Monthly Archives: July 2016

ESAK GARCIA IN EAST NASHVILLE

One of my heroes is coming to Nashville. East Nashville, in fact, coming to our very own studio! Esak Garcia is a legend in the yoga community. He was a legend before Instagram or smart phones even existed. In fact, you won’t find many filtered, Photoshopped photos of Esak out there, although you might find an inspiring video of his posture demonstrations at various workshops he leads around the world or at the USA Yoga Competition where he won the world championship. But Esak himself will tell you himself, it’s not about the best-photographed posture or the depth of your own postures, nor about winning a competition; it’s about learning from yoga, throwing out false conceptions that hinder us, and understanding that yoga means union within ourselves and with others. “You don’t need to push yourself to extreme depths to realize that.”

But Esak would also say that if pushing yourself, training for a goal or finding new depths in your postures, flips that switch for you, as it did for him, then go for it! He’s here to help. :)

Esak has been devoted his life to yoga for the last 22 years. His mother, a lifelong yogi, introduced him to yoga and to the Bikram practice when she attended the first-ever teacher training in 1994. While studying political science at Yale, Esak often practiced the classic 26 postures he had learned from his mother to supplement his football and martial arts practice, finding a small room on campus with a strong heater! After Yale, he went on to become a certified teacher under Bikram’s training and began teaching in San Francisco in 2002.

After reading the book, Hell-Bent, I indeed became hell-bent on meeting Esak. I was all-out obsessed with this “Jedi Fight Club” – the affectionate name given to Esak’s famous back-bending retreats. Author, Benjamin Lorr described his pain and struggle over 7 days of attempting upwards of 50 “wall walks” per day. I was enticed, while simultaneously fearful of Jedi Fight Club. From one page to the next, I both want to sell anything and everything to go to the 7-day retreat and/or close the book and never think about it again! But reading the final paragraph of the Esak chapter, I regain an obsession with back-bending and with Esak: “The next day, driving back to New York, I find myself doing wall-walks against the aluminum siding of a rest-stop gas station. There is a moment, where I wonder what I’m doing… But I just shrug my shoulders, roll my eyes at the sky, and arch back to meet the pain like it’s a moral obligation. When I’m done, my shirt is off and I’m smiling like a fool.”

Lorr also describes the person, the mystery – Esak Garcia. “In many ways, Esak feels like a shining example of the promise of yoga. He rarely sleeps, yet he never seems tired. When faced with a problem, his reasoning always begins with the communal. He has a diffident energy surrounding him. I understand that on a fundamental level, his body hums in a different way from mine… I want to know what he knows, learn what he’s learned.

And so we will. See you August 7th!

#Living – My Yoga Life and Then Some

Hi, happy summer, y’all! Sorry it’s been so long! There was the flurry of building the new studio and moving in and then the Teacher Training, oh, and then my wedding reception and the honeymoon…. Life! But enough with the pleasantries and excuses. Time’s a-wastin’! The good thing about talking to old friends (like us) is that you don’t really have to explain yourself at all. You just pick up where you left off.

So we left off with Mindful Living, the theme of 2015.  I wasn’t really hit with any particular theme for the new year back in January, so let’s just say that we continued our Mindful Living practice and that our themes don’t have to correspond with the Gregorian year. A moment for a brief aside – I have recently, and finally relented to the lure of the insta-yogi – it is a relatively small surrender, but I have begun to follow two instagram-famous yogis. I have also begun to notice some of their hashtags – #yoga #yogaeverywhere #yogaeverydamnday #headstand #om #myyogalife. Now I won’t go into all of my opinions of insta-yogis or the hashtags – most people are just doing their gosh-darned best – but I paused on one hashtag when I saw it, #myyogalife. First thought, “I could get onboard with that. Maybe I’ll use that one!” Second thought, “Would that really be true or just a show? I mean, I want a yoga life…. I’m trying to have a yoga life…. Some days I do have a yoga life…. Maybe someday I’ll have a full-blown yoga life like that person’s” All of these thoughts filtered down in a matter of a second, and I didn’t really analyze it at the time. At a later date, which is today, I began to focus my mental energy towards a new blog theme. I remembered, #myyogalife and thought that might be fun. But then I remembered all of my accompanying thoughts and self-judgments that came up concerning how unattainable that perfect yoga life seems and has always been in my head.  Of course, I know that yoga doesn’t have to be perfect and that it’s a practice but still, what about just living? Living #myyogalife + #mylife. Aren’t they really one in the same? Concisely, #living…

Really LIVING. In the moment, fully, abundantly. Mindful, yes; also with our hearts, bodies, busy schedules, and changes.

So what are my goals and how can I practice really living? I believe the evidence of me really Living, that abundant, in-the-moment, clear-eyed, whole-hearted, is the difference we make in the lives around us. Goal #1 – Living to help others.

Second, when I’m truly living, not just sleepwalking through life, then I think I feel, YES! I do feel happy, fulfilled, thankful and free. The great Doc Watson said, “you have to be yourself, otherwise people won’t know who you are.” Allowing this emergence and purposefully Goal #2 – Living to be my fullest, freest, truest Self.

Finally, the thought occurred to me that we don’t have to have Living figured out just yet. That’s the whole point of this thing, right? Learning, growing, practicing.  I can’t have all the end goals to something that is still somewhat of a mystery, so Goal #3 is Living to learn, experience and grow.

Practice for this week: Being present, connected with each moment and the people whom I may be sharing that moment with. Instead of trying to change every situation, every moment, to conform to my wants and personal gains, to simply be fully invested and available to the nature of the moment, to my senses and to the people I’m with.