I have been promising myself that I would write about yoga pants for some time now.
First, I must fight the temptation to give a lecture on the difference between yoga and asana. For the sake of not irritating the daylights out of you, I’ll skip it for today.
Short version: Yoga is a lifestyle. Asana is a physical practice. Yoga pants are a marketing device.
You can do asana naked.
You can do asana in pajama pants.
You can do asana in your underwear.
You can do asana on a boat, with a goat, in your coat, across a moat, and so on.
And as for yoga? Yoga has nothing to do with your pants whatsoever.
I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with buying pants to wear while doing asana, just that I think the whole business of “yoga pants” is a bit of a racket.
At the same time, yoga itself is a hard sell because it’s not just weird looking circus poses and lycra pants. And it’s not about having a cute butt or being able to do those cool arm balances.
Yoga sutra 1.2 says Yogash chitta vritti nirodhah.That’s what the image at the top of the page says. Translation: the restraint of the modifications of the mind stuff is yoga. Or in other words, yoga is both the process of and the experience of getting your mind to calm down and just be.
The whole internet 2.0 thing (or whatever-point-oh we’re on now) can sometimes be so much about self-promotion that it makes me sick. When people start using “authentic” as a social media buzzword, I authentically fight the urge to scream and pull people’s hair out. (This is my yoga today: walking that fine line between moral decency and self-righteous obnoxiousness.)
So I’m reading these blog posts about metrics … another buzz word that gives me authentic rage. But then I’m struck by this one phrase: the real reason you did the project in the first place.
I had a little light bulb moment.
The real reason you did the project in the first place … It’s like a magic incantation, I swear. If you put this verbal idea filter over anything in the world, you can get down to the nitty gritty of what it’s all about.
The real reason I became a yoga teacher … is that yoga is the best way I’ve found to create peace in my own life and come to terms with my own flaws, and I believe it’s a powerful tool for bringing peace to other people.
The real reason I wrote my graduate thesis… is that I wanted to get at the mysteries andthe mythologies of modern life.
The real reason I write this blog … is that I enjoy developing these little ideas of mine and putting them out there for the world and that I hope to occasionally inspire someone to see things a little differently.
The real reason I write poetry … is that it makes me happy.
And it’s not a massive divine revelation or anything. Like I said, it’s a little light bulb moment. But it’s a nice one.
Because when I know what my motivation is, I also know what my motivation isn’t.
I did not become a yoga teacher because I believe in the power of skinny women in expensive yoga pants. In fact, I think yoga pants as a concept are simply fucking ridiculous. And I didn’t become a yoga teacher because I wanted to quit cursing, either. So there.
I didn’t write my graduate thesis for the honor of trying to mangle it into some kind of marketable shape.
I don’t write this blog to become famous because if that was my real purpose, I should have given it up years ago. I could’ve accomplished a lot more in that regard by posting naked photos on the internet, but that’s not what I’m here for.
I don’t write poetry to get rich. Because … hahahahaha. Right?
I do not live my life in hopes of getting retweets, likes, upvotes or karma. It’s important to remember that.
Lately, I’ve become really passionate about getting people to meditate. As a yoga teacher, I often have students who just want a workout, and while I know it’s so important to take good care of our bodies, the real purpose in my yoga practice is to create peace, and meditation is an extraordinary tool for doing just that.
This short meditation can be especially beneficial right after a yoga practice or any kind of workout because exercise helps to calm the mind, which allows us to meditate, but you can practice it absolutely any time.
If you’re comfortable with this technique, you can extend the meditation for as long as you like.
I’ve never been the most skilled gardener. I’ve often over- or under- watered plants, picked veggies too soon, and forgotten to pull up weeds. So when my friend at work gave me an orchid for my birthday, I was pleasantly surprised, yet nervous.
Each time the flowers bloom then fall off, I find myself watching the new buds intently and wondering when they’ll open up. I keep a little spray bottle on the counter next to it, and I spray the roots pretty well a couple times a week. I’m always a little bit afraid that the next flower to open up will be the last.
Recently, it fell off the counter, the pot shattered, and the plant had to be relocated to a little coffee mug. Right now, it has two blossoms, but it doesn’t have any new buds on the stems yet. I’m a little worried about it, but I can’t force it to grow. I just keep checking on it and watering it. I’m walking a fine line between doing too little and too much.
So, here we are on a cold, overcast Saturday afternoon — the last day of March. It seems like just yesterday I was making big plans for 2012, and now we’re getting ready to start April. My goals for the year are a lot like that orchid. On one hand, I feel like ALL THE THINGS are about to happen, yet I have to have patience. I can’t force anything to happen. I have to wait.
I’m choosing to meditate my way through it, to be mindful, to focus on my intentions and to act in alignment with them.
Life is a lot like a yoga pose. We think we know what the pose is supposed to look like, yet our bodies don’t automatically go to that place. Instead, we work toward our ideal pose, and many times we make the mistake of thinking that until we get to that perfect pose, we’re not doing yoga. We’re doing … something ugly and awkward, right? But yoga isn’t the perfect pose. Yoga is working toward it, being where we are right now, breathing into it and allowing ourselves to bloom.
Here are a few things I’ve enjoyed lately that I just wanted to share. Have a great weekend!
Bloom is an amazing art installation by Anna Schuleit, which my friend Sara showed me this week. As someone who has struggled with depression and anxiety in the past, I found this installation particularly haunting and yet hopeful.
Reading in Skirts has become one of my favorite blogs lately. It is, in fact, one of the only fashion blogs I like at all. Why? Because the two bloggers involved (Mia and Tia) are AWESOME. They’re totally adorable and smart. They’re apparently best friends who live far away from each other and blog together to stay in touch. They’re also not your typical super model looking bloggers, so a person like me looks at their outfits and goes, “ZOMG you’re so adorable. I should try that!” because it turns out the rest of us get to enjoy our clothes, too.
Dave Romanelli posted this great video about learning to be present in the moment in order to really enjoy life and be more sane.
I have kinda mixed feelings about James Altucher and the advice he gives. He seems to intentionally take controversial stances on things in order to stir up interest, yet he manages to do it in a way that doesn’t make me want to puke. So, he gets props for that. Also for making me think.
Circle of 6 is an app designed to help prevent sexual assault. If you’ve ever desperately wished a friend would call you with an excuse to get out of a sticky social situation, this app is for you. It even includes an option to send out a GPS marker of your location so friends can help you get home safely if you’ve had too much to drink or if your date is being a jerk.
That’s it for me for today. I need to go practice the yoga class I’m teaching tomorrow. If you’re in the Annapolis area, I’d love to see you in class some time. Tomorrow’s 9:30 a.m. vinyasa practice will include some sun salutations, some strength building, and a meditation on my favorite topic — Gratitude! Details about the studio, class schedule and fees are HERE.
Ooh, one last thing! I started this newsletter so I can keep y’all posted on my book projects, teaching schedule, and other special events. You can sign up here. <3
I appreciate the sentiment, but I don’t think it’s exactly accurate.
See, you’re already great. Maybe you just don’t know it, yet.
You’re great for showing up. You’re great for investing the energy in yourself. You’re great for having enough love for yourself that you will show up and do the work. You’re BRAVE. When you look in the mirror, you might see all your shortcomings and failures, but you keep going anyway. You are fully aware of your every flaw, and you may have beaten yourself up a lot, and you may struggle to love yourself sometimes, and yet here you are.
One of the most incredible things about being a yoga teacher is that I get to see students do this work, internal and external. They meet their physical limitations and then have to do the mental work to accept themselves and to kindly ask their bodies to go a little further. I get the extreme honor of seeing them bloom.
Greatness is not in your physical form. It’s not in your career. It’s not in money. It’s in you. All you have to do is show up and shine.