Beautiful yogi souls.
Oh how I’ve missed you.
Missed seeing your bright shining smiles week to week.
Up and at ‘em every Monday at the crack of dawn.
I miss your warm greetings as you walked into the room one by one.
Picking up your mats at one corner of the room and ceremoniously unrolling them on your ‘spot’ in the room.
Sometimes you doubled them up as if to get double out of your practice that day.
How you arrived so gracefully.
So alive, ready, and so eager to practice.
How you connected with your fellow yogis.
Proudly handed me your your writing assignments as if you had waited all week to present them.
Beautiful yogis, perhaps the most beautiful I have ever encountered.
And so it began, we arrive don the mat together.
A renewed opportunity to return to ourselves once again, welcoming our bodies, minds, and hearts home.
I could see those lines upon your brow melt away with each breath.
Chest rising and falling.
Ringing the singing bowl we brought our voices together in one resounding OM.
Setting our intentions to dig our heals into the earth, root down, free flow, and just let go.
You made requests for Tupac and Biggie to set us in our flow.
I love how you always dug DJ Drez.
And how you would drop to your mat and free flowed to his reggae beats.
Showing up so fully, hearts opened, guards disappeared, the cell bars and barbed wire fell away.
And in this moment, in this sacred space, you, me, we were totally and completely free.
Thank you for continually inspiring me.
Pushing me to deeper knowing.
Showing up despite all odds with such tenacity and grace.
You showed up even when the officers took away your blankets in the midst of winter and you shivered all night.
You showed up even when for some reason you weren’t allowed to go to chow for 3 meals in a row and you were starving.
You showed up even when one of your classmates talked ‘shit’ to you on the way in.
You showed up even when you had the worst tooth ache in the world.
You showed up on the first day after learning that you are serving a double life sentence.
You showed up even after receiving a Dear John letter from your sweetie letting you know she was now with someone else.
You showed up even when your cellie was wildly psychotic and kept you awake all night.
You showed up even when you heard news that your terminally ill father passed away the day before.
You showed up even when just a few moments before you witnessed a violent fight and blood shed.
You have indefinitely redefined what it means to ‘show up’.
You cast light in the dark parts of this institution, community, and most of all in you and in me.
I am grateful to have known you, practiced with you, laughed with you, sweat with you, cried with you, roared like lions with you, squealed with glee into joyful happy babies with you.
Because you of my life is profoundly richer.
Thank you, to the yogis of San Quentin for all that you have taught me.
The sounds of your sweet voices will forever reverberate in my heart.
I will never forget you.
With love and gratitude,