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In 2006, Rodney and I had the privilege of taking a few classes with Mr. Iyengar. When it came time for Headstand, I informed the yoga master that I didn’t do them — I have a seizure disorder that I always felt was aggravated by Headstands. He told me, in no uncertain terms, to stand on my head now! And I did. I stayed up, and only came down when he said it was time.
By then, the rest of the class had moved on to Supta Virasana (Reclining Hero Pose), and, trying to be a good student, I came down from Headstand and sat right up to join the rest of the class. That’s the point at which he slapped my back and said, “That is your problem, not Headstand: You transition too quickly and mindlessly. I am sure that you do this in your life as well. You never let anything settle in.” Wow, what an acute teaching for a chronic issue!
Yoga students often wonder, “Why do we use Sanskrit terms when learning the poses? Is it important? Do we have to learn it?” I can relate because I once asked similar questions.
“Your mother has been telling me for 65 years that miracles happen. I am now 84 years old, and I believe.” This is what my father said to me yesterday.
My father has been ill for several years. He spent most of the last year bedridden. One day a beautiful calico cat showed up. It was a wild cat. My dad fell in love immediately. It put a light in his eyes that had been dulled by the enormous amount of pain he has been in for years.
Gandhi says that an impotent man is far more dangerous than a violent man. The more that I spend time in this body and in this world, I am starting to get a sense of what he may have been saying. It takes energy to move from fear to love. It takes momentum and courage to change from selfish to selfless. A violent man can re-direct his energy, whereas an impotent man or woman has no energy to re-direct. My mom and dad always told us to mind our own business, but Gandhi says that if you see an act of violence on the street and simply walk on by, that is not non-violence, it is cowardice.
The time has come. I never thought I would ever be a half century old. I thought I would feel different when I got to this phase in my life. I am not sure what I thought it would feel like to be one of the old folks (as I used to call my parents and their friends), but here I am.
“Everything’s amazing. Nobody’s happy.” We heard this line from a comedian named Louis CK. If you get a chance, check out this clip of an appearance he made on Conan O’Brien. It is a wake up call put in a very funny package.
Wow, so much is going on in our world today. Is it hope or fear that we are clinging to? It seems both are so strong at the present time. What we can be sure of is that things are changing at lightening speed, and we need to learn to roll and be flexible because just when you think all of your ducks are in a row, another wave comes along. It would be a pretty boring ride if we knew where all the bumps in the road were. What makes a roller coaster so exciting? It is the not knowing.
Holidays! Uggghhh. How do we navigate this season of so many mixed emotions? What is the key to our sanity when all is so chaotic?