Monday, June 11, 2012

Coming Home to Yoga and the Law

I have been back in the United States exactly six months today. That is more than half as long as I was in New Zealand. This past week, however, was the first time I truly felt like I was back at home. It was, once again, where law and yoga mixed for me. It was the annual Association of Family and Conciliation Courts conference. This conference has always been my inspiration in law, but two years ago it became the first place I taught yoga after my teacher training had ended. Teaching yoga there this year was a coming home of sorts - a reminder of why yoga and law are so interconnected in my world.

I have written often about the power of conferences. I cannot say it enough. I love them. I love the energy, the community, the learning, the discussion, and the connections. This year, I talked to people from the United States, Canada, South Africa, Australia, Israel, and New Zealand, and there were people from many other countries with whom I simply failed to engage (there were 1300 people at the conference). I learned about topics as diverse as attachment theory and mediation guidelines. I presented a workshop about my thesis. And I taught yoga.

About the only thing I did not do was sleep . . . but more on that in another post.

Two years ago when I taught yoga at this same conference, I had to teach one day in a suit. I was meeting a judge for breakfast immediately following yoga, and it was the day I was presenting, so I had to look nice. The point I made to everyone there was that yoga can be done anywhere. At the time, that was my symbol of the interconnectedness of yoga and the law in my life. This year, I did not have to be in a suit, but we were on the bottom floor, in the back corner, on the other side of the hotel from the rest of the conference. The first part of the practice was staying calm finding the room, but the rest of the practice was a reminder to me. This year, the interconnectedness was about coming home to who I am, and honestly, the reason this blog exists at all. 

Once we all gathered together, we had a family. We practiced together and then shared the conference.  For me, that is the entire point. Each morning, we set an intention. I offered one for the class each day, and I hope each person set their own as well. The final day’s intention was to open our hearts and take all we had learned over the past few days back to our own communities. It was about taking the home we had created at the conference to the homes in which we live each and every day.

For me, the intentions did not end in the yoga class. They permeated the entire conference. They continue to permeate my reentry into lawyering. For me, this is why I practice yoga in the morning. I have gone to evening classes, and I enjoy them, but rarely, if ever, do I practice on my own in the evenings. The mornings are an opportunity to set an intention for the day and for our lives. They are about coming home to ourselves before setting out for the day.

This conference was a reminder of all of that, a reminder of the power created when yoga and law intersect. Together, they can inspire each other, and together they can help each be reinvented. The inspiration and the rejuvenation of a conference, complete with yoga, cannot be beat.

Yoga at a conference is the moment when, for me, life makes the most sense. I got my legal professional start through AFCC, and I love the organization and the people involved in it. As I mentioned above, it is also the first place I taught yoga. These two aspects of who I am began with AFCC, and coming back to them this year helped me understand that once again. The people in AFCC are friends and colleagues, and their presence and brilliance inspire me daily. This is a moment of gratitude to the people who made this past week possible. Not only were their ideas amazing, but teaching yoga is something I have missed doing. It was great to be back and great to share it. I was reminded how important it is to me.

Thank you for the homecoming AFCC. Until next time . . . 

Where do you go when you need rejuvenation? Does your profession rejuvenate you? How do you incorporate yoga into that process? Is there something missing from your life you know would help bring you home?


© Rebecca Stahl 2012, all rights reserved.

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