It’s pretty much a basic thing that no matter what’s going on in the world, pandemic or no pandemic, everyone with something to sell wants your attention. If your product is unique, then you’re in luck, you’ll get everyone’s attention — at least for a little while. But if your product is not “unique” and has actually been around for over 5,000 years, you’re going to be in a crowded field.
Hello, Yoga in the modern world.
When the coronavirus pandemic hit last year, extreme changes were demanded of us, including (but not limited to) lockdowns, isolation, and social distancing. It’s been extremely hard but humans are an adaptable species. We’ve made the best of it, and come up with creative ways to continue to connect, learn, and care for each other. Tremendous suffering draws out the best in people.
The Yoga world, like education and many other fields, adapted by shifting online. Where previously you had to travel somewhere for the teachings you were looking for, now it was all at the tips of our fingers, a click away on a glowing, blue screen. Yay.
Honestly, I’ve been (mostly) loving that change.
However, the question hovering in the back of my mind was: if we’ve all got the same knowledge and know the same poses then nobody’s doing nothing new. What’s the point? What’s a Yoga teacher to do?
One possible answer lies in the reason why many start teaching Yoga in the first place: not because it’s a pathway to tremendous wealth and a nice, phat 401K, but because we’ve learned something that has changed us so profoundly that we want to share it with literally everyone.
Sharing doesn’t mean convincing someone to love something like you do, but to give your time, attention, and presence of being to those you are with.
The word WITH first came up in a conversation I had with my friend and tailor Alex Wilcox. He was trying to help me think about what I wanted or how I wanted to be in this new world.
It’s a word that represents, to me, one of the instrumental ideas of Hinduism and Yoga. Don’t take things for granted, but sharpen your intellect to see through the constructed world that we take as real, and spend time WITH our body, WITH our thoughts, WITH our emotions, WITH our potential, in a way that expands our vision and experience of BEING.
Don’t put yourself first, but put yourself in the world with everyone else. WITH is literally the instrumental case. Choose people and communities to spend time with that encourage, support, and inspire our growth and self-unfolding. Be active in your quest, but also understand that we are instruments of a grand play of consciousness, and not the architects of the universe.
For the hippies, to be “with it” meant to be aware. And to be aware is still the name of the game.
The project started in earnest when I got together with editorial and creative director Elliot Aronow. In addition to having a very strong aesthetic point of view that coincidentally almost always overlaps with what I think is cool, he’s also a genuinely good person. Consciousness is important to him, but so is a leopard print sweatshirt. I hired him to help me redo my website, which I’ve called the worst website on the internet. I wanted a reason for people to come back to a new site each month, and the idea of a monthly online magazine where I could share the stuff I love was born. Spoiler alert: it’s not all about Yoga.
This is our debut: Issue 0. We have science, politics, art, peace activism, and a book reminiscence. Plus we made some super fab new t-shirts. This is the new site. We hope you love it.
I wanted to send a super thank you to Mike D for sponsoring WITH Issue 0!
Before we go, Elliot is a great writer, editor, and creative director and I’m thrilled to have him partnering with me. If you like what you see here, you can check out his other work here, or his men’s group here.
He also has a word of welcome, too — read it here!
Publisher + Editor @ WITH