August 22, 2017
Yoga, Compassion and Taco Bell
Just the other day I was in between teaching two classes and had a tiny window of time to eat dinner. I went to a local health food store, grabbed food to go, and then sat in my car to eat. In the middle of shoveling rice, mung dhal, and steamed veggies down my throat, I saw a shady looking homeless guy lurking around my car. Living in Santa Monica you get used to homeless people but something about this guy had me on guard. It didn’t help that it was dark, he was yelling gibberish and hitting a wall.
Out of nowhere he spun around and caught me looking at him. For a moment, I was like a deer caught in headlights. He then jumped in front of my car wild eyed and ragged. For a few seconds, we locked into each other’s eyes like two vigilant tigers in the jungle. Unlike being in the jungle I was feeling grateful that I was inside the safety of my car. But the fearful part of my brain reminded me that my doors were unlocked, driver side window was rolled down, so I was PARTIALLY in the jungle.
He then startled me as he angrily blurted out, “WHAT TIME IS IT?!” After taking a couple of seconds to compute his question, I looked down at the clock, and then carefully responded, “It’s 6:50.” His head swung erratically to his left, and then swung erratically back facing me and venomously yelled, “WHAT?! WHAT DID YOU SAY?” It felt like he was testing me. I was partially scared. But my yoga practice kicked in, although some fear was there, greater than that was a feeling of strength and courage. Oddly enough, I felt a deep compassion for this human being in front of me. I couldn’t help but feel all the tremendous pain and suffering this soul must have endured. I felt a loving-awareness flood through me like royal purple dye clouding a vessel of water. Whatever this energy was took over, it tripled the volume of my voice, and with a dignified command repeated, “IT’S 6:50PM.”
In a flash, all the rage and violence of the homeless man had been erased. He transformed from a seething tiger to an innocent tiger cub. For a few moments we both existed together, inseparable, in a mysterious state of wonder. We were two humans, on the same plane and same level, having a weird but magical moment.
A light gleamed from his two eyes, and a smile manifested itself on his face. This then initiated a slight smile on my face (thank you limbic resonance for that one!). In a voice, sweet and pure, this beautiful man said, “Oh, thank you.” After a short pause, like an abandoned child reunited with a long-lost parent, he asked, “Hey, would you like to go to Taco Bell with me?”
To say that I was caught off guard is an understatement. Nobody had even invited me on dinner date to Taco Bell!!! Once I composed myself I said, “Thank you for the offer but I have to go to work.” Maybe if I had been more evolved I would have said yes but the truth was I did have a teaching obligation. We waved goodbye, and as we parted ways I couldn’t help but think how this man was isolated, broken and alone. He just wanted a friend, somebody he could go to share a meal with at Taco Bell. Taco Bell for him, might be like going to The Ritz-Carlton for me or you. How many thousands of people must have looked at him as a disgusting homeless person as opposed to the beautiful soul he is? He just needed somebody to look him deep in the eyes with non-judgement and make a real connection. The loving-awareness and compassion that we gain from our yoga practice has the tremendous power to spin the micro-moments of life from suffering to beauty and joy.
August 4, 2017
Yoga’s Power to Support Us in Life’s Most Difficult Moments
At the end of March I lost my father after a 14 month battle with pancreatic cancer. In some ways we were lucky – we had time to say the important things, space to love each other fully, and the opportunity to spend as much quality time together as possible. We didn’t know how much time we had. We just knew the time we were given was sacred and that each of us would make the most of it. Read more
March 14, 2017
How to Take Your Practice Off the Mat
Yoga enhances your flexibility, strength, balance, mental clarity and more, but the practice is even more fulfilling when those qualities enhance your relationship with yourself and others. In Yoga 30 for 30, you often hear me reference “bringing your practice off the mat and into your life” so, to explore that potential further, here is an exercise to help you radically transform your life. Read more
March 6, 2017
A Date with Destiny
Right after graduating college I started working in the entertainment business in Wilmington, NC. At the time, my home state of North Carolina, was right behind California and New York for the largest activity of film production in the USA. I was a professional actor getting jobs in theater, commercials, industrials and small parts in TV. This now seems like another lifetime! Read more
February 5, 2017
Yoga 30 for 30 and Beyond
Yoga 30 for 30 was inspired by an ongoing influx of requests from students around the world asking for a yoga program that would fit into their busy schedules while supporting the cultivation of a sustainable, daily yoga practice. We recognized the reality of so many people expressing a desire for a daily practice but unable to commit for hours at a time. We felt this call was meaningful and wanted to help support people around the globe in creating a powerful, daily yoga practice, and Read more
February 3, 2017
The Healing Power of Yin
I was in downtown Los Angeles walking to my car after attending a meeting. It was a typical sunny and warm afternoon in southern California. My meeting went well and I was anxious to get to my car and to go get some food. I arrived upon the corner of a busy intersection waiting for the pedestrian light to signal ‘cross.’ Although I was alone on my side there were a couple of other people on the opposite side. One was a business man in a light grey suit and the other was a student jamming out to music. After the cross walk signaled to cross I began to go across the street. Read more