline to accomplish. I’ve lost count of the days when I haven’t wanted to step onto my mat. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve fallen out of poses like my major tumble from handstand a couple of weeks ago. After I go my breath back, I tried going upside again. I keep at it anyway and feel better for it at the end.
It’s the same again bisexuality. How many times have any of us had to deal with a question about what bisexuality is? How many times have we been told that we have “to choose one or the other”? How many times have we had to explain how biphobia hurts? These are all things we clearly don’t want to do yet we do them anyway, even those times when we aren’t particularly articulate or when we know that what we say makes no difference. Nonetheless I know that I feel better for having spoken up and I hope you do to.
Silence. Peace. Centeredness. Integration. We arrive at them when we fully accept who and what we are. We arrive at them with work and discipline, with failure and carrying on. We arrive at them as bi folk when we understand and accept that bisexuality is beautiful thing. In fact I tend to see bisexuality itself as a form of integration, a way to unite and express all the ways we can love our fellow human beings. For this, I feel gratitude.