Early in my teaching career, I was talking about the concept of light & dark in a general sense to a group of students. One of my students was very upset by this concept and expressed their belief yoga was only good and happy and peaceful. The thought of yoga being connected to your darkness was something they were not wanting to accept.

It was an awkward teaching moment, but also one that left an impression because of the size of their reaction. They were genuinely surprised and I hated that I was the one who shattered their illusion of yoga, however misguided it was.

Since, I have probably over-corrected and sometimes spend too much time talking about the dark. All in an effort to protect students through a warning.

Maybe I should change the analogy to more of a The Lord of the Rings analogy and instead call the dark, ‘Middle-earth’ so individuals feel less daunted by what I mean. Because really, the dark is all the sh*t that happens along the way. Our moments that are less shiny, potentially devastating but also brought us to where we are today. These are the things that make us interesting and dynamic. The things that separate and connect us all-whether we talk about them or not. Our Middle-earth is broad and contains all our peaks and valleys…and it’s weather.

Our practice cannot be present without all the facets of who we are. To pretend those are not apart of us negates a central part of our humanity. So maybe it’s not the darkness exactly or Middle-earth, maybe its all the grey too.

But what about the light?