Friday, February 26, 2010

Don't Stop Believin' (or Breathing).. Whatever.

In one of my yoga classes this week, my teacher said, "Don't stop breathing." It's a perfectly normal thing to say in a yoga class, and I'm sure I've heard it a bazillion times. But for some reason, on this occasion, instead of helping me to focus on my breath and internal heat a song popped into my head. It wasn't Krishna Das.

It was this.

But instead of "Don't Stop Believin'" my head was filled with "Don't Stop Bre-eath-ing." It has been in my head ever since. It's driving me nuts, but at least it reminds me to take a full, deep inhale when I get to the made up chorus.

Does a pop song ever, ummm, pop into your head during yoga? What's the most common culprit?

"Hold on to the feeeeeeling..."

Thursday, February 25, 2010

You Might Be a Spoiled Yogi If ... (Part 2)

6. You would NEVER attend a yoga class at the YMCA or a [insert name of a type of yoga you have an aversion to here] studio.

7. When you're tired of doing a particular pose, you stop the entire class to shout out, "Could I have another pose to work on, please?" (Unless, of course, you have an injury or are physically incapable, then it makes you smart not spoiled.)

8. You judge people based on their diet, yoga clothes, and how accurately they pronounce Sanskrit words.

9. You have more than two yoga mats (I have five!), more yoga clothes than work or weekend wear, or more than 50 percent of your book and magazine collection (and blog feed) are about yoga--but you never really look at it any of it.

10. You write more than one yoga blog ...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

You Might Be a Spoiled Yogi If ...

1.You take your yoga practice for granted, and don't realize how incredibly lucky you are that this practice is a part of your life.

2. You get upset if your teacher gives the student next to you more adjustments than you.

3. You feel personally violated when you hear someone refer to a bolster as a "pillow" or a blanket as a "blankie."

4. You go to a yoga studio every day, and have never really learned how to practice at home.

5. If you get to class and your regular teacher isn't there, you leave immediately. Substitute teachers can NOT be trusted—they might unintentionally awaken your Kundalini or something.

To be continued...

Read Part 2.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Puppy Love

Every spoiled girl needs a spoiled little dog. I'm no exception, of course taking the whole ahimsa, non-harming, thing into account I opted for a rescue mutt instead of a prissy, little purebred dog. This is a picture of my cute little darling, Penny.

Now, to a spoiled Paris Hilton-type, a puppy isn't much more than an accessory. But a spoiled yogi like me sees infinite wisdom in her furry friends. My Penny has amazing yoga poses, of course, but I'm most amazed at how she gets so excited about simple things. For example, any time I go to the freezer to get ice for a drink, she follows me, happily wagging her tail because she knows I'll give her an ice cube to chew on. If only I could get that excited about an ice cube!

Here are a few other little nuggets of wisdom I've seen in my pooch.

-- If someone growls at you, that doesn't necessarily mean they don't want to be friends. Don't make any sudden moments, and be friendly again tomorrow. Growling back will get you nowhere.

-- There is really nothing more important in this life than grass, sunshine, friends, and food. What more can you possibly want?

-- Play! Play! Play! Sleep..... Play! Play! Eat... Play! Play! Play! This is the way to enlightenment.

How do your four-legged friends inspire your yoga?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

My Husband Hogs the Covers (and Other Stupid Complaints That Don't Matter)

Spoiled people are all the same. They spend way too much time complaining about how horrible things in their lives are when—let's face it—their lives seem unbelievably amazing to everyone else. That's why we hate them. And, frankly, that's one of the things that I hate most about myself. I'm a whiner.

Here are a few of some of my common whineys, which is what I will call my pointless complaints from now on, along with an explanation of why they are really REALLY stupid.

1. My Husband Hogs the Covers. I have two counter-points for this one, Self. First of all, you have a bed to sleep in and warm blankets. There are so many people that don't. Second, you have a husband! He actually likes to do dishes and vacuum—and he's pretty cute, too. If you're cold, go get another blanket.

2. I Don't Make Enough Money. Wah, wah, wah! Poor baby can't afford a new $100 pair of yoga pants. You have so many pants, your dresser drawer is overflowing anyway.

3. My Upstairs Neighbors are SO Loud. You have a roof over your head—you're SO lucky! Try earplugs.

4. I've Practiced Yoga for 5 Years and STILL Can't Touch the Soles of My Feet to My Head. Really? This is one of the things that you spend your time worrying about? Nothing magical happens when you master a yoga pose, it's just that much harder to focus your mind in the easier postures because they're not as physically challenging for you anymore. You should be GRATEFUL that you can't touch the soles of your feet your head.

5. It Gets Dark Before I Get Home in the Evenings. Nighttime isn't so bad. It's when you get to rest and relax so you can enjoy the next day.

What's Your Mantra?

I first noticed I was a spoiled yogi when I began paying attention to my inner dialogue. Every time I had a moment to myself—in the shower, my morning commute to work, the moments before I drifted off to sleep at night—I noticed that I kept thinking to myself, "What do you really want?" As in, what do I want in life and in the moment. Do I want a bagel with cream cheese? Do I want a puppy? Do I want more respect at my job? Do I want to pick up and move my life somewhere else?

No matter the answer to my question, I began to realize I was never satisfied. When I got what I "wanted," I was immediately preoccupied with wanting something else. And, quite frankly, my inner dialogue was driving me nuts.

So I changed it in the same way I've been taught to bring my mind back to my breath in meditation. Whenever I notice myself thinking "What do you want?," I stop myself and instead think, "I am content. I am blessed. I am happy."

I still slip back into my samskara, or pattern, a lot, but I think the intention to change it will make an impact over time.

I'm curious. What thoughts pop into your head while you walk to work? Do you have a mantra? What is it?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Spoiled, Bratty, Priviledged Yogi

I haven't paid for yoga in nearly five years. I've studied with most of the best asana and meditation teachers in the world. In fact, amazing teachers came to my office to teach me (for free) every day. All I had to do was walk down the hall, and sometimes I chose not to because I didn't feel like it or because I didn't care for a particular teacher's specialty.

Basically, I'm a spoiled, bratty, privileged yogi.
Isn't that an oxymoron, you may ask? Ummm, yeah!

A few weeks ago, I had an epiphany. As I was walking down the street to my cushy job where people don't even expect me to actually come into the office everyday, I thought to myself:

"Isn't the whole point of a yoga practice to live in the present? If you're a yogi, shouldn't you be content? You should be blissed out and healthy and praising Krishna for all your amazing blessings! What the hell is wrong with you? Wait, nothing is wrong with me, yoga philosophy says I am a spark of the Divine . . . so I'm kind of perfect. But really, I'm a total screwed up mess . . . Or am I?"

I'm human, which is what this blog is all about.

I need to get back to the basics and approach my yoga as the gift I know it is. Each day, I'm going to commit to practice yoga—sometimes alone, sometimes in a studio. I'll meditate (a lot!), I'll and contemplate just what makes me really worthy to be called a spark of the Divine. I'll share with you things that inspire me to keep going even when it seems like everything in my life is conspiring against me. (Yes, I'm spoiled AND dramatic!)

Oh yeah, and I'm going to blog everyday, too. (And tweet! @erodefer AND update my Facebook status!) I'm tired just thinking about it. . . Who wants to run and get me an organic salad and book my massage? No one? Crap! What have I gotten myself into?