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editor's letter

Kaitlin Quistgaard love is all there is

So why do we often wait for tragedy to show it to each other?

Nothing but yoga could have helped prepare me for this moment. Three days ago, my nephew, Gabe, lost both of his legs in a motorcycle accident. Suddenly, my sister and I are becoming "experts" in amputation surgeries, in trauma, in hospital protocols, in paperwork—and in grief. Our sustenance comes in the form of breathing and gratitude: Miraculously, he has no head or spinal cord injuries.

As tragedies seem to do, this horrific time has already catalyzed our friends and family as well as many total strangers to connect, to offer help and support, and to shower us with love. Even my nephew, profoundly injured as he is, had but two things to say upon regaining consciousness: He is happy to be alive, and he wants us to know how much he loves us and all of his family and friends.

This outpouring of love feels to me like a yogic breath. It is a container in which this dev-astatingly painful moment can be gently held, explored, and eventually, I imagine, dissolved. And as I've become the main contact and therefore a channel through which so many people are expressing their love for my nephew, I've begun to see that love, like the breath, is the very essence of life. It is the life force that connects us; despite its many forms and expressions, it is just one frequency running through us all.

I'm struck by how many people had so much bottled-up love ready to pour out in this moment. I can see that, just as we hold in our breath when we're busy and anxious, so do we hold in our love, too. This experience has shown me we are all eager to share our love, but until something big happens (good or bad), we don't always connect to it or practice extending it to everyone around us. And that is exactly what yoga can teach us to do. It would be the highest form of practice to live from love in every moment, to offer it to everyone, always, and to let it move through us like a breath, rather than to hold it in until some extraneous event or reason or person makes us feel safe enough to send it flowing out.

It is powerful to be in the eye of a love storm, the way my family is in this moment, but how much more awesome it would be ifwe could all share our love without needing a tragedy to connect us to it. My greatest wish in this moment is, of course, for Gabe's good health and recovery But I am also wishing for us all to find a way to live in, and from, a place of love, not as a response to an event or a person, but simply as a way to be. *

My nephew, Gabe, and me, one month before the accident.

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