I'm not one to look back. I focus forward. I'm on a trajectory, to where (spatially) I know not. Yoga is my cocoon. What I transform into, I have an idea. I go forward with this. I like the metamorphosis. I like shedding. I want to dig deeper into this universe, and that means to burrow deeper into my psyche.
It all came to me in yoga class yesterday. I moved through the postures and it was so exquisite that I was left nearly breathless. In a world that is becoming increasingly difficult, in terms of strife, conflict and ego, I find it peaceful to be able to check all that baggage at the front door of the yoga studio. Yes, it can even happen here in Bahrain.
This place... is such a dichotomy. There is something that weighs heavy on my heart currently: The politics of labor here. The politics of pomp and circumstance. I am white. I have a blue passport. I am privileged. It is apparent every single day here. I don't forget it. I can't forget it. Every public space I enter into here is constantly darkened when a worker addresses me by, "Madam." There are a lot of Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, and Filipino workers here (many more as well, but the most populous). They have to address me this way. It makes me sick. Of the personal relationships I cultivate, it starts by forcing people to see me as simply 'Holly.'
Recently a yoga teacher called me 'madam' and I was shocked. A yoga teacher is sensei. A yoga teacher generates respect and gratitude and a sense of knowledge possessed that a practicing yogini or yogi wishes to attain. I was silently screaming because we are both a product of our host culture, in which we, sometimes robotically fall into our expected personas. I was screaming silently because I take for granted that I can shed that expected persona. A true first-world problem to whine over certainly (and whine I did with red wine afterwords last night).
Another observation of mine includes for the task of adjustments during yoga class and the dilemma of male-female roles in this society. A few weeks ago in class I observed that only the males in class were getting adjustments (from a male instructor). As I was longingly looking at the glorious adjustment taking place on the mat next to me, it obviously showed on my face. My teacher, bless him, looked me straight in the eye and asked if I wanted an adjustment. I know I lit up at that moment.
I don't know how else to describe my thoughts here on the subject. I am grateful to practice yoga here in a traditional environment in a class that is not segregated- as all other yoga classes here are that I've found so far. Why do these issues persist in society? Well it is a rhetorical question because I know the (my) answer. Most all reading this blog know the answer. We all remain silent on it though as it is barely tolerable and approachable subject matter. For reasons I can't exactly share without a lot of painful back-peddling.
My freedom. My freedom to live a life where this isn't an issue is indeed an onus to contemplate over here where matters are more complicated. Maybe, though, I am looking at this from such an ingrained culture-bound angle that I can't see what is actually in front of me?
What do I do with this white privilege that lets me glide in/out of scenes in the Kingdom 'under the radar' so to speak? I'm not complaining. I'm contemplating. I contemplate that as a western female, I 'get away with things here' that many can't pull off. My actions are simply shrugged off as permissible or tolerable because 'I'm not from here.'
Anyway, this is me. January 1st, 2015 2 6:30 am. I'm supposed to be in yoga class right now, but I decided to let the Gin/Tonics from last evening digest a bit more and attend 10 am class instead. Besides, it is chilly here in the Kingdom- 17º C (63F) and the kitties are snuggled inside my blanket purring.
Another year begins and im`ma just keep pondering and penning... namaste