Monday, August 10, 2009

The Freedom Yoga Project - Blog 4 - we are the 'Dreamers'

Do. Act. Here. Now.

Just keep going, one day after another, the mechanical hamster wheel of life!

I first became conscious of the hamster wheel when I returned to the treadmill after my first yoga studio was moving away from the 26-2 bikram sequence I had been practicing for a year - 26 yoga postures, each performed twice, with 2 breathing exercises as bookends for the 90 min class - a routine that was the only yoga I knew at the time. Apparently, there were legal issues around copyrighting the name and sequence. I took it as a sign that the yoga wasn’t pure enough for me to stick with; and this was my chance to escape, back to my rightful home, the treadmill, with a book, or better yet, music videos playing on the television screen hanging in front of my eyes to help the time pass unconsciously. Now you tell me which of the two the hamster wheel was.

One of my most vivid memories of the long, storied relationship I had with the treadmill was of this day: I was at ‘extreme’ fitness in Thornhill, a Toronto suburb. As gym rats hovered nonchalantly to the world being set up for a revolutionary shift that is still quivering today, I, a fresh 22 year old, was jogging at a dilly-dallying pace on the treadmill, simultaneously eyeballing CNN, unconscious of the fact that within minutes I was about to witness the world being shaken by images of planes crashing into the twin towers. September 11th, 2001.

So, three years later, over a year into living on the Canadian west coast and practicing yoga for the same span of time, I exchanged my yoga mat for the treadmill. I brought a book, read and ran. I felt like a hamster in a hamster wheel: fooled. Though my mind and body were both there, the different focal settings led me to only getting half of the experience. It took me less than a week to get my act together, cancel the hamster wheel membership, and step onto a brand new yoga mat. The contrast made it obvious that I craved for a fully connected practice. That’s right: a practice. Not for hamsters.
Patrick Haley
AYC 2009

Let’s wheel back to Sanford Meisner in Blog 1 . In the 2-year acting program, Sandy asked the class of acting neophytes “how many light bulbs are in the room?”. It sounds like it may have been a trick, especially when perceived by a student who is looking to impress, yet there isn’t a right or wrong answer to the question, rather, the answer is irrelevant. The question is just a device, and the device is to instigate a ‘doing’. It means nothing to count it the fastest, as it means nothing to have the right number of light bulbs; as really, the focal point of that question is to actually ‘do it fully’.

When we are fully steeped in our activity, that what we do becomes us and that is what is undisputable. Like one can say whatever one wants about Michael Jackson, the artist, yet it is undisputable, that when he was in the moment performing, the stakes were high and the pressure of that moment closed in on one focal point. As such, all the opinions melted away, because in that moment he was captivating for one reason: he had a talent for ‘fully doing’. The greats seek out high stake situations. It’s not about showing off their acquired skills; rather, it is an ‘expression’ of their talent under intense circumstances to conquer the left brain and find the right side just in time for the storm. The storm brings out the deepest truths, the hidden talents as well as hidden blockages. The storm is the action of the mind and the body swirling away from the spirit. As the storms arise, we get still, connect to our center, and ride the waves. Staying cool. Watching. Feeling. Being. The serious at play.

A practice of letting go of time by so ‘fully doing’ creates the space for time to pass on its own without the urge for us to find any form of distraction to help it ease it’s passing.

Yoga has always been a form of art. While the mainstream has offered its friendship, there is a community growing parallel to what we see. What one would call the watering down is actually a fortifier. Spreading the practice may seem like thinning the quality. However, publications like Yoga Journal have taken yoga beyond the dogmatic followers of endless lineages, deepened it beyond the upper middle class and landed it there where it has always lived within the urban artists, those individuals that have made a life out of living yoga. Yoga didn’t change us, it just lent us a tool to communicate, a common language. Finally, those of us that have the ability to make our dreams come to life in this world have found our medium to share our soul secrets on a regular basis with the television generation (after all, many of us are spawned from this media culture), the generation that was conditioned into the left side of the brain, almost as if it was deprived of the right side.

As Caroline Myss PhD. and bestselling author says: the parts of us that we have developed are just as much part of us as the parts we have yet to discover. By use of music, imagery, organic movement, breathing/pranayama exercises, and one of the best workouts you’ll find in a Hong Kong hour, Freedom Yoga is creating a small space for big transformations in empowerment to take place, within you. Again, not for hamsters.

I can’t tell you how proud I am of the first 8 classes, guards down, students come back and back, times 8. To sweat, and play, to dream a little and smile a lot. The intention for me is to create that space where inspiration and insight meet one another. I now walk out that studio door, feeling both.

The mat played a part in a new type of domestication. The Freedom Yoga way is to throw the mat to the side, stepping off the mechanical wheel, out of the box, into the unknown, into becoming Freedom Yoga. It can never be anything but yoga, no matter what happens; baseball is yoga, dancing is yoga, Sebastian Foucan is yoga, Jill Bolte Taylor is yoga, Freedom is yoga, everything is yoga, because, ‘The Dreamers’ don’t do yoga; we live yoga.

Welcome to the start of the re-creating of what we thought we already knew. Do it fully. Break the hamster wheel.
Stoke of insight-click on Jill Bolte Taylor for amazing link.

editing - Rani Kamaruddin
special thanks- Peter Lloyd

Copyright © Lawrence-Jacob Milman, 2009. All rights reserved. The reproduction or transmission of all or part of the work, whether by photocopying or storing in any medium by electronic means or otherwise, without the written permission of the owner, is prohibited. Any unauthorised use or act in relation to the work appearing on this website will result in both civil and criminal liability.

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