posted at 1:25 pm
on Apr. 1, 2013
I Miss My Kitty
I’m in Costa Rica, Volunteering
When I was down in L.A. recently, I was staying at the house of friends in Silverlake, and they happened to live at the top of a hill.
At the bottom of that hill, past the hamburger stand with the sign erected in the ‘70s, past the store selling sex toys and kink supplies, past the ramen noodle restaurant and the “corner store” that made 93% of its revenue from selling cheap alcohol, past douche-magnet Mexican restaurant Diablo (actual slogan: Urban Taco Fabricator) , is Urth Yoga.
Urth had a fantastic $39 introductory special for all the yoga you could do for a month. Which I signed up for, and then did yoga every day I was there, doing yoga, in fact, 13 times in 12 days.
I could say this was a transformative experience, that it opened my eyes, changed my life.
But it did calm me, strengthen me, and get me through a few days that I couldn’t have reached the end of without it. By the end of the two weeks, I couldn’t imagine NOT going to class, and I tried classes at 7 a.m., 9 p.m., and every time in between. I tried restorative yoga, flow yoga, hatha yoga, open yoga and basic yoga (which has nothing in common with basic D&D, to my disappointment.)
Sold all his things, basically, too. He was from Canada, lived in L.A. for a bunch of years. Fell into yoga, I think, and now he’s falling out of Los Angeles. I went to several of his last classes—last “open” class, last Thursday class, etc.—and I saw he inspired and healed and educated a lot of students who were damn sad to see him go.
Except they weren’t sad, really; hardly any of them were actually sad. Wistful and not wanting to have to say goodbye, yes, but they were happy to see him head off into a new adventure, into a new place, a new pattern, to see him doing what he wanted to do, to have a dream and make it real.
Maybe by supporting that, by being happy for Stephen, they could feel happy themselves; maybe that joy counteracted their own sadness.
Or maybe Urth has a lot of good yoga instructors and they were going to be just fine. That’s true, too.
But it made me think a lot about who is happy or sad for me—and whether I should be happy or sad for myself.
As a belated Valentine’s gift, Sarah gave me a t-shirt she had custom made. It is a yoga joke she made up and drew herself:
Coincidentally, she does yoga all the time too, and it does wonderful things for her. She even knows the names of all the poses, which I don’t know, other than the one that means “bend over”—and I think they all end in -asana.
Yoga is all around me these days. Laura introduced me to it and it did good things for her, at a time she needed it, and yoga classes were her Christmas present to me. Lululemon’s headquarters are in Vancouver, which is even nicknamed Lotusland.
And yoga is deeply facinating. It’s a personal challenge, a calming influence, a way of keeping fit and gaining flexibility. I wrote about meditation recently because I’ve been doing that in yoga classes, and that reminded of my start.
Yoga is a religion, a philosophy, a culture, an exercise routine and a type of clothing. It’s associated tightly with Vancouver and as I get involved in it, I see the intertwining of Vancouver and yogic thought and actions. But the most telilng thing about yoga for me right now, is this one line from Wikipedia: “Generally put, yoga is a disciplined method utilized for attaining a goal.”
Yoga ties in to big questions I’m interested in right now: two of them, actually. Its philosophy and opportunity for introspection help me have the time and space to ponder these questions.
First of all, and most importantly: Is there something, you know, bigger in the world than what I have been focusing on—not just “does god exist,” or “what is the purpose of life,” but rather holistically, “how should (my, or one’s) existence as a living, thinking, growing person actually work”?
And the second one, if I start to think about that first question, is “What does that mean I should do in practice?”
More on that in the future. For now, I’m going to see if I can touch my toes.
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