This is the moment that launched it–my fascination with mind, body, spirit, and Fandom. Ok, ok, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace haters, I see you and I get it. There will be no Jar Jar Binks yoga poses here. And yeah, the less said about midichlorians, the better. That said, I say there’s still a lot to love here, including this scene–Qui Gon Jinn having an all-out epic light saber duel with Darth Maul. In the middle of it, some fairly absurd laser walls descend to separate them (I know, it’s silly, as Galaxy Quest pointed out… but bear with me.). While young Padawan Obi Wan paces and frets as he watches nearby, the older, wiser Qui Gon takes a different approach. He kneels, he breathes, and he rests, even as Darth Maul is menacing at him a few feet away.
This kept coming back to me. To sit? and rest? in such a moment? But after I started yoga, it made sense. Qui Gon is preparing himself in every way for the challenges ahead. Rather than lose focus and panic, he is gaining a laser focus on making himself ready.
Now, of course, he fails miserably. Sorry, Qui Gon, so it goes.
But it made me realize that’s what yoga can be for me, a moment of reflection in the eye of life’s storm–making for just one more revelation I’ve gotten from stories and sci-fi in particular.
And I know I’m not the only one who attaches a preternatural importance to these shows–other kids had Star Trek quotes wallpapering their rooms, right?
After all, story is at the heart of how we make our way through the world. How now? What next? Why??? are all questions answered by your own personal favorite characters. Maybe your jam is Jesus, in which case, good for you, you’ve got plenty of friends! He taught in stories and became one himself–remember “Love your Neighbor”? He had dozens of takes on that theme, trying to get it into our hard little human heads. Or maybe it’s a bunch of Israelites feeling a Pharaoh across a miraculously parted sea, and you spend time every year eating food that makes you feel a bit like them, standing up to the original antisemite.
But if you’re like me and my nerdy friends, you also find meaning in your “fandoms”-a lovely new word that means a strong community brought together by a rabid fascination with something. Religion isn’t too far off base of a word, either, considering that similarly there are great parts, awful parts, and the occasional heaping dollop of holier-than-thou (new vs. old Star Wars! Fantasy vs. sci fi! Kirk vs. Picard (still? maybe not…).
Fandoms even have their own languages–in both words and in gifs, our very own shorthand for referring to thoughts and emotions. Darmok and Jelad at Tanagra, anyone? Darmok and Jelad… on the ocean? Yeah, I just teared up a little too.
Star Trek was my first story obsession, but since has branched out to Doctor Who, Orphan Black, Star Wars, and more. There are also the musical obsessions (anyone heard of a little show called Hamilton?) and the classic book obsessions (the classics count!). Through these I get charged up, I get angry, I get devastated, I get inspired. Neurons connect and emotions rage and I see the puzzle pieces of life fall just a little bit more into place.
When you add in yoga, it adds that physical element, that razor focus. If story fuels our mind and our heart, then yoga fuels our body, and when we join those together, we may just be ready to tackle–gulp–reality. But maybe not just yet. First, I’d like to take some time examining how yoga and our fandoms can join forces. Ready to cross the streams?