Column: Freedom to move


Commentary by Sally Bassett

We take for granted the right to even have the freedom to move, to exercise, to dance. You might deplore exercising but at least you have the freedom to do so. When visiting a Palestine Refugee camp in Jordan a few years ago, I was honored to be invited to teach yoga to a group of women in an upstairs private room. The women came in shyly before removing their burka or whatever heavy clothes they could dispose of to have more freedom of movement. There was laughter, giggles, and anticipation as they joyfully waited to try yoga.

Even if you do have your favorite sport, I am here to tell you that there is not any better connection with mind, body and spirit than yoga.  As a former marathon runner, there is nothing like getting on the mat, moving your body and finding space you did not know was there.

Close your eyes for a moment and visualize a time in your past that you truly moved. One vision I have is dancing in a Mexican disco before it opened. The flight crew and I were able to get on the dance floor while the music was being tested and danced our hearts out.

In Islam, dancing in general is forbidden. In Japan, dancing in most venues after midnight is illegal. This law has been around for decades but started to be strictly enforced again in 2012, with regular police raids on nightclubs becoming a common event. In the Nordic countries, a license is required for dancing in a public place. By law, all dancing is arranged; there is no such thing as spontaneous dance.

In the first codification of the practice of yoga by a guy named Patanjali, he wrote the Yoga Sutras—four chapters, 196 verses.  He says it is our God-given right to find Self and joy. Find joy in movement and connect to your own true self. Movement is like meditation in motion. So, move by reaching, stretching, and exploring the sensations.

Until next time…


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