Elemental ChromiumMetal as a music genre is identifiable by its attributes of strength and power. These sounds are performed by humans expressing power and strength as technique in their playing styles. There is nothing overly delicate or fragile, nor soft or forgiving in metal music. This characterization of being carries over to Metal Yoga, where the skeletal framework is aligned to positions, over a short interval of time, inducing structural integrity inherent in the biomechanics of the human body. The repeated alignment creates a memory and awareness that translates into the unlocking of potential power and ultimately empowerment through knowledge that contributes to wisdom.

Beginning a session, which I will call an interval, one may feel inflexible and hardened by the situations of modern life that irritate and wear one down. This beginning state of hardness can be called the Chromium state, a state of physical and mental hardness, a general rigidity. One can move through soft metal states like a Lead state, ending an interval in a state of Mercury, a liquid metal, or ultimately in the Gallium state. Elemental gallium does not occur in free form in nature, but as a brittle, solid, silvery metal it will melt in your hand above about 85 °F. Gallium in this sense is a good metaphor for the scarcely real experience among yoga exercisers and poor meditators with actual spirituality, awareness, and enlightenment. The molecular structures of the hardest metals form lattices that combine to exert stability and strength over the span of their surfaces and interiors, while others can be malleable; the combining of different metals with special attributes to achieve specific results has resulted in the most spectacular and most beautiful metal objects the world has seen.

Chrome Engine

To pick up where we left off in the last entry, we work on advancing out of Chromium. Because the majority of individuals move repetitively and cause muscle injuries that require healing through stretching techniques, it is most important to begin by carefully and slowly stretching from the center outward. At the center for these purposes is the spinal structure, and this muscular center spans the entire length of your trunk to the base of your skull; the spine is your power center. When radiating out from a point with an ever increasing radius, the most minuscule radial motion results in greater distances in circumference. These beginning motions should be small and gentle at first at the spine, but can result in appearances to be greater motions at the extremities which when outstretched will trace greater circumference distances. Because it is also paramount to choose at discretion beginning movements that take the spine into movements within all planes, a variety of movements are available at this stage of stretching and lengthening from the core that will lead to greater strength potential to be unleashed in movements of later states during the interval.

Since the first ten minutes of sitting and breathing covered in the last post is also a time to activate and focus on root chakra energy, the beginning spinal movements serve to move that energy up the spine to energize the rest of the body during the interval. Good spinal choices are Cobra, Lord of the Fishes, Bridge and its variations, Cat/Cow, Sphinx, Alligator, Canoe, even Child’s Pose and Sleeping Baby for initial relaxation, as well as poses that can begin by stretching the hamstrings so tightness of the spine is not exacerbated by the back of the legs. Staff Pose is a good opener to these, sitting as tall as possible and seemingly doing nothing while the tiny muscles around each vertebra are brought to action.

Next I will talk about standing strength poses that use an awakened spine throughout the extremities and our Metal state moves from Chromium to softer metals like Iron, Copper, and Bronze.

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The heat of the summer is finally upon us, and with this we are forced to wear less clothing in public. This is a good opportunity to feel good about your midsection when at the beach or picnicking in your bathing suit. If you’ve been eating properly and exercising regularly week to week as explained in Part I of this entry, your abdominals should look great or be well on their way to looking amazing, a model of health. If this is not the case, you know exactly why and what habits to cut out of your routine. I will begin to introduce some yoga poses and movements that specifically target the abdominals to build strength, stamina, and endurance to the midsection and surrounding areas. I recommend including one or two of these movements into your regular asana practice and putting them in rotation so you can experience all of these movements within a week and start the cycle again. I don’t recommend only doing these movements and no others as you will gain more benefit from engaging the entire body and including these to target the midsection rather than engaging the whole body and excluding these.

I am a big fan of the Side Plank Pose. Others may know this movement as the Iron Cross. The reason this pose is so powerful is that it challenges your balance, your ability to hold up your own weight on one arm at a time, and it targets the external obliques where things like muffin tops can form. It is classified as a basic one arm balance pose, so if you can’t do it, don’t be discouraged and keep trying; each time you revisit the pose, the body will have adapted and it will become easier with subsequent attempts.

Side Plank

Illustrations by Sharon Ellis 

Like most yoga poses that seem difficult at first, holding this position becomes easy when you find the neutral alignment of the spine and legs with the effortless structural support afforded by the arm position against gravity. If you enter this pose without the notion of struggling, you should naturally arrive at a pretty close approximation of how to hold this pose with minimal effort and therefore the least strain on maintaining balance. This exemplifies the simplicity of the pose, yet the difficulty of achieving it. Breathing can be deep in this pose, but this runs the risk of destabilization. Also, the use of abdominal and thoracic musculature in stabilization of this pose makes deep breathing difficult in side plank. By finding the efficiency afforded in neutral alignment from shoulders through spine, hips, and legs, minimum effort can be combined with minimum breathing that is not too shallow in order to provide the muscles with enough oxygen to hold the pose.

Great, but how do you get in and out of the pose? This is a challenge in itself! I recommend starting in a pushup position. Looking at the diagram above, imagine rotating the body so the chest is facing the floor and both arms are now on the ground holding you up. This moment is crucial, because just as the above illustration shows a neutral efficient position with minimal stress in any one specific location, so must the pushup position start in a neutral position where both arms hold up the body and the biomechanics of the skeletal system against gravity essentially hold you up effortlessly. This pushup position is called Plank Pose. So, to get into Side Plank, we momentarily start in Plank.

But what of the feet? This is another crucial point that must be explained or will cause problems. In an ordinary pushup position, your feet are hip-width apart, and this is where we start. Once you are balancing efficiently in Plank Pose with your spine down to your ankles in a straight line, begin to rotate the body to one side while lifting the opposite arm off the ground. Your feet will naturally rotate and your heels will fall to the side while your feet are still apart, and this will help stabilize you as you get fully to one side and lift one arm straight up to the sky. Once you are successfully in Side Plank Pose in an efficiently balancing neutral position, you can place one foot directly over the other as in the illustration. To complete the pose, turn your head in the direction on the lifted arm as shown.

Because I tend to challenge myself further, I like to add motion to the pose by slightly dropping the hips a few inches, carefully stretching the side that faces the floor while slightly contracting the side facing the sky. Then I bring my hips back up to a neutral position and symmetrically lift the hips a few inches, stretching the side that faces the sky, while contracting the side facing the floor. Do this while breathing smoothly and as deeply as balancing will allow. Then, drop into pushup position and balance on the other side, using the arm that was reaching up to hold up your weight, and repeat the hip dropping and lifting movements while breathing smoothly and deeply. You’ll know when you’ve had enough, and when it’s too much you just might fall out of the pose.

Boat Pose

My next favorite pose that sums up much of what yoga asana is all about and is great for targeting the abdominals is called Boat Pose. This one is particularly difficult for me because my legs are quite long in relation to my torso, and those of you with shorter legs and longer torsos may find this pose easier to some degree, so you can push yourself harder and get better results!

To perform Boat Pose, you will have to start by lying flat on your back with your arms at your sides. Breathe in smoothly and deeply for a few breaths while relaxing physically as much as possible and preparing mentally for exerting large amounts of tension for a short time. These two extremes of going from intense relaxation to controlled extreme physical tension is the essence of yoga asana, and swinging back and forth like a pendulum enables you to reach new, previously unexperienced realms of both extremes. Because yoga asana can be so intentionally strenuous and extremely relaxing, done regularly it can restore health and synergy to the human body where it may be lacking through dysfunction, revitalizing and renewing to a state of youthful strength and appearance.

Still lying flat on the ground and ready to exhale, the only place the body should now bend is at the hips. Keeping the spine straight and erect, slowly start to fold in the middle by evenly bringing your torso up off the ground and bringing your legs up at an equivalent angle. In the meantime, keep your arms in front of you and parallel to the ground. Once you are feeling secure in your balance and are aware that you are continuing to breathe without interruption, take this pose to the next level where you will reap all the benefits of abdominal strength and toning: tense up your abdominals as much as you can while making tight fists with your hands, tighten and tense up the muscles in your legs, and keep a steady breath. Become metal, become steel in this pose, and just as you previously relaxed and prepared for extreme tension, breathe and prepare for extreme relaxation as you are putting yourself into the most tense expression of your body in this position. It is not necessary to express any tension in the face, and it is not recommended to create or express extreme tension in the face, so be aware if you do this involuntarily, and learn to separate the two; expressions of extreme tension need not be expressed in the face at any time in any yoga pose, and throughout this focus and concentration you can carry this practice into other aspects of your life. When you’ve had enough, slowly come down evenly and return to the original lying position, and feel the new depths of relaxation you are able to achieve with the next few breaths. Prepare again and repeat, preferably for a total of 3 to 4 repetitions.

Shoulder Stand

Shoulder Stand is another pose that although is not directly targeting your abdominals like these previous poses, it uses the abdominals and back muscles together to stabilize the body in an inverted posture. The reason I am including it in this entry is that it activates the thyroid in the chin lock position and will push your metabolism forward out of a slump so you can burn extra unwanted fat in the body. The illustration below shows an unsupported version of the Shoulder Stand, but to begin doing this pose you will want to support your back with your hands, and therefore your legs can reach higher straight up, lengthening and standing tall while upside-down. Keep in mind that this pose is not called Neck Stand. Because the entire static weight of the body is resting in the muscles that raise, lower, and rotate the scapulae, these muscles need to be strong enough to support that weight, otherwise the cervical spine will be subject to what the shoulders cannot handle. A related pose is Plow Pose, and it has similar chin-lock benefits with added stretching of the spine extensors. Often, I will first attempt Plow Pose before Shoulder Stand, and in that order Shoulder Stand is both a relief and seemingly easier to endure.

To get into this position, you will start by lying flat on the ground on your back, and with an exhale bring your legs up by bending only at the hips. Now that your two halves of your body are at a 90 degree angle, with your arms at your sides slowly lift your pelvis off the floor and begin to bend your arms at your elbows to bring your hands to the small of your back for support. Continue lifting the pelvis until the hips straighten out once more and the only angle now is the one between your neck and torso at the shoulders. Your chin should press firmly against your sternum as you reach high with your feet and support your back tightly by reaching for the thoracic spine in the middle of your back. Breathe smoothly and deeply while pulling in the navel and activating the gluteal muscles. You should begin to feel the heat that this pose generates rather quickly, and before you come down out of the pose you can expect to be covered in sweat.

 There is a very effective isolation exercise called Prone Iso-Ab, in which you are in pushup position but instead of being on your hands, you are on your elbows so you are lower to the ground, creating a lesser angle with the ground and therefore more stress for the abdominals. The yoga asana that resembles this is called Dolphin Plank Pose, and it is essentially the same movement for the same purpose. Above is an illustration showing a similar pose, called Chaturanga Dandasana, creating the lesser angle not by being on the elbows but by remaining on the hands and lowering oneself down to this abdominal stress position. This pose is really just Plank Pose lowered down, and is actually called Four-Limbed Stick Pose, so you are transforming from a plank to a stick. Stay in this pose anywhere from 5 to 20 breaths at a time, finding first minimal effort to maintain the position without weakness. Then, just as in Boat Pose, attempt to ramp up the tension to become stiffer, most like a stick, and petrify yourself while keeping the abdominals in mind before you relax out of the pose momentarily, lie down, and begin a again.
Belly Twist

Finally, the Belly Twist, or Jathara Parivrtti, is a great way to end your abdominal stressor movements to tighten, shape, and tone that midsection. With the body supported by the floor and the main action provided by gravity, breathing method becomes very important to achieve specific effects. By choosing how to direct the breath, either to the abdomen or the thoracic structures as in mula bandha, extraneous muscle tension can be released from the lumbar region or the costovertebral joints. The twist although is in fact for the belly, the lumbar spine does not twist as it is extremely limited in axial rotation (5 degrees total!) A neutral spine must be maintained, meaning without lumbar flexion for example. Lumbar flexion during the rotation would put pressure on the lumbar vertebrae and discs, particularly loading the T11-T12 disc. Furthermore, spine extension would lift the far shoulder off the floor, compressing the brachial plexus, often resulting in a numbness or tingling sensation in the arm.

Belly Twist  Legs ExtendedWhen doing this Belly Twist with legs extended, there is more adduction of the top leg which can lead to more internal rotation, lengthening the iliotibial band, along with good stretches of the gluteus minimus, medius, and maximus, the piriformis, gemelli, and obturator internus.
Although it is true that this is not a complete and definitive list, it is enough to get one started, particularly at an easy level where most need to begin to sculpt and strengthen the midsection, which includes the spine. With the dietary guidelines from the previous post that tell you how to eat and not what to eat, one to two weeks of regular exercise and invigorating yoga moves like these will greatly surprise you, and quite possibly those around you. Spine health and abdominal strength are very important for sustaining life, and in the next few entries I will focus on specific poses not yet mentioned here that do just that.

Hair Metal

September 25, 2011

What’s more Metal than long hair to go with your black jeans, band T-shirts, and guitars and amps or drums? Yes, hair can be a source of power in Metal, and even though these days short-haired rockers are being accepted in all genres of Metal probably because they don’t look good in long hair (too curly, pouffy, frizzy, etc.) or they’ve simply just gone bald, I remember the days when you had the long hair or something just wasn’t quite right (you weren’t really Metal). Let’s face it, if your hair is anything like Justin Timberlake’s and you think you’re in a Metal band, and you may very well be, nobody is going to say anything but we all know it–you just don’t have the look.

Where am I going with all of this? Believe it or not, it goes back to Yoga, stressing not the physical, but the mental. Yoga is a mental discipline that allows you to lead the body with the mind. Through this, there is a spiritual awareness. Yoga brings strength to the practitioner.

In the biblical narrative of Samson and Delilah, Samson inevitably loses his strength after he mistakenly, probably with trust, tells Delilah the secret to his strength. What he didn’t know killed him. He didn’t know that Delilah was hired to win him over and find out exactly that secret. Samson was definitely not a Yoga practitioner.

I am a lot like Samson. My long hair is not the source of my strength. At this point in time, my hair is the longest it has ever been. My hair is exactly as long as I have been practicing Yoga. In that way, my hair defines my yogic experience without having to make it blatantly obvious to anyone. At the time just before I discovered Yoga, I had a haircut known as a Mohawk for three years. At the end of that hairstyle run, I had become deeply aware that those three years marked how fresh and exciting a Mohawk was when I first wore it, and then how ridiculously played out it had become, and I had to eliminate it from my persona. I shaved my head. Samson took the Nazirite vow of dedicating his life to the full-time service of God. One requirement was that his hair never be cut. I vowed to grow my hair as long as it would get. I started learning and experiencing Yoga.

My hair continues to grow. I’ve been told it is beautiful. Women are envious of my hair, its texture, its color, and other things I just don’t understand. I’ve had longish hair since about 20 years ago, and people who haven’t seen me in ten years say I haven’t changed a bit, not knowing I had regular, Non-Metal, short hair for most of that time. I always felt a spiritual awareness and peaceful understanding throughout my life for as long as I can remember. These Metal Yoga days are just a deliberate focal progression of who I was, confident in who I am. Yoga was not something I needed to find to heal me or guide me to the other side out of some crisis. Yoga was there, however, at a time when I decided to heal myself physically out of poor food habits and a high body fat percentage. I already knew how I was going to do what I needed, and Yoga was thankfully an added bonus that I could revel in and experience without any judgement or expectation. I am fully aware of everything that Yoga did for me then, and what it does now.

I attribute my great feats of strength and endurance to Yoga. When I was on a weight loss cycle (I am now on a weight gain cycle) I got down to 150 lbs. I considered this my limit and didn’t want to lose any more weight. My metabolism was running so efficiently, however, that if I worked too many hours and didn’t eat well enough to feed my body with healthy food, I’d end up losing weight. This is what happened when one week one summer I dropped from 155 to 150 lbs. Even so, at this weight I was able to do things like deadlift sets of 15 reps with increasing weights of 135 lbs., 185 lbs., 225 lbs., and finally 275 lbs. The really amazing part was that Yoga gave me this mental acuity of how and why we are all here, and an easily accessible dialogue with what some call the Cosmic Intelligence. Being very strong and therefore making my body physically thrive in every way (and I mean in every way) was just an unexpected extra. Let’s face it, there’s nothing special about lifting heavy things in a gym; lots of people do it all the time, and are better at it than I am. The difference is in what you don’t see.

People tell me all the time that they have found God, or Jesus is in their hearts. What they are actually saying is that they have realized how to be the best person that each of them could be. Religious rituals mean nothing when one makes such a statement. The proof is that if you haven’t had the realization, participating in the rituals of any religion will have no effect on fulfilling your life’s destiny. Samson’s destiny was to deliver Israel from the land of the Philistines. The more he strayed from his destiny, the more suffering he endured because of it, and his ego was the source of it. Delilah was the last harlot that his selfish lust brought him to before he had all sense of self taken from him. This, ironically, was what saved him and his destiny.

Luckily, if Delilah cuts off my hair or even obstructs my Yoga, I won’t be defenseless to my attackers who aim to put my eyes out and bind me with fetters of brass in a prison house. But if she aims to be in direct conflict with my dharma, life will be a detention facility where I will remain powerless, reduced to something I was never meant to be, criticized and demoralized for giving away my secret to the wrong person, the one person I thought I could trust the most. How Metal is that?

Shaucha is one of the Niyamas. It is purification. Purity is the result of purification, or the by-product of the process of purification. A student of Yoga will have to spend some part of the day practicing tapah, which encompasses the yama, the niyama, the asanas, pranayama, and some part of the day in study and observation – kriya yoga.

Observation comes after the studying, observing directly in one’s own life, because knowledge doesn’t become understanding unless verified by personal observation. It is the direct, immediate, intimate contact with the fact that you have with study, therefore a communion with the fact. This is Swadhayaya, both study and observation. Kriya Yoga is the yoga through activity and action together, so kriya yoga includes Tapah and Swadhayaya. The study purifies the brain, cleansing the intellect of all ignorance, of all imbalances, all impurities. After the brain is cleansed through study, the observation purifies.

Now, we can discern from clarity. When what is seen, perceived and communed becomes the substance of your life, then there is no possibility of forgetting, it is no more part of memory. It is a dimension of purity that is incorruptible, undamageable, inaccessible to confusion. When you have clarity you know it because there is no such thing as no longer having clarity at a later time. If you feel this happens, then you never had clarity to begin with.

Vernal Equinox 2010

March 18, 2010

Lucifer, most beautiful conductor of music in all the universe.

We on this planet earth with all of our unique differences have a myriad of things in common. As we approach this year’s vernal equinox for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, a notable change is about to take place on March 20 at 1:32pm like the node of a sine wave whose frequency is one orbit around the sun.
The change of the seasons is a rhythm that we adhere to and is inescapable. Curiously, we have four distinct seasons that when related to the passing of time are like the beats of the time signature of the music of our solar system on one side of the Milky Way Galaxy. Is it a coincidence that the most common and popular time signatures in written music today are divisible by or multiples of four? If our grand musical time signature is 4/4 with one measure lasting a year, we can fit any time signature variations we would like and synchronize with our given larger framework.
As individuals with different rhythms that have begun at the moments of our creation, we are given the opportunity to become aware together and adjust our tempos to accent as one this beat in the symphony that we write and perform. Like an orchestra comprised of every living thing on the planet, our celestial sheet music calls for every instrument to play a note in the key of life.

Yoga Attitude

February 24, 2010

Before we all got brainwashed into thinking we need $75 yoga pants and $45 yoga tops and whatever commercialism that comes with yoga here in the West, old men in gauze diapers were the authority on Yoga thousands of years ago in silent daily practice alone beside their beds at the crack of dawn. Look through leading Yoga

Biological Infinity

publications today and besides the muted, benign, unassuming look of people in casual outfits bordering on Star Trek The Next Generation costumes, the newest infiltrating ads have no problem bringing the dance club into the yoga class. Butt-enhancing, butt-cloaking, high-technology fabric that makes it easier and more comfortable for you to…do Yoga?

Most people would agree that Yoga exudes a lack of attitude. This is wrong. To decide to do anything, let alone follow the principles, philosophy, and methods of Yoga, it takes sureness, conviction, fervor, and an attitude to follow through. Sometimes a lack of attitude can be the attitude. Many people walk around with an attitude problem and don’t even realize it. It doesn’t mean they are bad people, it just means they are not following through with their actions with the most beneficial attitude.

Attitude starts with the Self. Yoga ends with the Self. The two together are like a serpent eating its tail, a symbol for infinity. If the attitude that drives you through yoga is selfless, you arrive at the ideal agreement of a lack of attitude. If you inadvertently put yourself between Yoga and the way you practice Yoga, then there is an attitude problem; you have become your own obstacle and can’t even see it in your way, your lack of attitude becomes your attitude, and chances are that when you leave your yoga class you leave Yoga behind in the class as well.

I will not enhance my butt. I will not cloak my butt. I will not buy “yoga clothes”. I will not wear colors that look like I’m in a Bananarama video. I will do yoga in what I feel most comfortable. I will not let someone else tell me what I can and cannot wear or look like while doing Yoga. Before I do Yoga, I am doing Yoga. When I’m done with Yoga, I am still doing Yoga. I am Yoga.


Your Chakras, Your Music

February 19, 2010

Music is in all of us. We are all musicians. Only in the last 500 years has music become a spectator sport. Before then, music existed as something entire families and communities participated freely in without judgement. When the mathematics of music were uncovered and exploited and rules were placed upon what is and isn’t music, humanity in general started to move toward the consensus of what is considered music now, which is based upon whether you do or don’t follow those rules, whether or not you are good enough to be considered a musician.

Of course, if you have a goal to perform music to a football stadium full of people, it helps if you follow or cleverly circumvent the rules in place that allow that to happen. Apart from this relatively new perspective on validating music, you can still greatly enjoy making music and participate in it, just as humans have since the beginning of its creation.

Music, and sound in general, is waves vibrating the air and all forms of matter around us. Physicists have come to an understanding that all of our known universe is comprised of vibrations. The seven major chakras from top to bottom can be associated with a color spectrum just like that of visible light from violet to red. Notes can be assigned to these chakras, with the note C being the lowest, or root chakra, and each successive note with each higher chakra. There are even notes in between like F# and C# associated with chakras in between. If you have an instrument or can sing these individual notes while envisioning the respective colors and chakras you will be joining two forms of energy with the energy that your body and spirit are capable of radiating, tuning yourself, an instrument with a purpose.

Silence Is A State Of Mind

February 18, 2010

Have you ever heard the phrase, “the silence was deafening”? AUM is the verbal equivalent of the four states of consciousness and their fields of experience. A is the waking consciousness, U is the dream consciousness, M is the dreamless sleep, and the silence around the sacred syllable is the Unmanifest Transcendent. The dance posture of the God Siva may be visualized as the symbolic syllable, also commonly written as Om.

But what is the correct note to voice this syllable? There are musical notes associated with each of the seven main chakras, and our root chakra is associated with the note C. The note middle C is a good reference point for the sound AUM, and there are Om singing bowls specifically tuned for this purpose.

Anthropomorphic idols, like Siva, exist to make the point that the God is within the worshiper. Long sermons are unnecessary among idol-worshipers, and the devotee mimics the god with the same meaning the god has, infused into local custom and the details of life. The whole of life can be made into a support for meditation, and one lives in the midst of a silent sermon all the time. Yoga is the same. One mustn’t think of the asanas as representative of what yoga is. It is better to think of them as a vehicle to the goal and comprising only a small fraction of all that is yoga. When your yoga practice comes to a close and you are introspective and alone with the Self, listening to what is usually being blocked out from your awareness, this is yoga, your state of mind after the asanas have been practiced to help you get there. Yoga is for everyone.


Use What You Already Know

February 12, 2010

Unless you are a newborn baby, your hearing is biased by what you have learned over the years to be your hearing. Your hearing is your brain, combined with your ears picking up vibrations that your brain then interprets. You have learned over the course of your life what sounds are and what they aren’t, alongside a certain grey area of what you believe them to be, leaving more room for constant learning to continue to take place. If you were to ask yourself what sounds you consider pleasing, strengthening, soothing, comforting, etc., you will come up with a list that is pretty unique to you, although there can be an average mean where most people within a similar society with similar upbringing can agree with very similar lists. Thinking globally, this average mean cannot apply. Yoga being a philosophy and method developed in a very specific part of the world during a specific time in the history of man, the music considered traditional to yoga practice will also be just that, traditional. In this modern world accepting the principles of yoga, we have a choice to follow tradition or not, and music is one. If the traditional sounds or lack of sound of yoga will stop someone from experiencing yoga, the principles of meditation concerning the isolation of the senses supercede the choices of external aural stimuli. Use what you know, what your ear-brain has already been trained to interpret as desirable, motivational, inspirational, empowering, calming, soothing, whatever you need to enhance your yoga experience. Only you can say whether a certain sound is beneficial to you or distracting. Even in silence we have a baseline noise floor of the blood pumping past our ears up and down our necks or a ringing that won’t go away. Even silence must be isolated from the senses to still the mind.

The Look of Yoga

February 5, 2010

Let’s face it. Yoga isn’t for everybody. The reasons why are different for each person. A friend of mine states his reason simply by saying, “I don’t do yoga”. In a recent group conversation, this same friend was trying to convince everyone else in the group to do other things that in his mind are confidence-building, motivating, spiritual experiences. People began to reply after some consideration that they didn’t think what he was proposing was “their thing”. Everyone has their thing. Some people jump out of airplanes, drag race, hang-glide, fire walk, scuba dive, climb treacherous mountains. On some level, my friend was equating these kinds of things with yoga. Every time he said he doesn’t “do yoga”, with the conviction of choice, the more I saw he didn’t know what yoga is and doesn’t know what it is that he will not bring himself to do. He may even be surprised to find out he’s been doing yoga all along. I understand what it is he doesn’t do: he doesn’t carry a mat, he doesn’t buy yoga clothes, he doesn’t see himself fitting in with the look of yoga as it has been represented in the United States. Yoga isn’t for everybody. But if some don’t even know what it is, how can they be sure?