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  • Writer's picture Brian E Pearson

Wild Yoga

Photo by Eneko Uruñuela on Unsplash

There is a new way of being in the world that is actually very old, ancient in fact, primordial. We've just forgotten. We suffer for that, and the world suffers with us.

At some point in our history we, each of us, wherever we're from, were indigenous. We were native to a particular place on the earth, be it the misty moors of Great Britain or the dusty plains of Africa. We grew up in an intimate relationship with the land that was our home. We knew where to find food, we learned the signs of changing weather, we found comfort and shelter.

The natural world was such a powerful presence in our lives, we recognized it as being alive and we felt that we were a part of it. We spoke to rocks and to trees, we made offerings to the sun and moon, and gave thanks for every blessing we received from the Earth. We expected nothing and knew our place among the other creatures, the predators and the prey, the flora and the fauna. We walked humbly.

Then, some would say, in the Neolithic Age, we discovered the power of the seed. Plant it in the ground, water it, nurture it, protect it, and it would reward our efforts with food. That meant we were no longer supplicants to the land; we were ourselves producers. There was no one to thank for the fruit of our efforts but ourselves.

It's an over-simplification, I know. But you can see where it led. We ceased feeling that we were part of the Earth and became, at least in our own minds, its masters. We no longer spoke to the rocks; we split them apart for the metals we needed for weapons to protect the land, which was now "ours." We no longer thanked the trees for their shade; we chopped them down for fuel and for the shelter we fashioned with our own hands.

We live now far removed from that symbiotic relationship with the land and, as a tragic consequence, removed even from our own bodies. We deplete the resources of the Earth as if its diminishment were not also our own, ruling from the detached remoteness of our heads, above it all, aloof. But we are destroying the planet, which is our home, and we are feeling lost and disconnected from our distant roots. We once belonged here.

Rebecca Wildbear, my guest this week in The Mystic Cave, grew up feeling more at home in nature than in the suburban malls of Maryland, where she grew up. Her soulful path led her deeper and deeper into the wilds of the mountains, the forests, and the rivers. She learned to pay attention to her body and developed a practice of keeping it connected to the Earth. She listened to her dreams and realized not only the depths of her own soul but also the call of the Earth itself that was being dreamed through her.

As a wilderness therapist, soul guide, and yoga instructor, Rebecca has helped countless seekers find a new, but very old, way of being in the world. She now shares that wisdom in her new book, Wild Yoga: A Practice of Initiation, Veneration, and Advocacy for the Earth. Through evocative prose, thoughtful reflections, and guided yoga poses, she invites us to reconnect with the Earth, pay attention to our own souls, and discover the unique role we are being asked to play in the healing of our world.

And the hopeful thing is, she's not alone. Many soulful seekers, worldwide, are reclaiming their indigenous connection to the Earth. They are listening to their dreams and thinking with their bodies, and remembering who we once were, and still are ... in our bones.

To listen to our conversation, press the Play button below. The show notes are found by tapping on the Information icon.

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