Daily Archives: August 3, 2008

Zen and the art of driving

I talk about driving a lot in my class. This isn't something I actually plan to do but something that just comes out when I'm talking about a posture or the space between, the holding, the breathing, the, 'what am I supposed be doing now-ing.'

There's a lot of yoga in driving and for some, a lot of driving in yoga.

Anyway, It's just a reference. I bring a lot of life references onto the mat. I know the mat is a great place to escape reality and the outside world. However, it's my mission to bring mat yoga into the real world and vice versa.

For me, It's important to live yoga always or mostly always, not just for an hour and a half out of the day. To tap into the inside world while I flow on the mat is a great way of observing how my outside world will be when I roll up that mat, head back home, run errands or interact socially with others. How I'll react to certain circumstances in the real world while holding even the simplest of postures on my mat is a great way to learn more about myself.

Every teacher has there thing. Like the dancers in gypsy, 'ya gotta getta gimic..." Ok, not quite like that but for me, I've always WANTED to be the teacher that can teach the most advanced postures or breathing techniques or chanting or tell amazing stories or sermons, if you will. It's in that wanting to be though, that I lose the real quality of my gift as a teacher. It's taken me a while, but I have figured out my style of teaching and although its not for everyone, I know, I teach the class I want to take, one that is physical, grounding, with an appropriate amount of philosophical, philanthropic and meditative rootedness.
My 'style', by the way, was always there without trying. It's very Buddhist, but, what I was looking for was always there within me. It's true. It's always true. Buddha is always right, just like my mother.

So, here's where the driving comes in. I'm on the road a lot. Driving in LA can be the most frustrating and anxiety producing activity there is. It certainly is for me. So as a yogi and a driver, this is my test, to remain balanced, even and calm under some of the most frustrating and somewhat uncontrollable of circumstances.
In my teaching, its important that I bring real world anxiety right there on the mat with us so we can observe, work out or change the way we react to things.
Um, that's not what I paid good money for. I don't want stress in my yoga class, I wanna feel good! I know, me too! Can we find the bliss while we are being challenged on the mat and bring it into the world when we are done? That's what I'm goin' for.
I don't know about you but how many times have you been to a yoga class where you feel amazing and then all of a sudden, someone cuts you off in traffic and your blood begins to boil and that bliss goes out the window with the sound of your car horn. Yup, me too. It happens after a great massage or acupuncture session too and it pisses me off. But alas, you haven't wasted your money or your time because that's what we are here to work out.

We are here on the mat together, working on a special sequence of postures whereas we challenge the body and the mind to be peaceful in the safe haven of the yoga studio and given the tools or the ideas to feel that same bliss whence we are placed in less safe, nowhere near as fun situations in life, like being in line at the post office. Don't get me started.

So, How's that for a yoga class? Not exactly what you'd expect but living yoga is really the test. Anyone can do a funny posture. But its what goes on in the mind in the posture that is the most important thing. Same as life. Anyone can drive on the 405, but its how we deal with one another on the 405 and what is going on within one's mind whilst stuck on the same stretch of the 405 for 15 minutes when you are late for an appointment that is the real yoga.
So, come to my class and expect a challenging workout for the mind and the body.
And look forward to a lot for a lot of stories about driving...and my mother, another source of my frustration and joy.