Lift As You Climb: SAAPYA Responds to Prachi’s Piece in Jadaliyya

South Asian American Perspectives on Yoga in America (SAAPYA)

Lift As We Climb, by Roopa Singh

There is a tidal pull towards judgement, a deep social fear of sitting with not knowing.  South Asian Art and Perspectives on Yoga and America (SAAPYA) is an emerging platform for narrative around race, access and yoga.  SAAPYA is so new we have only one public event, a few articles, and a skeletal web presence under our belt.  Happily, we are embarking on a series of forums as part of our national tour this spring, called: Lift As We Climb.  Perhaps it is because we are so new and groundbreaking, that people, of all backgrounds, have expressed deep judgement of SAAPYA.  Potential allies have jumped towards a reductive stance on SAAPYA, critiques which centralize around the suspicion that we are a platform for hate.  It is challenging to be aimed at, but par for the course, and SAAPYA is glad that folks are…

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Unrig society

There may be nothing to figure out. Society is rigged and I am just a cog. I should surrender now.

I could be an artist who comments on society’s fowls but I wasn’t born with a natural gift and don’t have the luxury invest in one. It’s too late for me.

Years of slaving away for the man at a I sorta like are ahead of me. Meanwhile I can stare at Instagram pics and read articles about people who made it. Feel a tinge of jealousy that their life is much more exciting, while I try to find the small victories in mine and try not to get too lost in my passions.

Listen to everyone awe at someone else who made it. Even the middle aged ones are making a come back in finding their dreams.

Now I do yoga to relax and stretch. That and I listen to spiritual and self help videos about abundant wealth and the law of attraction. I couple this with my digest of how the system is jacked up to inspire me on my journey to a get rich scheme.

I also think about marrying someone rich.

What if I could just invest in my skills and get rich by working hard? Which is the right one? If there were a way, I would be praying to a god too. Praying to a god is for the birds. If not, then why am I so depressed and they aren’t?

Each of us has a unique composition, but does it mean we all have unique purposes? Well if we all were made equal we’d all discover our talents and have a decent life. Maybe I should stop dreaming, questioning and desiring that which doesn’t exist. Only some people make big differences and the rest of is just make each other happy.

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Missed Connection: Fire Restaurant, Shaker Heights

To the man who bought me the Macallan 18 shot without a word, who left no name at the bar, you have stolen my heart. It was classy. So classy that you jumpstarted my night with friends, and your move dropped a blanket of silence on us. A moment of silence for the Batman who smoothly inserted an extra $30 on his check to put a smile on my face.

You were unassuming. You were having a steak. I asked you to move your knee aside so I could hang my purse on the hooks. I started talking to my friend Jessica about religion. You started to leave. I wanted to make eye contact – the way strangers who acknowledge kinship say I see you; thanks for sharing oxygen with me – but you left, and ten minutes later, the bartender placed a shot in front of me. He said the guy next to me bought it and wanted it delivered after he left.

Flattered. Amused. I was everything. I wanted a chance to say thank you. We asked the bartender for his name. Maybe it’s on the receipt. Maybe we can tell what his name is by his signature. At least we’d have a name to match the face. Nothing. As quietly as you sat having a big ass $80 steak, you left without a trace. A Batman.

I just want to say thank you. You did something strangers don’t do. You made a move that was calculated but humbling. You didn’t have to. You did. You didn’t need the thank you or the polite gestures that come after it. You didn’t need a name associated with your kindness. You just did it. For grace. For love. For living. It breathed you to give.

That, my friend, is the essence of “gift”.

So I want to thank you. I want to let you know that I smiled about it this morning. You left an impression upon me I couldn’t have gotten any other way were it not for your selflessness. I want to hug you. Laugh and smile with you. But I hope you get the satisfaction of knowing that without a doubt, I’m impressed, as we all are, and you just proved to me and my friends that random acts of kindness still exist. We can love harder today. We can smile freely. We can open up ourselves to more joy.

That, my friend, my Asian brother, was a class act. Straight up.


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Greetings – a post for the folks

Hi everyone,

How are you? First off, I apologize for not writing daily as promised. It’s really hard to write everyday just like it’s hard to work out everyday. I just don’t have that much to say. It doesn’t make sense to share when you’re not inspired. It’s been seven months! Can you believe it? I have been through 2.5 seasons, and in the thick of the toughest one yet. I love it. I may complain every other day about how audaciously cold and inconvenient it is, but I’m thankful I can see the 4 seasons in a home with big french-sh windows overlooking an empty cornfield the size of a football field. It’s hella dope. I just gotta say, I’ll only see this once in my life for 365 consecutive days and someone pays me to do it. Holler, I’ll do it!

Nah, but, winter has been alright. Summer was coo. It was too hot sometimes. The mosquitoes went too far. Fall was beautiful but short-lived. The trees really turned all sorts of colors!!! And now winter — white as fuck, gray skies, and icicles on my windows. Man, wtf? I would like to go out and do some snow activities like snow tubing or cross country skiing. We’ll see. I’ll cross that road soon.

I hope things have been going well for you where you are. I started yoga teacher training about 6 months ago. I did it as an exercise to get deeper into my spiritual practice and sort out some personal issues. It’s been the right thing for me so far. I’ve really benefited. When I get back, who will be my students?! YOU!? 😀

Something about Ohio is so special. Like, people are nice and genuine. The towns are small and familial. The outdoors are pristine. The seasons are real. You can’t fake it til you make it here. You just do or you don’t. You are or you aren’t. Man, imagine how good it is for the soul.

At the same time, I miss home. I miss the kids (nieces and nephews), I miss my friends, I miss the California sun, I miss hearing Spanish/Vietnamese/Cantonese/Portugese spoken in the same setting and like hundreds of brown, yellow, black people complexly walking around. Ohio lacks that.

But missing yall is neither here nor there. I’ll be there when it’s the right time. For now, I’m here.

So what have I been doing since I’ve been here, other than trapping mice and throwing them away like a real G?! I also insulate windows with plastic and blow dry them to unsuccessfully keep out the cold and unwanted bugs. I roll my trash can down a long and step gravel driveway once every week or two in sleet, snow, or humidity because I can take out my out trash. Shit sucks and sometimes I want a man just so he could do those things. Ha!

I don’t do much. I got certified to be a Barre (no not alcohol) teacher recently. I started training again in it. I watch a lot of shows like Boardwalk Empire, Scandal and recently, Sons of Anarchy. I tried to pick up reading leisurely again. And of course, I self-practice yoga.

Being here is more of an internal exercise. I sit still, do less, live a simple life, so that I stop trying to be all up in what’s happening. I want to be really simple/silent/isolated for a while. How’s it working out? Some days I want to kick my own butt and yell at myself for being so lame. Other days I think, damn, you’re doing it! And still, there are days when I could be doing a better job of being still, listening to my gut, and living that simpler life for the betterment of my mental state. With every mistake, there is a lesson. I hope I’m improving into the better person I’d like to become.

Dating life. It’s still pretty much non-existent, which is not a bad thing. I enjoy the company I keep. I still really like my space. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll be this way forever. But since forever doesn’t exist, I’ll just let it be. I’m shifting though, energetically, and find myself more available in various ways, more forgiving of myself, more accepting of love’s nuances. Those are good things.

I’m not as organized as I’d like to be in the places that really matter for me. And that’s a huge obstacle. I’m lazy when it comes to managing my finances, organizing my personal data (photos, journals, papers, documents, etc.) and keeping myself accountable. I’d like to work on that. Still find it troubling to call myself out. i think that’s my personal journey and struggle — to really be accountable for what I can handle. Don’t over-commit. At least, if I know there is only one me, I should try and do certain things very well.

I’ve been contemplating important life questions too, like, what is my career path and am I passionate about planning or do I want to leave because it’s too challenging for me? It’s too soon to tell because I have my own demons to face. I have a new career path in mind and just shopping it for now. Really cool to have something new to think about.

Anyhow, that’s pretty much it. If you have instagram, you can follow my life: s0uleternal. If you don’t, then occasional status updates, emails, and/or phone calls will have to suffice. By the way, you can Facetime me now!

Me and the Scholars in DC

Me and my poster at TRB

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Today MP kept it really real with me. I usually don’t know who I am anymore. Since I left LJB and when we met, I forgot who I am. I am a lost soul roaming the earth, looking for a something to satiate the hole in my chest. No one has time to give a near thirty-year-old the space to process all of her injuries. But it’s okay. I chose to do the yoga teacher training so I could restore and taste something familiar from my childhood, a more peaceful and centered me. 

I ebb and flow. That’s the nature of my beast. I check in and check out because my brain gets overloaded and needs time to process subconsciously. I jump to new things to let the older lessons sit. It’s the reason why I’m ahead and behind. Always catching up and falling behind enough so that other people can pass me. I think there’s a socialist learner in me. 

I want to record the thoughts I hear from her while they are still fresh in my head: satya, truthfulness. I messed up when I didn’t tell her about this other training I was doing that conflicted with our training. And I wasn’t careful. I told someone, who told someone, who told her. I’m the one at fault because I didn’t say the truthful thing I needed to say. My words caused suffering. 

When I was a little girl, I’d lie for no reason. I’d make a mistake and lie because I didn’t want to get spanked. Then I got shamed for lying. Then I felt unloved. Then I was labeled secretive. Then I wasn’t trusted. Now I protect myself with lies.

When I was 23, I fell  in love. He was an addict. He would lie. Then he would twist the lie and lie and then somehow I was crazy. Then I watched the lie lie to other people and I was told to keep what I saw to myself. Then I watched the lies reward him. I watched him destroy himself. Then he tried to destroy me. I left but the part of him who lies and the part of me who lies got all tangled up. I don’t know who to tell things to anymore and why. 

I don’t know who to trust. I don’t know whether to trust myself. I have no net underneath me. I just go. At 29, no one loves the damaged girl who can’t help herself. So I help myself everyday. I tell myself it’ll be okay. Then, I hurt people unintentionally and I… feel terrible. Why …

She said I’m not present enough. I cloak myself. I do it to me. 

I saw a white woman trying to empathize with me in a culturally non-appropriate way. I empathized with her effort. 

My mind’s gone a hundred places, including coming clean to my boss about my lies, and the one I admire about my true intentions and needs. I feel alone, wish I could call my mother. But for some reason that never seems like a good idea. Wish I could call anyone in the world to say what I really really need to hear. But I always end up pissing someone off. So here, internet. I am lonely. Hear… me… roar…

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A dolla outta fiteen cents

Who am I but a young ass buck trying to make sense outta whatever is set before me
No sense
No guides
Just me
On the frontier
Blazing my own path
In the way that is me
I will fall ten times
And get up eleven
That’s just the rule
Rise up
And ride
Everything’s given

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