Don't think for a second that yoga instructors are some ethereal form of human. We are just regular people engaging in regular people behavior. The yoga industry is booming here in the Yoga Mecca we know and love as Los Angeles. Warning: Yoga instructor (Me) is about to get judgemental, but only for a few paragraphs.
A surplus of yoga instructors pervades our tinsel-town, many of which have no business teaching and molding bodies in the first place. If you add up all these variable you get something very "unyogic" : COMPETITION. Competition is good just like Darwin said because it eliminates the weak and the talentless from the strong and talented. We are not all created equal in all respects. Some people are better than others at certain things. A yoga instructor who relies only their yoga teacher-training education program and their passion for could be a good instructor. However, when a lifetime dedicated to training for a career in professional dance, athletics, sportsmedicine, etc... is coupled with a yoga teacher-training education program the end result is a first-class instructor! Any regular Joe can sign up for yoga teacher-training courses, pay the money, and take the classes. It's not rocket science. What is a science is having a solid understanding of how to apply movement principles into action, and who better to teach these principles than people who move FOR A LIVING! I call these people, myself included, Movement Specialists.
Friday, 30 March 2012
It's Friday and you've got major plans for a night out on the town with your friends. Your cell phone blows up with texts and Facebook notifications from friends trying to coordinate logistics. You indulge your ego a bit and think, "Yea, I'm pretty cool." How can you not meet Mr. or Mrs. Right looking this smooth? With the logistics taken care of and that scandalously short dress clinging onto your slim physique for its dear life, your single self is ready to mingle.
Sound familiar? It should if you are one of the many twenty-somethings and even thirty-somethings in this day and age of extended adolescence and delayed marriage. Most people don't realize the irony of "city life." More often than not, the landscape of bustling metropolises like Los Angeles or New York can make one feel irrelevant and disposable. Expectations are to blame. We are taught to aim high. Hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Subconsciously these clichés do more harm than good. Expectations dictate our careers, our relationships and our self-image. Indeed, expectations shape our perception of reality. It's incredibly difficult to loosen the grip on how attached we become to our expectations.
Thursday, 21 July 2011
Uncertain socioeconomic times leave many struggling to stay afloat. No jobs, no discretionary income and no apparent light at the end of the tunnel. What do you do? Where do you turn? Yoga? Dance? Being outdoors? Yes, yes, and yes. It’s remarkable to see how during such a rigorous economic downturn there are still people out and about everywhere I turn. Cafes bustle with hungry crowds of casually dressed people. I see people walking at a leisurely pace shopping and lunching. Afternoon yoga classes are more crowded and even Runyon Canyon is more packed than usual. Normally I wouldn’t think twice; however this type of suspicious activity caught my attention because it occurs during prime afternoon work hours on a Monday or a Tuesday or a Wednesday or a Thursday! What the heck is going on here?
I stopped to think about this one. Luckily, thinking comes easily to me. Either people aren’t working at all or they are working less and at a much slower pace. How European. If less people are working full time, that means they have more time to do other things. This is precisely what is happening. Summer time in LA is always busy, but I don’t remember the last time I’ve seen it this busy during the workweek. Did I not get the memo or something, because apparently the overworked, overstressed, underpaid and now the underemployed decided to just say “Oh screw it!” The majority opinion changed drastically from “work hard, save your earnings” to “enjoy what you have today, ‘cuz that might be all you get.” I look at this situation as a resting period; it’s hibernation of America’s workforce. People need rest. They need entertainment. They need something positive in their lives amidst all this chaos. Now that there is more time during their day, people are more willing to dip into their savings to enjoy their hobbies. The overworked are stocking up on their well deserved rest. So when we do experience the big economic boom we’ve all been waiting for, we are refreshed and ready. There is something to this philosophy. America is a country where you work hard for what you earn, but these days it doesn’t matter so much how hard you work or how hard you try because ultimately keeping your head above water is for all intents and purposes impossible.
Could these distressful economic times teach us a valuable lesson, a lesson that Europe already learned long ago? When the future is uncertain, what are you left with but the present moment? Yesterday is history. The moment has passed. Tomorrow is a mystery and isn’t promised. The only option available is to make the most of the present situation and that isn’t necessarily such a bad thing after all.
Saturday, 16 July 2011
Life’s ironies happen at places like sample sales. Last Saturday I was at a sample sale for ALO, a trendy yoga apparel/active wear line. As I concluded my two and a half hour frenzied shopping stint I walked toward the check-out table and paused as I took a moment to look around the warehouse. Anxiety-ridden shoppers diligently directing their attention to picking out the best articles of yoga gear they could get their hands on. Picked over and thrashed merchandise, a common symptom of sample sales, didn’t deter these fashion frugal yogis one bit. I chucked (on the inside of course) at the absurdity of what I was witnessing. All these people, who supposedly practice yoga, were behaving as if this sale was the Last Supper of high-end yoga apparel. Okay, okay, I hear you! 70% below retail price is a total steal when you are talking about ALO gear; yet it’s hilarious to see shoppers, including myself, become so intent on finding the best deal possible on a sports bra! I’m fairly certain that the concept of Survival of the Fittest (at a sample sale) isn’t a credo taught at your local yoga studio. I wonder… were any other ALO shoppers aware of yoga’s core principals in the first place, and if so were they as amused as I was at the paradox happening around them?
Yamas, the first limb of Patanjali’s Eight-Limbed Yogic Path helped slightly to reconcile what I saw on Saturday at this sale. Yamas dictate how we interact with the physical world. More specifically, yamas pertain to attitudes and behaviors to abstain from becuase of an inherent understanding that these attitudes and behaviors do not serve us nor do they serve those around us. If you feel confident about how you look in your new booty hugger pants during yoga class, then there’s a good chance you will enjoy your yoga practice more and practice with greater consistency. However, it’s also possible to exercise aparigraha (non-greed) and take only what’s necessary amidst a manifold of disheveled piles of clothing (even if it’s ridiculously discounted). After all, what kind of yogi wants to admit to being a hoarder of brightly colored stretchy leggings?
Tuesday, 21 June 2011
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE WINNER OF THE COSTANZA YOGA CHALLANGE!
"Whenever I am upset at work and think that i have a hard job, or don't get paid enough, I think about the fact that at least I have a job! I have health insurance, a way to pay my rent and feed myself... I remind myself that i'm actually LUCKY and it usually puts me back into a good place emotionally :) little daily reminders to myself that life is GOOD and I appreciate it."
Saturday, 04 June 2011
It’s absurd how people can change moods so quickly in this city. I enter the yoga studio this morning already sensing an elevation in my mood. Is it the faint smell of incense and colorful plethora of eco-friendly yoga apparel that triggers a shift in mood? Or maybe it’s the hardwood floors, dim lighting and soft spoken voices? Whatever it is, I find a seat on a pillow cushion in the lobby and quietly observe the cheerful like-minded yogis gathering in anticipation of the previous class to conclude. I must’ve sat there for a good ten minutes, just watching, observing and feeling quite content. The juices in my brain swish around as if to coalesce into thoughts I entertain only momentarily. As though I were stringing together a pearl bracelet, my thoughts ebbed and flowed effortlessly into one another until this brilliant post arose: How can there be so many bitter assholes out there on the roads in Los Angeles proper at any given time and yet how can there be so many relaxed, friendly compassionate like-minded people under one roof at this one moment in time? The thought was so provoking that the elegant intricacy with which my thoughts were being strung together ceased immediately. Holy shit! Is this soft-faced older gentleman graciously smiling at me as he allows me to pass first into the yoga studio the same asshole I was honking at earlier on Main Street?! Oh man…guilt first, then embarrassment wash over me as I forcefully smile at this man and walk through the doors of the studio. Sometimes, it takes a moment to realize that those very pinheads who grind your gears out there on L.A.’s roads might end up flashing you a genuine smile within a temple of yoga near you.
Friday, 29 October 2010
I was in the middle of a hard-core sweaty vinyasa class a few months ago with one of the most popular instructors in Los Angeles when I noticed a funky smell emanating from the neighbor to my right. Awwwwwww, the guy next to me clearly let one rip. It must have been one of those silent but deadly (SBD) types. I thought to myself, “Ok, it happens sometimes.” A little more than halfway through the class I notice a similar smell that could only be a SBD ball of fumes infiltrating into my yoga mat air space from the same neighbor to the right. I thought to myself “Dude, come on, you’re a yogi! Practice some bramacharya!” I tried to move over to the very left region of my yoga mat and breathe to my left until the horrific smell passed….it ain’t easy to get a whiff of fresh air when there’s another 60 yogis practicing in there with you. As the instructor led the class through the cool down I felt my body melting in anticipation of savasana. As we were doing the final poses I once again detected that unmistakable scent from the yogi to my right. I was about to say something to the guy but decided against it. Needless to say, my savasana was contaminated with gaseous fumes resulting somebody’s 2pm lunch.
Friday, 24 September 2010