Finding Clarity…In Vegas??

When people take trips to Las Vegas, they usually don’t remember most of it. And, if they do, they probably keep it to themselves. Binge drinking, meeting “professional women” on the strip and losing their entire paychecks in one weekend, are things that most people like to keep under wraps. There is a reason why Las Vegas has a slogan, ya know. But, my trips to Las Vegas are very different than most. I’m not too fond of the city itself, but the people I know there, are a different story. I go there to have coffee with friends, reflect, and do yoga.

I don’t need to lose money in Las Vegas. Los Angeles takes advantage of my bank account enough as it is. And, not as quickly.

I’ve come to the realization that the last few times I went to Vegas, was when I am really stressed and needed a “break.”  I did my taxes recently (which was disgusting), work has been stressing me out, and the drama within the Anusara community was confusing for me. And, I had been getting tension headaches because of all of this. So, away I went towards the desert.

I stayed with my friend, Tracie, and her family. She always opens her home up to me and knows why I go out there. She knows that I am there to see her, and she also understands that I’m there to find clarity with whatever I’m dealing with. I spent a lot of time with her over coffee, dinner and just hanging out. I took her and her husband to see the Cirque Du Soleil show, Zumanity, to show my appreciation. It was the least I could have done for them.

 

 

My main purpose of the trip was to get some insight from my teacher about the Anusara controversy. Where I stand, and where she stands.  After talking with her in class and at her house, I begin to realize that no matter what happens with Anusara itself, it shouldn’t affect me or my practice.  Yoga is always about the individual. You make it your own. If my teacher were to resign tomorrow, it would not change anything, nothing at all. No matter what she calls herself (Anusara, Ashtanga, etc.), I’d still be in her classes and follow her anywhere. The same goes for my teacher here in Los Angeles. I’ve already formed bonds with these people, and many with the other students as well. I love the style of yoga, yes. But, I love the people that I’ve met through it, more. It’s the people, and not so much the style, that keeps me coming back. It took many discussions over wine and cheese for me to understand this. But, I finally got it. 

Karen(my teacher) knew I had been struggling with various things recently. So, she got about six people from the Las Vegas kula together for wine, cheese, music and laughs. It was a real treat and just what I needed to cheer me up.  I’m not surprised. Most of my friends know what will cheer me up. I consider them my family. And, that’s what I got out of this trip. No matter what I’m going through, I remember that I have friends who are my family. And, that’s really all I need…to be surrounded by love and like minded people. I’m grateful for each and every one of them.

 

But, after four days of being in the desert, I was looking forward to geting back to Los Angeles. Las Vegas is full off dirt and it dried the crap out of my skin!

 

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The Anusara Drama: A Student’s Point of View

 

 

 

I’m not going to sit here and defend John Friend. Nor, am I going to cheer on the certified teachers who are leaving. I am well aware that there is hypocrisy in all parts of the world, and the Anusara community is no exception. I also realize that people thrive and live vicariously through other people’s misery. Neither one of these are good for anyone, and they are just wrong. And both, are very “Un-yogalike.” The recent events have stirred up tons of emotions for the teachers, questioning John Friend and their own paths with Anusara. I have seen the resignation letters, countless public blog and Facebook posts regarding this controversy. The one thing I haven’t seen are the teachers publicly asking the students, “How are you handling all of this?” Because, it is us, the students, who ARE Anusara. Not the teachers. Without the students, there would be no yoga.

I’ll be the first to admit that when I heard Darren Rhodes, Elena Brower and Amy Ippoliti had resigned, I thought nothing of it. Because, I didn’t know them personally and their resignations had not affected me directly. This morning, my feelings changed when I found out that Noah Maze’ had just left. I had taken workshops from Noah and have interacted with him on several occasions. He screams “amazing” through his personality and his practice. I have mad respect for him and always looked up to him as a stabilizing force in the community. But, when I read his resignation letter, I became deeply saddened. Feelings of confusion and abandonment instantly rushed over me. As I student, I asked myself, “Now what?”

I could always count on the Anusara community for support, but now it feels like it’s being divided rather than coming together.

I started my practice two years ago when I desperately needed it the most. Just like everyone else, I had my own personal issues at that time, such as:

  1. The end of an abusive relationship
  2. The death of my mother
  3. Being laid off from my job
  4. Having to move out of state and short sale my first home

Through each one of these experiences, my Anusara kula was always there for me with love and support, each and every time. This is all I have known and have seen from Anusara. That is, until recent events regarding John Friend and the slew of certified teachers who have resigned. It’s become a battle between parts of the community and John Friend. This teacher said this, this student did that, etc…it has become a mess and is hurting more people than not.

Yes, I do believe that consequences are due if rules were broken or codes of ethics were compromised. That goes for everyone in everyday life, no one is exempt. With that being said, it is also very disheartening to hear “yogis” lashing out at each other. This controversy is a perfect example of when the community should be coming together, supporting their peers and students, not tearing each other apart.

I have the utmost respect for every teacher who has resigned over the last few months and wish them well. They are moving forward in their lives, as should the Anusara Kula. Given the series of recent events, changes are inevitable. I will welcome them with an open heart and mind, remembering where I was two years ago, and how this practice got me where I am today.

It may be difficult for the teachers at the moment, which I completely understand. However, any student that has Facebook or is keeping up on current events with Anusara, knows about this controversy. And, we are feeling just as lost, if not more so. At this time, we need our teacher’s guidance and support during all of these transitions, more than ever.

Anusara yoga has become much more than just John Friend. To me, it is full of smiles, happiness, love and support.

Let us remember why we fell in love with this style of yoga to begin with, and move forward, together, with an open heart.

 

Love and Light!

 

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Yogis Aren’t Always About Sunshine and Rainbows – We Get Pissed Too!

 

Take last night for example…My neighbor, once again, was playing his television loud enough to where I can make out the words on the show he was watching. And, he’s got this laugh that seems to echo throughout the complex. For all intent and purposes, I’ll call him Doug. Doug is a middle aged gay man, that has been living in same studio apartment for the last 12yrs. He is still a “student” at some university that no one has heard of, goes to the gym way too much and is constantly “seeing” men half his age. Not a horrible description yet, I know.

But, my severe disliking of Doug is nothing new. I met  him when I first moved into my apartment years ago. He seemed very nice and polite at the time. But, then the flirting started and I got really uncomfortable. Normally if you tell someone you aren’t interested, they’ll usually back off. Not Doug. Persistence was his forte, but I wasn’t having any of it. He even peeped into my bedroom window several years ago just say, “Hi”. I currently never open my blinds to my bedroom. When I see him I think “Chester the Molester” and “I need to bathe.”  I think I began to emotionally fear Doug. To know him is to loathe him.

When I come to my apartment, my home, I would like it to be my sanctuary. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out that way.

From the outside looking in, my apartment complex is very charming. A older building, built in the late 1930′s, shaped like a horseshoe surrounding a pool. Bette Davis even did a scene from the movie, “The Star” by the pool. Nestled on the border of West Hollywood, with each of the 25 units having an underground parking spot, the complex is very appealing. Living here is a different story. There has been a lot of crazy shit that has gone down here. Late night skinny dips from people who should NOT be skinny dipping. Numerous calls to the cops, fights, thefts, lawsuits, restraining orders, neighbors sleeping with each other. As a joke some of my friends have nicknamed this complex, “Melrose Place”. Rightfully so.

I have made three really good friends that are living in the complex with me.  Other than those friends, I want nothing to do with anyone else. They’re all lunatics. I just want to come home from work, have some tea, get into bed and fall to sleep. Having to put ear plugs in every night is not something that I look forward to. But, that’s life. Life, unfortunately, is not perfect. It downright sucks sometimes. But, what can we do?

Since I started my practice, people can actually see a shift in my personality. It’s changed the way I look at things and how I react to them. Before yoga, I would react quickly and get really mad over things that I couldn’t control. Now, I take a step back, a few breaths, and try to to reevaluate the situation. Life has many obstacles. Instead of trying to control them, I try going over or around. It’s much easier and ultimately makes more sense.

So yes, yogis aren’t always about peace, love, sunshine and rainbows – We get pissed too!

I actually have to thank my neighbor (only in my head, of course) for inspiring me to write this blog post.  If his t.v. is the worst thing I have to deal with these days, I’m okay with that. But, he’s still a Douche…with a capital “Doug!”

 

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Yoga saves me $100 an hour

Who needs to pay a therapist  $100/hr when you have your yoga mat, your bare feet, and good friends?

Okay, so I know it always isn’t as simple as this. However, I do believe my yoga practice saved me many trips to the therapist.

Yes, there is a bottle of Xanax in my medicine cabinet, but only for emergencies. Looking back at it now, I remember having really bad anxiety as a teenager and having no outlet for it. My face used to get flushed, i would tense up and my heart would race over some of the littlest things. As a kid I just thought to myself, “This is just who I am. What’s there to be done about it?”  I guess I could have gone for a jog, hike or some other form of physical activity. But, who does that in southeast Texas??  Drinking beer, eating fried everything and watching television is more our forte. For the most part, I had a good childhood, but exercise wasn’t part of it.

I’d say my anxiety was at its highest during my last relationship (I’m sure my friends aren’t shocked in the slightest). A meth addict had a better chance of getting a good night’s rest. Between the relationship and working six days a week, I was wound up pretty tight. I know people say that when you work out, your body releases endorphines, and you actually feel good afterwards. Well, since I despised the gym, I couldn’t relate. I’d rather get run over by a train than spend 30 minutes on a treadmill. It just not for me. :-)

It wasn’t until I started my yoga practice that I actually started starting good in my body and my mind.  Oddly enough, I credit all of these new feelings to my ex boyfriend. I mean, without our breakup, I probably wouldn’t be where I am today. When I started my practice, I really dove into it. I think I was practicing about 6-8 hours a week, which is fucking ridiculous now that I think about it. But, it was what I needed at the time. Everytime I would leave a class or a private with my teacher, my mind and body felt amazing.  I felt truly happy.  I was able to get more rest and wasn’t so concerned with all the chaos that was happening around me. Not only had the practice itself changed me, the people I met during the process were also a major contributors. I would go to my teacher’s house after class to chat over wine and cheese. I’ve cried many a times in her company and on my mat in class. These were huge stress relievers for me, and I am so grateful they were there.

It was my therapy.

If I’ve had a crappy or stressful day, I’ll usually be in class that evening. No need to run to the medicine cabinet anymore. It’s to the point now that if I call my friends in a panic about something, they’ll usually say, “Just got to yoga already!” I realized that by surrounding yourself with good people and doing some form of physical activity, you can calm your mind. And once I got that, I was all over it. I mean, why wouldn’t I? Everyone has to find their niche in order to be happy. Whether it be yoga, the gym, hiking, walking or biking – find it!  You might be surprised how it can change you.

And, even save you some dough in therapy. :-)

 

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