Thinking of Oz
I wasn’t going to make this a “post” but I’ve never gotten so many email replies to a newsletter.
I guess I should say… Happy New Year!
I’m in a rather reflective mood and a little bit down. I know that many of you are on this list because you want some yoga anatomy information. You’ll have to accept my apologies this time around because I don’t have an anatomy article for you. Actually, I have one, but it remains in a word file. You’ll have one next month, I promise.
A friend of mine from London, Ozge Karabiyik, “Oz” passed away on New Years day. A few days earlier while in India, she fainted, hit her head, slipped into a coma and then within a few days slipped away completely.
With this event surrounding my New Year, the thought of sending out a newsletter that spoke of the gross anatomy felt small, simplistic, and perhaps even a bit fake. What about the bigger yoga?
After all, we’re all aspiring yogis and yoginis aren’t we? This tragedy makes me think about a theme that has come up in my life over and over again and how it relates to our yoga practice. The theme is the balance between being a spiritual being and being a human being. In this case the spiritual side of me, knows that Oz has simply changed states or form, not destroyed, not gone just perhaps expressing itself as a different aspect of consciousness, who can really say for sure.
This perspective is certainly comforting. But then there is the human side. I would not call myself a particularly emotional person but I definitely feel the sadness that has come along with Oz’s passing, the thought of my own mortality perhaps and the questions that then arise about my life. How will the spiritual and the human parts of me live out the rest of my life?
I think that Oz’s last gift to me personally was this reflective mood. She has unknowingly reminded me that my spirituality and humanness are of course intertwined. I know that if I come too much from the spiritual side, I lose some of my human quality. I can seem aloof and uncaring; I know this because it’s been reflected back to me more than once. The fact that I feel this sadness might be a good indication that I’m more balanced at the moment.
I feel like our yoga practice reflects this interaction between spirituality and humanness. There is the obvious physical work and rigor, reminding us just how human we are. At the same time this physical work opens up and stimulates thoughts of the spiritual component of who we are as well and reflects back the balance of the two in our lives.
Whenever anyone that we know passes away it can make us reflect and take stock in what we have, what we want, what we don’t want, what is important to us, etc. Oz was young and vivacious and although her life was rather short, from my point of view she lived a full one.
I recall a number of conferences with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois where he would say something to the effect of: “You taking life, taking man’s body, DON’T WASTE!”
Oz didn’t. Her passing has forced me to ask myself how I can be more. More loving toward my wife, more compassionate toward those in need, more giving with my gifts, more fruitful in my endeavors, and generally be a productive spiritual and human being.
Oz always struck me as someone who gave, who shared and offered herself to those around her without really wanting anything in return.
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