Hey everyone! Check out my interview with the fabulous Amy Loftus, yoga teacher/musician and friend!
Hey everyone! Check out my interview with the fabulous Amy Loftus, yoga teacher/musician and friend!
NOW THAT YOU HAVE YOUR YOGINI…HOW DO YOU KEEP HER!
Ahhh..the newest NYtimes article is out! Go team Bikram! As I finished the article, Even Smiles Count, However Exacting the Competition I have to wonder what’s next in the yoga world?
Yoga Cage fighting?
I’m not really sure where to begin. I’m also not sure how many more meditative mantra filled sit downs I can induce with my beloved harmonium to deal with a few things that are on my mind.
It’s just cooky out there in the yoga world!
I know everyone who is a “real” yogi from the Westernized world is running off to India to get their “real” enlightenment from some authentic Guru that they heard from a friend of a friend of a friend was the real deal. The salvation to their sufferings.
The skeptic in me still has to ask again, Really? Is it really that much better in India ( a country where a cast system still exists )?
You want a Guru? Give up that trip to India and go visit my new friend Amelia Patterson in downtown L.A.
Amelia donates her time to a human rights law firm. She doesn’t hold a law degree and she certainly doesn’t have a job most would deem fancy. It is, however, unbelievably necessary and way more useful than winning a Yoga Asana Championship or a trip to India to become enlightened.
My friend has the tedious job of preparing the enormous amount of paper work that allows women who have been raped, tortured and abused in their country to become safe and legal in this country. She recently shared a story with me about a 14 year-old child in India who was flogged to death after her 37 year-old cousin raped her. ( Sadly, my friend has thousands of these stories from India, Nigeria, the Congo and too many other countries. )
These abused women go to my friend Amelia for salvation. Their enlightenment would be a life without female circumcision. A life that eliminates flogging when your cousin rapes you. A life without fear.
While many yogis and non-yogi’s are trying to go to places like India for salvation, maybe it’s time we started spending a little less money, less time looking outside ourselves and started doing what yoga and meditation was meant to do.
Look inside. Investigate and eliminate the place where all our poisonous behaviors begin. In the mind.
Don’t get me wrong. The U.S.A certainly has it’s problems too ( and they are way more prevalent than John Friend, the creator of Anusara yoga and his “sexcapades” )! Women, especially the type of women I mentioned above, are sold into sex slavery in this country way too often. But still, I can’t remember the last time I read in the NYtimes or LAtimes, a child being flogged to death in a public arena after being raped in this country. ( I guess, it’s all relative and viscerally horrendous).
The point is, Yoga and meditation can heal the heart, the soul and the body-mind. It can teach us how to put self-power back into lives so we can make better, healthier and less costly choices ( financial and emotional cost).
So, grab your yoga mat. Sit down, close your eyes and start breathing. The answers you seek are inside of you and can only be found there. But in order to do so, you must silence the mind.
I have to give Bikram kudos for creating one of the largest and well known yoga chains in the world. As a businessman he is either a sheer genius or got really lucky. Either way, in this arena he has my utmost respect. Both he and his wife Rajashree come from a background where yoga competitions were the norm…in that idealized, enlightened place called India.
Where Yoga was once perceived by many as a vedic science, an enhancement to one’s life, a way to de-stress…Bikram and Rajashree have changed it into a competitive sport. Yay team Bikram!
Do we really want to walk away from a yoga practice or life with more aches and pains? With a child-like-ego-fueled smile that says “at least I’m a winner of a yoga competition” ?
“I’m exhausted mentally and physically,” McCann said, grinning. “My left toe is numb and I’ve got some kind of back spasm.” He paused before adding, “There’s always something.” FYI…McCann is the winner of the National Yoga Asana Competition.
I’m exhausted too, McCann! Exhausted from all the Yoga B.S. I’ve been reading so much of lately. I’d prefer to read a few more featured NYtimes articles on the heroic actions of Amelia or those like her.
My beloved Jennifer Howell spends her time “enlightening” the lives of children in hospitals who are suffering from fatal or near fatal illnesses. She brings various artistic workshops that include,music, acting, painting, drawing, and so much more to these children in need. Scott Neeson, a former yogi, who traveled to Cambodia for enlightenment. After hiking, wandering and photographing some amazing Buddhas he found his salvation in saving the thousands of children living in the garbage dumps of that country.
These articles would be way more interesting and purposeful then how Yoga has been twisted by a few confused souls. But what do I know? As I said in my Elephantjournal.com article, Yogi Master or Sexual Disaster,
” I’m just another yogi with a laptop and opinion.”
At least I don’t have back spasms, a numb toe and a trophy to show for it. Thankfully, I’ll always have a good sense of humor too( Except when it comes to human rights issues).
Please enjoy my newest article on elephantjournal.com. THE DO’s and DON”S of DATING a YOGINI: HOW TO AVOID A ONE NIGHT YOGINI STAND.
One Yoga Class, Please. Hold The Gimmicks On The Side is my newest article on Elephantjournal.com. Please read below or click on this link! (Same article)
Who knew when I finally took my yoga teacher training so many years ago that in order to keep up with the changing times, I’d also have to become a DJ!? (A career I have no interest or talent in whatsoever.) I’ve been challenged to do yoga floating in the air, suspended by tiny little straps, that from my aviophobic eyes looked as durable as a toddler’s wrist watch. The pressure to become an Olympic level gymnast in the yoga room, like Nadia Comaneci is insane. Especially when I’m an aging 35 year old trying to do the dynamic moves of a professionally trained 10 year old. And now I’m faced with students who want to do…
Are all these trends really necessary on the path to enlightenment?
As a yoga student, I suddenly feel a little old fashioned. I’m all too aware not everyone has the same motivations and goals to practice yoga as I do. I’m beyond thankful to have studios like Dancing Shiva in L.A. or Dharma Yoga Center in N.Y.C., where I can practice the basics of “plain-ol’-yoga,” which focuses on the bare minimum.
Just give me a mat, blanket, cushion and a quiet space—I can practice my asanas, pranayama, mantras and meditation. That makes me one happy yogini!
As a teacher and businesswoman, I certainly like to keep up to date with the ever-increasing yoga trends (whether I like them or not). Continual education is important to both students and myself. It helps to keep my class fresh.
However, repetition of more traditional themes such as, remembering to breathe slowly and deeply, are also important. Repetition helps to bring knowledge out of the mind and into a place of action. Being a teacher is about listening, caring, educating and communicating.At times, it’s also about discernment. With all the yoga variations out there, as teachers, we must consider wants versus needs of our students.
At some point I have to ask myself, “If the Yogini in me aspires to Pantanjali’s Eight-fold path on yoga, where the ultimate goal is Samadhi (a state where you and the universe are one), don’t all these yoga gimmicks and trends just add more distractions?
I saw several concerts this past summer. And you know what? I wasn’t motivated by Anthony Kiedis and The Red Hot Chili Peppers to do a single Warrior 3 during his concert. Also, I never got the urge to practice Nadi Suddhi (alternate nostril breathing) during Janet Jackson’s performance of Rhythm nation. As for yoga competitions…really?
I am by no means a yogi purist in any sense of the word. After being a very strident, ill-suited vegetarian yogini in my younger years, I now happily eat meat, meet friends for drinks and couldn’t recite a passage from the Vedic Scriptures if I tried (Yes, I have tried). I read lots of new-age books, take workshops and give help to people as often as I can, while also relishing my fiery imperfections. I love meditation, pranayama, asana and kirtan. I think the Yamas and Niyamas are an inspirational “schnizzle,” I may never fully embody. I am always happy to try some new version of yoga in the market…
Call me old-fashioned, but I was never the yogi who wore labia-level shorts and a bathing top in the classroom either. For me, yoga is a look into my mind. I like to discover what habits I’ve developed over the years. The goal is to apply brakes to the habits that act to only increase suffering. Finding a trend filled yoga practice is a great place to start. But, as time goes on, try to stay open to exploring your inside world. After all, an unhealthy mind truly is the root of all our suffering and the one element we can learn to have control over (excluding those who suffer from mental illness).
What is my goal? Besides external motivations like six-pack-abs, a yoga butt and flexible hamstrings (all of which will deteriorate for every yogic and non yogic human being on the planet as we age), what quality of mind am I developing? Start asking yourself how deep can I surrender into these asanas rather than wondering how many more things can I add to my practice.
I wonder what the ancient yoga Guru, Krishnamacharya, who taught all the yoga greats like B.K.S. Iyengar, Pattabi Jois and his first Westerner Indra Devi, the foundations of the yoga most of us practice today, would think of these ever-expanding Westernized versions of yoga?
YOGA BULLY is my newest article On Elephantjournal.com Please have a read and support the column! Enjoy!
AMAZING CERVICAL SPINE ROTATION IN EGG’s NECK! WHAT A YOGI!
CLICK ON LINK TO READ MORE ” Yogi Master or Spiritual Disaster?”
Please check out my latest article, Unlimted Texting and Yoga, on Elephantjournal.com!
LOVE YOUR CELL PHONE. LOVE YOUR YOGA. JUST LOVE THEM SEPERATELY
A comment on the NYtimes articles ” How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body ” and ” Be Wary of the Yoga Master”.
Anything he sees belongs to him. And when I don’t pay enough attention to him he walks around the house and howls! I spent many years in vain trying to get my now 17 year old Tigger off my new blankets, duvets, furniture and computers. Even now we still duke it out over the massage chair I bought last year. It seems that whenever I want to use it, he curled up on the chair in what looks like a yoga posture. He really knows how to maximize his cuteness!
I got really lucky when I adopted my cat( and his deceased brother Jasper) from North Shore Animal leagueso long ago. He doesn’t bite or scratch and he’s never ruined a single item in my home. He loves people and he loves to be touched. Give my boy a good foot massage (Yes, I have the video), some tummy love, food of any kind and he’s your best friend. Outside of his co-dependent relationship with me when he eats his meals, he truly is the best cat.
Age has brought on the beginning stages of renal failure and I have to give my cat weekly I.V. At first I was so stressed out about the diagnosis. Outside of my brother and father, he’s been my longest standing male counterpart! When the vet informed me I’d have to give him weekly I.V fluids; I was devastated. I’d have to stick my cat with a sharp needle 2-3 times a week for the rest of his life. OUCH!
Despite my vet’s sound reasoning, I was terrified I was going to hurt Tigger. But after a few tries, a lot of yoga and meditation( plus some mild freak outs from both of us) we finally got the hang of it. We both got over our fears!
Now Tigger spends his time well hydrated and of course using my yoga mat for his post chow Savasana!
I wonder if its possible to maintain a “yogic” state of mind after you leave your yoga class and enter the chaotic, war zone like parking garage to retrieve your car? Sometimes it’s as if the meditative class never happened. Every part of you is tested by motorists who seemingly want to ruin your inner bliss. The parking garage is filled with people who are rushing to their next appointment, heading to the their favorite yoga class, or are simply fueled by low blood sugar infused hunger pangs. Your patience and tolerance will be tested by the lack of consciousness around you. And no, the person chatting on their cell phone while you patiently wait to pull your car in or out, hasn’t any idea you exist. It’s not personal, it’s asmita, your ego.
You’ve just gotten your zen on and you’re faced with ignorant people in the parking lot all on their own mission and it doesn’t involve you. Don’t fret. Awareness of your asmita is the first step to taming the insatiable beast. Try to remember just two hours earlier you happily and willingly pulled into this parking lot so you could attend your favorite yoga class. This move enabled you to not get a parking ticket or run out of time on your meter which made you a very happy yogi…until now.
Should you stay angry and annoyed, honk your horn, wave your fist and get into an argument? That could be entertaining for the rest of us, but probably not the best idea. Should you kindly remind the unaware motorist that there are others in the parking lot with a life ambitions too? Sarcasm and education are my personal favorites, but someone who doesn’t know you could take that the wrong way. Or maybe it’s time to turn on a Krishna Das song on our ipod and chant your indecisiveness and reactivity away with some groovy Kirtan. All I can say is don’t worry.