Sunday, May 31, 2009

It's What We Don't Know...

I was in class this past week and a discussion occurred between two gals. "Amber" noticed "Betty" had a cell phone in class and Amber asked Betty if it was turned off. Betty replied it was on vibrate and that she needed it because of her daughter. Amber insisted that she turn it off or leave it outside of the room or leave it at the front desk and Betty politely said, I need it for my daughter, and it was left at that. Amber wanted the instructor to announce to the whole room that cell phones were strictly forbidden, and the instructor chose not to, I assume, because it really was singling out Betty.

After class, I overheard Amber talking to the instructor about Betty about how Betty really needed to leave the phone out of the room because Amber felt she couldn't concentrate with electronics present. Amber went on to say she didn't want to spend the whole class "just" focusing on her mat to try and tune out the presence of a cell phone or other electronic item.

I must admit, I also have been wondering why Betty needed her cell phone for her daughter. I have contemplated why her daughter had to get a hold of her during class, but figured there must be a reason for it, kids being kids these days or whatever. And I've been in classes where people have had their pagers and I've always assumed they were doctors, nurses, or EMTs on call or something. It's never bothered me and I've been able to move through my practice without giving it too much more thought. Really, isn't that what a person is supposed to do? Look inward during practice and tune out one's surroundings? I heard of a Buddhist mediation instructor who would take his class to the most busy and noisy places he could find to practice; that it is what is going on on the inside that matters, not your surroundings.

But it is also what we don't know that can have a lasting impact.

I later found out that Betty keeps her phone in class because she has a terminally ill special-needs child under the age of 10 and must be readily available in the advent of an emergency. Mealtimes are particularly dicey and the child's caregiver needs to be able to reach Betty at a moments notice. Betty chooses not to broadcast this to the entire class; when confronted she opts to politely but firmly state, "It's for my daughter."

Now one could get into the discussion about HOW this situation was handled or SHOULD have been conducted, but the matter is, events played out as they played out. All I know is I need to work on being more compassionate for those things that I don't know about.

Maybe the grumpy check-out lady at the grocery store had to work a double shift because a co-worker didn't call in. Maybe the cranky woman in line is trying to figure out how to buy groceries AND pay the bills. Maybe the person with the cell phone at the gym is talking to her spouce overseas. I don't know, maybe... maybe... maybe...

Be compasionate in your words, thoughts and deeds.


Monday, May 18, 2009

Shri K. Pattabhi Jois 1915-2009

(image from by GovindaKai)

The founder of the Ashtanga Sequence passed away today. While his physical loss affects uncountable people, the knowledge he passed on touches even more. How fortunate were those who were able to study with Jois, and how even more fortunate those people were able to come and teach the rest of us. An incredible depth of wisdom and knowlege has been passed on.

Linda posted a beautiful memoriam here: Linda's Yoga Journey


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Yoga Statistics

I recently received a catalog from GaiamPRO and on the back there was a little box with some statistics:

72% are female
60% are ages 35+
68% have an annual HH income of $75k+
71% have a college degree or higher
46% reside in a market size of 2 million+

What do you think? Accurate or no?

I think the results are a bit skewed at least from the age category on down. Think about this for a momement. Who's most likely to be online shopping for the newest trend in yoga wear? Women. With money. Who's most likely going to take a survey? A gal, who's online shopping for yoga gear.

Who's most likely going to be able to AFFORD the newest and greatest from Lulumon, Prana, pick-your-name-brand? It generally isn't your average run of the mill college kid or recent grad - it's going to be an established professional.

The guys I know don't worry about the fashion clothes. They go out, find a pair of compression shorts, a pair of sweats or shorts, a t-shirt, and they are good to go. Target, Walmart, the local running store, is where they are shopping, so no, they aren't going to be taking on-line surveys.

So my observation is, is it even be possible to get an accurate survey of who's doing yoga?

Monday, May 4, 2009

You and Your Yoga Mat

Given the current flu outbreak, I thought now would be a good time to touch on keeping your mat clean, especially if you borrow a mat. Personally, I think if you are a regular practitioner, you really should have your own mat. I'm a bit particular about putting MY hands/face on a mat where somebody elses feet have been. A huge Eeewww factor for me.

So, here are some options and suggestions for keeping yourself better protected against this flu outbreak and general mat hygiene in general.

Manduka Yoga Mat

1) Obtain your own mat.
Best option in my opinion. There are so many to choose from and it's really a personal preference. Durability? Try Manduka or Jade. Something not so thick? I've had good luck with Hugger Mugger. Environmentally friendly mat? I'm going to send you here to Eco Yogini's site as she did some great research on this topic.

And don't forget to try They carry most brands and you can save on overall cost and cost of S&H.

Yogitoes Mat Towel

2) Barrier options.
So maybe you don't want to be lugging around a large yoga mat between car and the office and the gym or studio. There are a couple of options available: Yogitoes offers a skidless towel option in a small hand towel size to put at the front of your mat or a large full mat size. It's cotton with small nubblies on the back to help keep it anchored. This is great as a barrier between you and a borrowed mat. This is also great if you sweat a lot on your own mat. Or for travel - folds or rolls up into a nice small size.

Yogitoes can take a bit of getting used to: you may need to dampen the front/back down with a bit of water for traction until you really get sweaty and sometimes your feet have a tendency to "catch" on the towel and you kinda drag it forward. For that you just have to learn to pick up your limbs rather than sliding them across the top.

Best part is IT'S WASHABLE!

Hugger Mugger also offers a lightweight travel mat that is supposed to be thin enough to bundle up into a suitcase.

3) Disinfect!

Again Eco Yogini has done some great research here: Cleaning your Mat.

If your studio or gym doesn't have something out, ask for it! Dirty mats transmit a whole slew of unpleasant bugs. Clean your mat BEFORE and AFTER your session. Really.

And at the risk of sounding like someones Mother, wash your hands before and after practice! A little bit of prevention goes a long way.