September Challenge Reflection: A letter from Robert Baker

 Robert Baker in India scouting locations for his upcoming documentary The Expat.

Robert Baker in India scouting locations for his upcoming documentary The Expat.

Yoga Bhoga!

I moved to Portland around 4 months ago. I went to a studio in The Pearl for the first month. It was good and sweaty, but I felt that it lacked a level of sophistication and spirit in the teaching that I had had in the past and was hungry for again. The movement at this other studio was more about moving from asana to asana than it was about the asana. The thing about yoga is that asana is the point. I think of it like this. Yoga is the doorway to all of life’s best stuff. Asana (and breath) are kind of like the key in that they unlock the door. The challenge, I suppose, is that we have to go through the door regularly in order to partake of the goodies within. I made my first yoga discovery several years ago while going through the hardest experience of my life. I felt broken and so very alone at the time. The first thing a teacher said which touched me was, “breathe through the pain.” My mind caught the odd sentence and immediately my higher self sent the message to my suffering self that this idea was just as applicable to my heart as it was to my sore muscles. I thought it strange that “exercise” could create a spiritual experience, but as I have quieted my breathing and my mind chatter, I have realized that in some miraculous, mysterious way yoga is healing me on every plane...physical, mental, emotional, intellectual and spiritual.

Honestly, it was a pleasure to go to 41 classes in September. There were times when I was sore, but for me the stakes are too high to allow fatigue to hinder my progress on the path. The stakes are peace, happiness (I’m not talking the silly brand we are told to want, but real contentment) and I hope ultimately liberation. Liberation is a huge topic. It’s gradual and beautiful like a sunrise that takes a few decades. It’s fine with me because I think I can see it happening.

I hope everyone at Yoga Bhoga realizes what gifted teachers are here. They know their craft and they love it effortlessly.

I made a decision after the first yoga class I went to during that brutal time, that yoga will always be in my life. The path is too rich and littered with too many gems to ever leave it. So, thank you Meghan and Krista and Kimi and Anne and Amanda and Sara and all other Bhoga teachers for enriching my life and creating a beautiful place to grow.

Much love, Robert