We yoga teachers know a thing or two on space. You know, all floaty without gravity, stars in the sky kind of space. Like for example on Friday morning that the Space Shuttle Endeavor is scheduled to do a low flyover salute at Ames Research Center. Of course technically it's won't be flying. It'll be riding the backside of it's modified 747 all-american, cowboy style. That's how we roll.
Here's the actual details. Flyover is now scheduled at Moffett sometime between 9-9:30am and Moffett will be open to the public. Riding bikes is probably a better plan and you can register at http://shuttleflyover-eorg.eventbrite.com/.
What would be my favorite yoga pose in outer space you ask? That's easy. Headstand.
It's been a while since we've had a Monday Manifesto, and well, Monday's almost over so let's get to the point. This will do:
Happy Friday everyone. I hope this blog finds you all happy and healthy and living life to the fullest.
I often tell people when they ask what it’s like to own a yoga studio that its everything that you think its going to be plus a lot of work 7 days a week plus folding towels. Everyday usually starts and ends with some form of towel service. The pick up, the drop off, the change to the dryer, the fold… the never-ending cycle of towels that are needed by a yoga studio is something that I didn’t plan for when we dreamed of what it would be like to bring our dream for Yoga Belly to fruition. Today as I am on conference calls I run downstairs to grab a cup of coffee and see a black trash bag full of wet towels on the floor. This means that there was so many sweaty towels that it needed to be broken up into two loads. I don’t hear the washer so I say to myself, they must be ready to put into the dryer. As I clean out the lint trap and then load up the dryer I pick up someone’s bra out of the washer and throw it into the dryer and my thought was, “ Can you wash and dry a sports bra?” and my second thought is, “ Is that a sports bra, it looks like it has a pad in it?” and my third thought is, “ Why would you know that?, Who leaves their bra at a yoga studio and drops it in the laundry basket?” Granted, I get it’s a mistake and someone didn’t mean to leave their bra. There is a mix-mash of underwear, t-shirts and socks that get left at the studio or thrown into the laundry baskets and on a rare occasion someone’s lacy bra, sports bra, underwire support cross your heart kinda thing but I draw the line at taking responsibility of the proper care and maintenance of lady undergarments…this is not what I signed up for. To the lady that gets her sports bra with the push up support that I don’t know what it is….I’m sorry, I think I did a bad thing when I dried it in the dryer but this is your fault…not mine.
All my Love,
I was reading over the weekend and happened on a supposed samurai training method for the mind. The story goes that when a samurai was scared or in despair, they were trained to not say "I am scared" or "I am despaired" but rather to say "there is a person who is scared" or "there is a person who is despaired." This detachment from the emotion allowed the opportunity to step back and evaluate the options for addressing a particular situation. The ego is taken out of the picture and they respond in a manner that is balanced with their deep, internal beliefs. It's a way of watching the world unfold around you and be able to say, "hmmmm, that's interesting." Handy stuff both on and off the mat. It's not a ninja trained by ballerinas, but still.
I had the opportunity this past week to experience much of what makes NASA fascinating as part of accepting an award down at Johnson Space Center in Houston. Not only did I have the opportunity to meet some of the astronauts that made the following video but I was absolutely inspired by the images that they shared. The following video was produced using the images taken on board during their recent stay. Just watching the video reminds me how small we are on this planet and beyond. It reminds me of what's important in this moment and this life. Think big, do big things. Enjoy your practice and I'll be playing this song in class again soon.
My latest Power playlist with this song in it, inspired by my trip is available [for free] on Spotify. http://www.facebook.com/music/playlist/Power/10150496120256635
For as long as I have known William for going on 11 years now whenever we have a party (which have been too many to count considering the amount of parties we have thrown) he likes to give a speech. I could write a novel on some of the more classic speeches that William has given in various forms of sobriety. My favorite being the “Let’s all be playful speech” as he sat on his dermatologist lap and gave a sweet dissertation to cosmetic surgery all of which he couldn’t remember the next day. Not only did he give the speech and command the room to stop speaking and pay attention but he went on for 20 minutes and when someone would interrupt he would stop and stare at them until they finished until all eyes were on him again. He terrorized the party so much that everyone left early by 8:30 and we were alone for the rest of the evening. I still make fun of him for that evening and so do our friends….I indulge him because I love him more than life itself. However, another fun fact about William is that if he doesn’t want to give a speech it defaults to me to give the speech and there is an expectation that I will deliver the people the appropriate “Thank you’s” & “Salutations” that people have come to expect from an A & W Party. It always starts with a pointed question of, “Did you want to say something?” and I have learned over time to just say yes and get it over with rather than having to hear 40 times well…don’t you think that we should say something to everyone….blah blah blah. Yesterday was one of those moments as 3 minutes into the first volleyball game of the day at our Yoga Belly 2nd Anniversary extravaganza I fell diving for the ball and sliced the tip of my big toe open and started to bleed out of the top of my toe. After the amazing TLC from Jen Bulik who didn’t want to look at it or help me out to stop the bleeding. I tried to tell William 3 times that I hurt myself and all he kept saying to me was “ We should do the giveaway...Do you want to say something? Are you going to make a speech?” Band-Aid on said foot and ticket basket in hand I thanked everyone for their time and dedication to Yoga Belly and pulled tickets for the give-away. What exactly did I say? Who knows in that moment. So I want to say to you all what I feel in my heart now.
Thank you to everyone that has been a part of the last 3 years of Yoga Belly. I say 3 years on our 2 year anniversary because we planned for almost a year to get ready for what Yoga Belly would become. We dreamed of a place where like minded people who were interested in living life to the fullest would come together to practice yoga and take their practice to the next level. A community of people that were friendly and knew each other’s names. Where people didn’t just walk in and place their mat down and not speak to anyone but a place where people cared, people took interest and people went to happy afterward when the situation demanded it (which in the case of William and I is about twice a week lol). When William and I speak about Yoga Belly we don’t say “our studio that we own.” We talk about the Yoga Belly family or the community at Yoga Belly. There is so much more going on than just a show brought to the people by the staff. It’s a sanctuary for the troubled, it’s a reprieve from the stresses of work and home, it’s a place to strengthen the body and mind, it’s a home away from home. None of this would be possible if it wasn’t for the people that have taken to this concept and opened their lives to William and I and the dream that we had to share our lives with each and every one of you. The amazing teachers and staff whom we love, the volunteer staff who give their time and care enough to show up week after week and the people who practice and grow on their mats and in their lives before us. It’s so much more than I could have ever hoped to have in my life. I dreamed of a life where William and I could be together travelling through life with the freedom to do the things that we wanted to do but Yoga Belly is helping to expand my vision and want more for my own life than I ever dreamed possible and that would not be possible without each and every one of you that come and help to make the experience a magical, wonderful, amazingly beautiful place to practice and share in each others lives. Thank you for your gift of the last 2 years. Here’s to many more years together on this journey that we call life.
P.S. I had to share the picture of the cake that was amazing and made by my lovely Baker friend Billy. Apparently I was more concerned with making sure everyone had a beer rather than having cake because as most of you left I realized…I forgot to bring out the cake. William was too busy modeling Otelia’s skirt on the balance beam to concern himself with your sugary needs…Thanks again for an amazing day everyone!
Today I dedicated my practice to my cousins Joey, Shelly, Eileen and Gina. It’s a cheesy Facebook post you see every once in a while but today seems appropriate to quote, “ Cousins are usually the first friends we have as children. No one will understand your crazy family like your cousins do even if you haven’t talked too much lately. Share this if you have the best cousins in the world.” Joey, Eileen and Gina are my first cousins and Shelly is Joey’s high school sweetheart that he married and had three kids with. Cousin by marriage…cousin none the less. I can remember going over to our Grandma’s house and all the kids would play in the family room in the back of the house while the adults hung out in the front room playing games and hanging out, doing whatever they did when they hung out. I know in the back of the house it was common to hear 1984 by Van Halen or some kind of rock music playing on Grandma’s giant record player that looked like a giant coffin and you would lift the lid and put on records and listen to music. I can close my eyes and see Gina standing in the corner behind the recliner crying a dramatic sobbing screaming cry and her Mom screaming at her to shut up (the 70’s and 80’s wasn’t the best time for good parenting, there was a lot of spanking and screaming in my family). Everyone had mullets, feathers, tight clothes (not the greatest time for fashion either) and we grew up playing together and hanging out with our wacky family.
Yesterday, Eileen called me to tell me that Joey and Shelly’s daughter Sarah (who is pictured in the post) who has been battling cancer at 19 was sent home from the hospital after the last round of treatments that were unsuccessful to be taken home to be made comfortable by hospice . Joey and Shelly have asked that the family come and visit. I know that they have stood by Sarah while she has been battling for her life. Joey isn’t working and Shelly is working part time and trying to go on disability to continue feeding and sheltering her family that is going through an unimaginable ordeal. I haven’t seen Joey and Shelly since Grandma’s funeral many years ago but today I set out to spend some time with my cousins. There is nothing that I can say to ease their pain. Its awkward to have to see people that you haven’t seen in years and try to catch up in the middle of such a moment. I need to give them money and offer to do what I can to help ease their needs so they can concentrate on what is important in life.
I’m a little in a daze today as I try to practice. My thoughts wander to my cousins. I set an intention to dedicate my practice to my cousins. As I set the intention in my mind I wonder, Is dedicating my practice to them for me or for them? To get my head in the right place to deal with the things that you need to face in life or if there is some cosmic energy being channeled by a mindful intention to the place that it does the most good? Either way I have learned to discipline the mind in my yoga practice and not run from my thoughts or let them torture me. I recognize the thought and release it from my mind as I move through my practice. I work through the details through mindful intention and relieve the nervous emotions I feel in a puddle of sweat on the floor.
Light on tradition, heavy on workout doesn’t mean that the experience is not of any less value to who you are as a person. It doesn’t mean that the lessons aren’t there for you to apply to your life. It just means we are not going to throw it in your face to influence your perception. You take what you need to be the person that you want to be in life.
I want to be the person that you can depend on. I want to be the kind of man that you can turn to when things aren’t going well because my intentions are set in the right way. It takes a certain amount of mental discipline to stay strong in the face of adversity. So I am heading out to spend time with Gina and Eileen before we visit Joey and Shelly. I don’t know Sarah very well but my cousins were there in the beginning and I want to be there for them if needed even though we may not see each other very often.
Life is a gift and the time that you get to spend with the people that you love is what life is really about. I am really appreciative for the time that I have had to share with William and the life that we have created together. Our YB Family and the people that we share our lives with mean so much to us. You will never know the impact that having you in our lives has done to shape our perception and take our journey in a more fulfilling direction.
Much Love to you all. I look forward to seeing you all at the anniversary next Sunday.
I was reading an article in Inc. yesterday where a company paid extra money to its employees to go on vacation and completely unplug (no cell phone, no email, etc.). As in a real vacation. Taking a step back is incredibly important and the company sees value in taking that break. Here's a quote, "These anecdotes and articles paint a picture of a self-reinforcing cycle where we keep ourselves incredibly busy to distract ourselves from gnawing anxieties about life satisfaction, meaning, and purpose." I believe the underlying reason we are so busy is that because these types of gnawing anxieties are scary. We're scared what we might find under the surface and we believe them to be extraordinarily difficult to face.
Just because you practice yoga doesn't mean that you aren't approaching it in a way that makes it just another cog in the wheel of busy-ness either. Yoga can allow you to take a step back and provide the opportunity to self reflection, but you have to be open to it. It can start simply: work to create a safe place within yourself for all thoughts and feelings that come up in and after class. No matter what comes up welcome that with acceptance, patience, and tenderness for yourself. You are already a beautiful person, and that won't change.
Many thanks to everyone that has referred someone over to Yoga Belly. As you can see from the results so far that there is still plenty of opportunity for someone to refer people over and claim the top three prizes for the competition. First Prize being a 25 class pass, Second Prize being an outfit from Lululemon and the Third Prize being a Microdermabrassion treatment from Khuu Dermatology and Dentistry in Mountain View. Its the last full week of the contest coming up and from the looks of things still plenty of time to pull ahead in the contest if you can talk your friends and family into trying Yoga Belly!
Sorry for the radio silence, I have missed you all! I moved to San Francisco in April, life has been nutty, but things are starting to settle down. Just didn't want you to think I had abandoned you/YB/the blog or fallen off the planet. I hope to see you around, happy summer! Rock it, YB style!
Lots of love,