Hawah Kasat: Finding Yoga Everywhere
Yoga is all around us — in art, in poetry, in colorful food, in the small moments of magic that make life full of beauty and wonder. For Hawah Kasat, who weaves art and sacred activism and a plethora of healing modalities into his teaching around the world, it’s all about the transformational experience that the container of a yoga practice can provide.
“It’s important to see the mind-body connection,” he says, “because I think our world is spinning out of balance. Our social, economic, and political systems are driven by the head — they require us to move fast.” This is antithetical to the spiritual human experience. Yoga, says Hawah, allows us to connect to the heart; to take time and consider other people before ourselves. It requires patience with our movements, which translates into our lives.
Hawah says that the blending of modalities and the infusion of art and sacred activism to his teaching fosters an opportunity to bring true peace and understanding to the world. “For me, the reason it’s important to connect social justice with mindfulness,” he says for example, “is because it allows us to become whole again. To see past the illusion of separation. It allows us to realize that there’s great opportunity in creativity to bring peace to the world — by realizing that we’re not as different as we think we are.”
To say — some people may discover the universal understanding of yoga through the lens of a “ninja training ground” or poetry (both of which are offerings that Hawah plans to bring to SYF this June), while others may resonate with a more traditional asana practice. However it resonates with someone, Hawah says, it leads to the place of knowing that “our healing journey is one that we do together. It’s not one that we do in a bubble, you know?”
Bringing the Practice Back to Communities
This is all fine and well, of course, for people who are able to experience a transformative weekend at a yoga festival. What about people who for one reason or another are unable to share in that experience? “It’s important to remember that without taking time for ourselves,” says Hawah, “we are not able to actually show up and support others. There is a really deep need to work on our own individual healing, because that’s the only way we can show up to support and heal others.”
He says that spaces like SYF are integral not only for teachers and aspiring teachers for this reason, but for anyone who is just needing to find joy in their life, and to realize that they are not alone. “It can be tough to wake up these days,” he says, “when you see what’s on the news and what’s happening in our communities, and with the isolation of the pandemic. It’s when we’re together and we’re breathing together and we’re laughing together and meditating together — these are the moments that remind us what’s important. And these are the moments that give us the fortitude to go back into our communities and be inspired,” he says.
How Grace Plays a Role
This is part of what grace is for Hawah — but he says that there’s also an element of kindness, generosity, and forgiveness when we discuss the idea of grace. When we operate from a place of grace we are allowing ourselves to go with the flow, resisting the temptation to force something. When we live with grace, he says, “there’s something beautiful beyond our wildest imagination and dreams. In the mystical sense, grace is about opening up to — and being okay with — the unknown. In the ultimate sense, grace requires a deep trust in the world and in the universe.”
Hawah will be sharing spoken word at the opening ceremony for SYF, as well as several other unique offerings. Join him and other luminaries this June 2–5 at stunning Posse Grounds Park. Tickets on sale now!