What originally motivated you to do this work and what continues to motivate you? How, if at all, has that motivation changed over time?
What originally motivated me to be in the line of service was a false narrative. It was coming from a conditioned, cultural victim-villain mindset that ‘being in service’ was important because my self-worth was tied to it, and thus my value as a person.
After a lot of therapy, self-study and many life experiences, it wasn’t until I hit my thirties that I realized, service had nothing to do with me. It had everything to do with the other person, animal, and this planet. It was a representation of unconditional love, both for me (boundaries) and for the person/animal/planet that I am in service to.
I love seeing how people are taking yoga into service and therapeutic realms. I am also wary of the pitfalls of hierarchies and assumptions that come with a desire to “help” or “serve.” Those of us who choose to serve must commit ourselves to work deeply on ourselves before and during our service. Could you say something based on your experience about the dangers if you don’t do this inner work?
Inner work has to tackle the ego and the victim-villain mindset, which includes our relationship to implicit biases and degrees of trauma-recovery.
If you are in service, is it because you feel the other person is ‘less than you’ and your purpose is to control the outcome – mentally, physically and emotionally for the other person. Where is their sovereignty in your relationship to be in their service? Have they told you what they need or are you operating from a mindset that you know better about what they need…have you done your research about necessary variables to consider? Obviously, putting the pressure on someone to tell you what they need is to be considered as well, but the point is that the ‘inner work’ is a multi-faceted, layered approach.
It’s not uncommon for the helper to turn out to be a manipulator or enabler.
I’m also constantly inspired by the ever-changing application of yogic practices driven by the needs of students and clients. In what ways is your work an art and a science?
The art is within and throughout the connection with the work and with people. Without that, there is no service. The science is in the strategy and application of that service in a way that maximizes the impact/benefit of that service. At the Yoga Service Council, we are driven by heart and collaborative values. They show up in our resources and work.
Yoga is the practice of self-liberation, which translates out to the collective’s liberation. It is something that can be applied throughout time, to assist and serve in a way that levels-up the world.
For me, service is Spirit, and Spirit is always at the ready.