Get lost…no, really

“Why follow me to higher ground?/

Lost as you swear I am.”

Do you have a guru? Want one? Need one? Are you one? Ha! To whom? Many of us have people whom we admire. Hopefully we strive to be admirable, but not too, too attached to that adulation. Aparigraha, or non-attachment, is a tough one for us capitalistic united-statesians, ‘specially those of us around in the 80s, aka the Me Decade. (Shout out to my old department chair who gave that as the definition of estadounidense. Technically it’s a synonym for American, sorta…more like: “United States citizen,” but what a mouthful! or are your friends; G**gle translate is not, TYVM. If ya know, ya know.) I digress…now back to your regularly scheduled yogic programming…

Many Americans in particular worship at the altar of greenbacks, lettuce, floss, Benjamins. Or perhaps it is at the feet of musicians, rappers, sports stars, or other more figurative rockstars with multiple commas in their salaries, entourages, and no-flash-photography, please, and absolutely-no-autographs. Whom do you admire? Perhaps examine why. In Yoga-with-a-capital-y-land, one thing that comes up often is how we’re all subject to Māyā, or illusion. Is it better to take advice from and listen to the priest who hasn’t sinned AT ALL, or the, uh reformed, so-called former sinner who knows just what you’re going through because they’ve been there, man? Who has more clout? Or perhaps best to buy a mirror & look at that dude. (i.e. yo self). Side note: who’s seen the 1990 movie “My Blue Heaven” with Steve Martin? Go watch & come back. I’ll wait 🙂 What if the one whom we are following, literally or figuratively, by rhapsodizing or throwing money at and hanging posters of, is just as unsure as we are? Maybe clout belongs to the lout, and we need to move on, grow up, and go within. Divest of that autograph, take down the poster, spackle that wall, and move on. Go grab that mirror! 

“Turn your head/now baby just spit me out”

Let us not swallow whatever Dogma your Cat, uh, dogma-deliverer, brings to you. Find a quiet spot, even if it’s the powder room ‘cuz it’s the only private space with a door, and a guaranteed maximum of 5 minutes of privacy. Put the exhaust fan on honey, ‘cuz dang you tired, and sometimes revelations are messy and odiferous. Sit comfortably, perhaps with your back against something to feel support behind you, and tune into your breath. Watch your breath come in, watch your breath go out. Sit still, eyes closed or at half-mast. Maybe, juuuust maybe, your guru, who *is* you, will sit beside you and whisper in your ear, or tug on your sleeve. Can you pay attention? 

“Just tilt my sun towards your domain/

Your cup runneth over again.”

If we tilt their sun towards our domain, we look within, and can stop going without. Our metaphorical cups may run over, replenished. Again, there’s that (pesky?) Svadhyaya, or self-study. It’s way easier to worship false idols, and again, look outside ourselves. Much harder albeit more rewarding, to find you had it in you all along. Click those ruby slippers three times, Dorotea, and hOMe you’ll go. (Not easy, but reads well, don’t it? Biiig juicy wink.)

This week’s inspo is “December,” by Collective Soul.

If this resonated with you, please feel free to comment below or drop me an email. Until our mats unfurl again, be well.


You can Bet(ty) on Al

Who’s calling? “If you’ll be my bodyguard/I can be your long-lost pal,” “Call me Al,” Paul Simon. We all need people to support us. In Yoga-with-a-capital-y-land, we call this Sangha, or community. Who’s in your Sangha? Perhaps biological, perhaps by convenience or necessity, by commonality, by marriage, or by heart, no one should go it alone. If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together: African proverb. Bio family, sometimes. Friends, maybe. Your ride-or-dies, for sure! Partners, hopefully. Whomever you chose? Yep, hence the choosing part, ‘natch. Me, myself and I? Always! We must work on self-love through Svadhyaya, or self-study. More on that later.

When I was little (ha! I’m still barely 5′ on a good day, but I was even more littler once upon a time…) I was on the bowling team. High score 187, baby! Turkeys, too. If you know, you know. But, I digress. My bowling partner, and friend, supported me, as I her. It wouldn’t make sense to share my triumphs and tribulations with some rando friend who didn’t bowl, and/or who wasn’t related to me by blood. Hi, Mom & Dad! They would come to the opening of an envelope if asked. They’re supportive of my myriad interests and accomplishments, in the best way they know how. Dija know that the older you get, the smarter your parents become?! Wakka wakka… 

When we’re little-little, we need role models. They’re everywhere, but some are for sure “don’ts” and not “do’s.” Parents, other blood relatives, chosen family, friends, partners, lovers, etc. can all potentially serve this role. TV and other media? Save Mr. Rogers, survey says, not so much. Not sure where I land on this “everyone comes into your life for a reason or a season” business, but it’s worth exploring. 

“Who’ll be my role model/

Now that my role model is

Gone gone?/

He ducked back down the alley/

With some roly-poly little bat-faced girl”

What’s hinting to you that your Sangha might not be what you need? Have you outgrown them because you’ve moved on to, ahem, SERIOUS #adulting? Or maybe you’re stuck in that alley, “surrounded by the sound, the sound/Cattle in the marketplace…scatterlings.” It’s all sh*ts and giggles ’til someone giggles and sh*ts, amirite? I was never much of a night owl, and am even less so now. You mean I have to get dressed, including supportive undergarments? Stay out once it’s dark? Best believe you’ll pay for *that* the day after! Get your beer someplace else, tyvm. Beer bellies might be cute on lil’ old men, but they don’t serve much purpose for most of us. Even if there’s no aldult beverages involved, I value my shut-eye. 

Perhaps some of your friends are looking more like a “cartoon…in a cartoon graveyard.” Silly is fine in small doses, but I daresay that it’s lookin’ a little worse for wear nowadays. “Mr. Beerbelly, Beerbelly/get these mutts away from me/you know I don’t find this stuff amusing anymore.” 

“All along, along/

There were incidents and accidents/

There were hints and allegations”

Are you friends because you’ve been friends, or is there real love, interest, and support there? Even if they’re not on the bowling team, can they feign interest, support, a lil’ rah-rah-rah-ness? “If you got no love, then you’re with the wrong…” fill in the blank as you choose your own adventure. 

The lyrics are full of opposites: soft in the middle, but having a hard life. People will say that middle age is when the narrowness of the waist and the broadness of the mind change places. Talking to people of a certain age is always entertaining, or is it exhausting? Exasperation, here we come! 

The main character’s also got a short attention span, but long nights. Maybe that’s not such an opposite, after all. The attention span is distractable – seeing bat-faced girls, foreign men with no currency, and angels in architecture, spinning in infinity. This’d make anyone’s night drag on for a rilly, rilly, RILLY long time, or at least *a* drag. “No currency” could be literal, lost somewhere on this rock we all (Al) all call home, unable to barter or get along, to transact. It could also be figurative. Long nights, disappearing role models. No currency means no one will play with you. It’s no good at all to be in a one-sided relationship. On either side, I’m afraid. How many of us have tried and tried and tried (not Little-Engine-That-Could-style but more Sisyphus-style, pushing that ding-dang rock up the hill, only to have it come a-rollin’ back down,) to keep a friendship alive, to no avail? Or maybe you’re without currency because you’ve used it all up. Who wants to hear about bowling scores if you think the shoes are gross? How many candles or spice blends do you expect your friends & family to buy? Taking advantage of good-natured friends will only wear out your welcome. How many of us don’t know how to break up with a friend? Hm…

“Na na na na …” sing me off…

If this resonated with you, please feel free to comment below or drop me an email. Until our mats unfurl again, be well.


Karma, shawarma. Whatever it is, let’s serve it cold.

Karma, shawarma. Whatever it is, let’s serve it cold. (Loving, living, breathing – ya know, the biggies)

“Must I live my days in these concrete ways?/

Will the fire break through this smokey haze?”

Many of us were thrust into #adulting, or maybe it’s more like the frog in the blender scenario (i.e. you get more & more responsibilities s-l-o-w-l-y ’til you’re up to your eyeballs in BILLS or kids, or whatnot). Your results may vary. Us aldults (as my dear ole Grampy would say) wake up often before the sun, make some coffee, (“Morning’s hard/coffee’s cold”) feed and tend to our pets or non-furry offspring, (“Don’t let hearts break/And don’t let children cry”) throw on some clothes, and hit the road to go to the place Maynard G. Krebs referred to as a “four-letter word.” Work, the word is work, although he’d squeak out: “Woiyk!” There are deadlines, and bosses, and there’s peeeeeeople there, pretty much regardless of where you do your thing to get paid. While it’s nice to have structure and all that, it can be stifling to have such concrete ways. And saying “must” implies a petulant, whiny tween: “do I haaaave to?”

“Rip through the wire that screens in my window/

Throw open the shades that cover my mind”

Change is hard. Hurts like h-e-double-hockey-sticks. But if you didn’t get “dark & twisty” over night, you’re not coming into the Light, Carol Ann, the morning after, either. The wire may cage us, but the screens imprison us, obscuring our view. We all spend way way way too much time on a screen. Grab your bolt cutters, and get to work. Doing so-called shadow work is HARD. It’s messy and perhaps violent. If we can free our minds, surely the “rest will follow.” (En Vogue) 

Throw open the shades like you’d throw off the covers to greet the day. In one fell swoop. Hurts more; heals faster. 

Most of us walk around in a fog most of the time, lost in our own little worlds. At least I do, much to my partner’s frustration. Side note: taking Physics in high school was made no more attractive by the end-of-year field trip to Six Flags Great Adventure, the roller coaster theme park hours away. He actually has the audacity to suggest on the daily that I take remedial physics, not even Reeeegents-level for us NYers, but I just say I’m clumsy and that it runs in the family. He mumbled something about my not paying attention, or somesuch. Eh, I wasn’t listening.

Many of us seem to be happy here, in our own little worlds. But is that living, thriving, or just existing, taking up precious oxygen and space? It’s time to cultivate some Tapas, or burning zeal, desire, heat in practice. Matters not what you practice, as long as you throw your heart and soul into it. It could be needle-point, woodworking, Yoga, yoga, or choose-your-own-adventure. Heck, “my boy builds coffins” will do nicely, thank you very much. The fire will burn off the fog, spurring us along when motivation lags or lacks. As they say, tis better to live your Dharma, or purpose, imperfectly, than to live someone else’s perfectly. 

“And I swear tonight I’m gonna find that place/

It’s not the love that dies but the understanding ways”

It’s easy to become a hamster on a wheel: work, eat, sleep, work, eat, sleep. It’s a bit harder to tap into “that” place whereby passion ignites, and the hours fly by since you’re engaged in whatever pursuit you’re, uh, pursuing. We must keep the home fires burning, but also open our Anahata chakra (the heartcenter) to not let those understanding ways die. Love endures, but understanding has been replaced by deadlines and the dreaded #adulting. 

Do we have self-compassion? Does it extend to others? For many, the other way is easier: we’re nice/r to others, trying to pour from an empty cup when it’s our turn. Put your own oxygen mask on first, kids! Metta meditation may start all-encompassing, but eventually, ultimately, it ends with us as individuals. 

“I, I want to testify/

My love still lives and breathes”

Keep the faith, keep burning, and maybe step off the wheel once in awhile. Share what spark you do have with others, and it will likely come back to you. Circle of life and all that warm n’ fuzzy schtuff. Karma is more than chits in the bank, to be called in at Bill, uh, will. It’s more like: “action, will, deed,” not just a dish best served (instantly) cold. Hope springs eternal! It’s Springtime in the northeast, kids – get out there & take a bite of life, soak up some Amrita. This entry’s song was: “Testify,” by Melissa Etheridge and Kevin McCormick

If this resonated with you, please feel free to comment below or drop me an email. Until our mats unfurl again, be well.


Waitress, this isn’t what I ordered! …or is it? 

“…and I know no matter what the waitress brings, I shall drink in and always be full/

yeah, I will drink in and always be full,” John Popper. (“Runaround,” Blues Traveler)

In Yoga-with-a-big-y, we study the Yamas and Niyamas. If you’ve been a reader for a while, you know that these concepts, or paths for “right living,” get a lot of airtime here at Bendy and the Beat. If you’re new here, welcome! As my Mom says: “have fun, be careful.” I’d love to hear your comments if you’d like to share. 

One of the Niyamas, aka observances (or your do’s, if you will,) is Santosha, or contentment. If we can think about the “waitress” as life, it makes sense to try and practice contentment with whatever comes our way. Not to say that we are complacent, and slump in our chairs like Eeyore, only to lament: “it is what it is,” and sigh bigly, lips flappin’. Contentment is more of an okay-ness with things in their current state, until we can take action. Actually, the okay-ness remains, hopefully. Whatever you think is wrong with you, or broken, got you to this point. We strive for contentment, and perhaps, then and only then, to make changes. Humans are amazing! We can hold contradictory thoughts At. The. Same. Time.

“oh, sure the banner may be torn and the wind’s gotten colder/

perhaps I’ve grown a little cynical.

But I know no matter what the waitress brings/

I shall drink in and always be full/

Yeah, I will drink in and always be full.”

Life will knock you around sometimes. Waitresses bring oversalted, cold, soggy fries. (Hashtag first-world problems.) You may *always* get stuck at that red light. (Hello, confirmation bias!) You may break up with someone, or be broken up with. You may break a bone, a lease, a heart. You may feel a lil’ worse for wear. A dash of cynicism is probably okay. A deluge, not so much. But what do we doooooo about it?

Svadhyaya, or self-study, will allow us to pause and breathe, before taking action. We’re looking to access a steady state, like in the yoga posture Samasthiti, sometimes called Tadasana, or Mountain Pose. It’s effortless-effort. Whoa, Nelly! The posture looks like this, at least in theory: (Of course, your results may vary since most of us aren’t 12-year-old-boys.) Your feet are parallel, grounded as best you can, joints stacked (ankles, knees, hips and shoulders) without locking any of them. Arms are loose-ish at your sides. Perhaps thumbs rotate back, pinkies forward, palms open, shoulders back, down and open. Sternum proudly angled towards the sky. (Ha! Who played “Twister” as a kid??? Talk about contradictory idears…) Drishti, or Gaze, is steady at a far-off point on the horizon in the distance. It may look like nothing, but I’ve been in class where the teacher takes 5-10 minutes to get us into position. It’s woik! 

In class, or off the mat, it is paramount, if not life-saving (it’s for sure life-altering) that we cultivate this Samasthiti, this steadiness, this steadfastness, this ease of effortless effort. Stress’ll kill ya! Have you ever seen ducks on a pond? They totes look like they’re just chillin’, floating there in the water. However, if you look beneath the surface, they’re peddling like mad to appppeeear in that steady, steadfast way. There’s a lot going on behind the curtain, uh, under the water, ‘natch. Being effortless takes work!

Remember that one goal is to take our Yoga/yoga “off the mat.” How can we apply this to the real world? 

Another of the 8 limbs of Yoga-with-a-capital-y is Asana, or steady, relaxed posture. This is the “yoga” that most Westerners know and love. You go to class at the gym, an ashram, a local park, or perhaps only to your living room in your jammies, pretzel or put your body into shapes, then lie down for Savasana (the best and most important part, I dare say). This is in no way belittling that branch, this oversimplification, but it’s just that: a branch, one branch. There are 7 others to play with and explore.  

One thing many of my students seem to enjoy during class is balance postures. My goal is to take students off balance sometimes, but bring them back to home base. It’s always done with consent, in a safe and gradual manner, with options and props offered. In class it can be literal – we balance on one foot & “go surfing,” whereby we pivot the lifted leg around in all directions to mimic being on the water. The arms can come along for the ride. The standing leg is the above-the-water-duck, and the lifted leg, arms, etc., the “rest” of you, are the legs of the duck, peddling like mad to keep you on that one leg, upright and rooted to the earth. This allows us to explore safely but also remain connected to home, hOMe, to know where home even is. Waitresses sometimes bring the wrong order, or give you someone else’s. Such is life, amirite? This causes some of us to go balliiiiistic. (Why?! More on that later.) Plus, playing in this way is fun! 

This may also be figurative, in which case when we revisit a posture on the 2nd side, and the sequence, arrival method, or arms are different. We always come back home, to our Mountain Pose. The point is that we use our Drishti, or gaze, as a single point to help us focus, and remain balanced, steady, steadfast, still(ish). Stare at something that isn’t moving to hold you steady. Effortless effort. Samasthiti. Come Home. 

“It seems my ship still stands on matter what you drop/

And there ain’t a whole lot that you can do”

Your Yoga is happening a lot and often, if not 24/7 like the diner’s open. How can we cope with big stuff, little stuff, stuff-stuff? We have tools! We have the Yamas and Niyamas, we have our breath, we may have meditation, self-study, and there’s always Ishvara Pranidhana, or surrender to the divine, if all else fails. Once you have cultivated all these wondrous things, the hard part’s over, right? Right? Right?! Bueller…nope, although it might be different, some say maintenance is where the real work happens. This is where Brahacharya, or conservation of energy, comes in. Let go of your duck-ness and put effort only where needed. But, where is that? Wah! Another blog post, perhaps…”I still can see things hopefully.” Remember, these are all practices, not perfects. Do what you can with what you’ve been given. Reach out for support when needed. 

If this resonated with you, please feel free to comment below or drop me an email. Until our mats unfurl again, be well.


“Next phase, next stage, next craze, next wave”

Yeah, but does it rhyme? Let’s ask Melanie Chisholm, Geri Halliwell, Clifford Lane, Mary Wood, Spice Girls: Victoria Beckham, Melanie Gulzar Emma Bunton

Generate/s. Generation/s. General/s. Generally. General Lee. Generation. Generational. Generationally. Generally/-ish. Gentrified/s. Gente in Spanish. Gerente, too. Gender. Gend-her. Gend-him. Gend-them. Gend-xe, gend-thee, gend-we, gend-ye. Gen-everyone. Dagnabbit, that’s a latte derivatives! What generation you belong to chronologically might not be the one you wish to belong to, or even feeeeel like you belong to, amirite? FWIW, different lists give different age ranges, anyway. Where are we going with this? Are we the ones we’ve been waiting for? Read on & let’s explore. Full disclosure & fair warning – yours truly is a bit punchy, having had a late-ish dinner AND a chocolate-coated ice cream bar when I started this draft a few days ago. And away we go…

“We’re sowing the seeds/every color every creed”

We all sow seeds, whether we realize it or not. What’s that old adage about planting trees whose Sade (big, juicy wink) you’ll never sit under? Whose turn is it? Whose Line Is It, Anyway? Should the Rolling Stones get off the stage for Maroon 5, or, or, or? Maybe BTS? Does that work? TBH, modern music mostly isn’t my fave. As my readers know, it’s 80s baby…mostly. 

We all sow seeds, whether we realize it or not. We need to talk to, listen to, hear, and hang out with those who don’t look like us, who believe differently than us, who check different boxes than we do. Ha! Who likes those silly little survey questions, anyway? Who fits in a box? Color, creed, flexibility of mind and body, and, and and. The time is long overdue to have conversations with those around us, not just those among us. Don’t say anything about ’em that you wouldn’t say to ’em. It’s about to get uncomfortable, and THAT’S OKAY. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. 

“Teach never preach/listen up take heed”

No one likes being lectured to. Believe you me, those who’re listening intently didn’t do anything wrong, usually, and those who did ain’t listening anywayz! If we teach, break things down, instruct, impart, share, the message is much more likely to go over better and actually be received. I did a whole post on listening vs. hearing a while ago. Take heed, pay attention, so you can act accordingly. 

Read on: 

“Take the heat/feel the flow

Cause you’re ready to burn/and we’re ready to go” 

“Take the heat” could potentially mean that the next generation (“generation next”) needs to clean up our generation’s mistakes, or even the mistakes of those poor, beleaguered Boomers who made quite a few messes for us to clean up. (No offense, Mom & Dad!) Perhaps the whipper-snappers are “ready to burn” or take up the reins and make real, lasting change. We generate heat through Tapas, or burning zeal in practice. Burn off what’s no longer serving you, lest you go down in flames, consumed. “We’re ready to go” – we Gen Xers are ready to move on and rest. Leave it to the youngins, whatever their generation is called. (Not those poor, avo-toast-loving, divorce-killing Millennials who supposebly* bring their parents on job interviews, and whine or wine when there isn’t a raise or promotion in 6mn, but wherever the nomenclature’s taken us for after the after. Methinks we’re running out of letters.) This could also be Rajas, one of the Gunas, or innate tendencies or attributes. Rajas is frenetic and heated, if not agitated. We need some Tamas, Thomas! Tamas is evenness, steadfastness that can eventually tend towards sloth if it’s not balanced out. 

It’s an Irioquois principle whereby we remember the seven generations that have come before you and consider the seven that will come after. It is important to tread lighter on the Earth than we have been. 

Either way, time marches on regardless. Grab a friend, grab the handrail, and hang on for dear life! No one gets out alive…

“It’s a celebration, motivation generation next/

You gotta know the rules (rules), if you wanna play the game (game)/

Respect and dedication (dedication on a fame) never riding on a fame” 

Feel free to comment below if this resonated with you. Until our mats unfurl again, be well. -M

Having it all & where to put it

“May you always lead from the beating in your chest,” Bloomfield Mai Sunshine, Gebhardt Rebecca Emily

In the eight-limbed path of Yoga (with a capital Y,) one of the many tools we study and keep in our toolboxes are the chakras. Many systems name 7 main chakras, the 4th of which is the Anahata chakra, located in the heart center. Not the Pledge-of-Allegiance heart, but the one right in the center, by the breastbone. Hence the center part. It is the connector between upper and lower chakras. A bridge, if you will, between the root and the crown. The roots grow down, reaching into the living earth for grounding, and the flower grows up, reaching for sky, towards the light. The green is underfoot, in the center. 

Spring is here in the northeast; it’s time for growth and renewal. This chakra’s color happens to be green, which is what’s happening to lawns and gardens everywhere. It’s referred to as the city of jewels. How can one lead with the heart? “May you always lead from the beating in your chest.” Should you take your brain with you? This leads nicely to the next concept that this song brought to mind; Brahmacharya, aka self-restraint or conservation of energy. This is part of the Yamas, or spiritual disciplines. This is one of the more challenging ones for yours truly. I am a school teacher and want to give. my. students. ev. er. eeeee. thing. Who cares if they’re not etymologically ready for it?! Give ’em double-object pronouns! The pluperfect subjunctive? Bring it on! Give ’em Yoda sentences! Tell ’em what it really means, not just the canned, one from column A, one from column B version. (I teach World Language, ‘natch.)  

This next verse explains all, Clarissa:

“Sharing what you can, nothing more, nothing less/

May you get to rest, may you catch your breath/

May you keep the chaos and the clutter off your desk/”

“May you get to rest/may you catch your breath” – this bears repeating. Do we rest? In a previous blog, my quote was about how rest is not idleness. There’s active rest when we may do a gentle yoga practice, walk with a friend, or use light weights. Then there’s air quotes rest when we’re off from work but scrolling on whatever social media platform grabs us, mindlessly vegging on TV or the like, and feeling guilty about taking PTO. This is not restful and is quite restless. You took time off technically, but didn’t actually recharge. Then you go back to work, dig out from your pile, and have a hot, steaming pile of resentment, wondering when it’s Friday again. Then there’s rest-rest, where we while away the hours on something low-key, perhaps under a blanket with a book, or take an actual nap. Which strikes us as the most restorative? 

“May you get to rest/may you catch your breath” This bears re-repeating. (Pete & repeat, anyone?) Even in the midst, or the hopefully-more-than-halfway-through-ness of the pandemic, are we breathing? Prana, or life-force/energy, is always present, but perhaps in varying quantities and directions. Does your breath catch in your chest? Does it travel down to the diaphragm and perhaps your extremities? Are your Prana Vayus vayu-ing? All the currents need to move in an ideal pattern to nourish your cells and the rest of your being.  Spark that Kundalini energy, ‘cuz those Vayus (the energy currents for wind/air) aren’t going to orient themselves, ya know! When you breathe in yoga, it’s usually through the nose in both directions, and we vary the length of each half (watch the breath come in; watch the breath go out, watch the breath come in; watch the breath go out) as well as the speed and focus. 

Remember we are human beings, not human doings. Now, how to keep the clutter off one’s desk. Just today my Dad asked me if I was purging, since he thinks all I do is get rid of whatever’s been accumulated. It’s a good day when the surface of the desk is visible. It’s quite cyclical, like many things. I get annoyed, or have a block of time, and clear, clear, clear. Then it creeps up until it’s monstrous, and the cycle starts anew. 

Whatever your gifts are, straddle that line between giving it all away, and hoarding it all for yourself. “No matter what your path is/If you believe it then anything can happen”

Feel free to comment below if this resonated with you. Until our mats unfurl again, be well. -M

Chickens & Geese

How funky is your chicken? How loose is your goose? This cute little ditty made famous by Buffy the Vampire Slayer is bound to make you shake your pom poms, but that’s not why we’re here. Or is it? Can we be funky and loose? Or are we staid and as the kids say, “tight”? 

“Hold on loosely, but don’t let go…” sang .38 Special in the early 80s. This Muzak song that’s played at the supermarket still rings true, all these years later. Even though this’ technically almost before my time, I am now, and will forever be, a child of the 80s. My cassettes, including my MIXED TAPES, still live in my closet, ‘natch. Moving on… 

In yoga we talk about the Yamas and the Niyamas, which are a pretty well-laid-out path to live by. These are moral codes: some do’s and don’ts, if you will. Granted, you probably still need your scythe to cut through the thicket of modern life, but it’s a good place to start. The Yamas are moral disciplines; your “don’ts”, so to speak. They are as follows: Ahimsa (don’t cause harm), Satya (don’t lie), Asteya (don’t steal), Brahmacharya (don’t waste your energy), and Aparygraha (don’t grasp or cling to any ole thing). The Niyamas are your “do’s,” but those’ll keep for another time.* (see the endnote) 

To reiterate, Aparygraha is to not be possessive, to not be grasping, to not be greedy. A tough sell in modern times. The 80s were the Me Decade, after all. And g-d bless capitalism! And still some of the best music ever recorded. Fight me! 

The lyric and song are quite catchy, but there’s more there than meets the eye. Whatever you believe –  be it the Golden Rule, that only YOU can prevent forest fires, or in putting your supermarket shopping cart aaaaaall the way back inside the store, or at least returning it to the corral in an orderly fashion, it is important to not be tethered so tightly to whatever it is that you live by that you cannot entertain other options. He goes on to sing: “If you cling too tightly/You’re gonna lose control.” 

While it may seem the suggestion is to demagnetize one’s moral compass, it’s far more nuanced than that. Who here has complained that their partner does XYZ (ha! or doesn’t,) but also absolutely loses it when someone says that they themselves do XYZ (or don’t)?! What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, huh? Who here is not a hypocrite? Show of hands? I’ll wait…Either way, perhaps some Svadhyaya (self-study) is in order. 

The backstory of the song actually underscores the fact that holding on too tightly will surely make one lose control. The writer/s were talking about their own relationships. I’m going to interpret it yogically, but it’s still neat to have my theory verified-ish.

“You see it all around you/Good lovin’ gone bad

And usually it’s too late when you/Realize what you had”

What may start out as a following of said road map (the Yamas & Niyamas, for those of you who have lost the thread) can quickly become indoctrination, or dogma, or edicts: the company line. One must be a good disciple! What if we hold on loosely to our principals, but don’t let them go? If we grasp too tightly, we may lose control. 

When newbies come to Yoga (not yoga class where we make shapes and do some breathing here in the West, but the 8-limbed path), they may get punch drunk on the philosophy and contemplate renunciation, craving more, more, more. (Or really less, less, less…) This is understandable, and common, but perhaps not so good. How can we hold on loosely to our beliefs, and keep them, but not BE them? “Your baby needs someone to believe in/And a whole lot of space to breathe in”. We all need SOMEthing to believe in, but room to maneuver, and a roadmap to navigate the whole messy shebang. 

Incidentally, there are a lot of repeated themes here: geese, supermarket Muzak, and cheekiness. While I was never a cheerleader (it’s just not me, but they’re so cool!) it sure is fun to play with their incantations. And who doesn’t need some encouragement once in a while? 

*This is a gross oversimplification, and I take any and all responsibility for perhaps bastardizing these amazing teachings. However, this is so that more of us can understand the philosophy, and dooooo something with it. I do not purport myself to be a scholar in anywayshapeorform. Whew! Thanks for reading. 

If this resonated with you, please feel free to comment below or drop me an email. Until our mats unfurl again, be well.


Bars, temples, massage parlors

Where do you go for sustenance? Relaxation? Oneness? Since I don’t drink, and can’t really claim a religion of my own, and my last massage sent me over the edge in not such a nice way, it’s hard to say. If you’re curious, stick with it to the end. Sing along with me, wontcha? 

Photo by suzukii xingfu on

“One night in Bangkok and the world’s your oyster

The bars are temples but their pearls ain’t free,” 

Rice Timothy Miles Bindon, Andersson Benny Goran Bror, Ulvaeus Bjoern K

If the bar is a temple, then perhaps the bartender is the gospel-spewer. They’ll listen, as long as you pay up. The bartender has also likely seen and heard it all, so you probably won’t be judged too, too harshly, at least not to your face. And don’t forget to tip! 

The menu is the Word. And the bar stool is a pew. And the bathroom is for rejecting those things that don’t agree with you. Clean-up, aisle you! Ew. (Ahem, that last potato skin, kitchen-sink drink, or suds, mayhaps.) Double yuck. 

And the fellow patrons are parishioners. Finally, the naysayers (teetotalers like myself, but more preachier) are the sin patrol. Renouncing, denouncing, announcing last call? You don’t hafta go home, but ya cain’t stay here. 

The line about “…everything but Yul Brynner” gave me pause. Yay for lyric websites. I looked him up and apparently he didn’t know who he was, either. Or, more likely, he may have, but he just wasn’t telling anyone. He claimed lots of different lineages and heritages. He played nondescript baldies with un-pin-down-able accents. The ultimate everyman? Or something sadder? Not knowing where you fit in is a real bear.

I grew up in the Irishist of Irish towns outside of Ireland, that is, which is located in a small hamlet in NY. So Hamlet, let’s play! You leave the car running while picking up takeout, parking’s a nickel, and they paint the streets green for the parade. Said parade, side note, is the 2nd largest in NY and 3rd largest on the east coast. 

We’re only part Irish, so that’s not my ID. We’re also sorta Jewish, so that’s not my ID, either. It wasn’t until way later, when I figured out who I am. No labels, thanks. 

The song talks about all the different goings on, but seems to center around chess. What a cerebral game! There’s also angels and devils walking and sliding about. More religion. Unfortunately, the song is whatever the opposite of an homage is, but it’s still catchy as heck. It talks about what a shame it is to be focused on the (chess)board as opposed to the, uh, earthly delights surrounding you. “…tea, girls, warm and sweet…not much between despair and ecstasy.” Side note because where would we be without digressionals? Tea girls, as in girls who bring tea a la cigarette girls, or tea, girls, as in tea that’s hot & sweet, and girls who are, too? Oxford comma, schmoxford comma, amirite?

Let’s keep going, shall we? 

The song talks about how the “muddy ole river,” or “reclining Buddha” aren’t as interesting or impressive as said game of chess. This could be Dharana, or Concentration, or Pratyahara, or Withdrawal of the Senses. Should we focus on what’s in front of us, or zoom out? Or both? Or neither?

The narrator is: “watching the game/controlling it,” much as Tamas, one of the three Gunas, is destroying things. 

“…but the pearls ain’t free.” Do the work, put in the time, and maybe, juuuust maybe, if you can survive a night among the tourists, “whose every move’s among the purest,” tumbling tough guys, devils, angels, and queens, you just may find your oyster after all. Who else gets their kicks “above the waist, sunshine?”

Saucha, or purity/cleanliness is what comes to mind here. This refers to literal cleanliness as well as spiritual cleanliness. Tourists are typically innocents. They don’t speak the language. They hold no currency. (“You can call me Al,” Paul Simon.) 

Now sometimes they’re wearing socks with sandals, cameras adorning necks, loudly tramping through ruins as if through some big-box retailer. Other times they’re reverent, dressed appropriately, whispering their awe to an underpaid bartender. Uh, tour guide 🙂 You decide. 

For me, sustenance comes from my yoga practice, my meditation practice, a walk with a neighbor, or grabbing that mic for karaoke…or back in the day, a standup set. Your turn! 

If this resonated with you, please feel free to comment below or drop me an email. Until our mats unfurl again, be well.


It’s raining men!

“Hallelujah, it’s raining men!,” Paul Shaffer, and Paul Jabara

Now before you log off, laugh your asana off, or crank up this catchy tune from the early 80s co-penned by some sunglass-bespeckled baldie from nighttime TV to sing along, pop a squat, grab a cuppa whatever, and get comfy. 

This struck me as especially yogic. Read on to learn how. 

Let’s substitute “men” for whatever *you* wish it would rain. How can we bring more of that into our lives, whatever that is. Yoga has eight limbs: it’s not just yoga class. This falls under the Niyamas (observances) of Tapas, or Spiritual Discipline. The way to get there is by putting in the work. We need to light a fire under ourselves & get to woyk! I have been working with a coach who said that my manipura chakra, located at the solar plexus, is done-ski. Tired. Burnt out. Stick-a-fork-in-me, d-o-n-e. Go away, shop’s closed. Bark up another tree. What on *earth* does that mean? Maybe my fire has gone to embers. 

Personally I’ve been stuck in a rut for awhile, but have put some wheels in motion. I am continuing with my Yoga Therapist studies, am jazzing up my website (or more accurately am having someone gussy it up for me,) and have kicked up my self-care routine.* 

“Humidity’s rising…” apparently is something that happens when your system isn’t doing its job. Where is all that water coming from? And more importantly, how can we get it to exit stage left since it sure is heavy to carry around… Well, it was Kapha season not that long ago, but all that excess moisture should have been burned off in the Summer. 

For the lay people out there, this means we need to move ourselves. Take a hike in nature, take that new HIIT class, take a break from social. Fire burns off Water. 

“…barometer’s getting low…” dovetails nicely with this. It means that there’s not enough oomph to push the storm away. More fire, please! Time to put (gentle?) pressure on ourselves to push that storm outta the way. 

“I feel stormy weather moving in…’bout to begin.” How can we weather the storm, or as those cutesy home-goods-type stores intone, learn to dance in the rain? Tune into yourself. Go inside. Forward folds and longer holds transition us to allow smelting. 

How can we capitalize on this icky weather (literal or figurative) and doooooo something with it? Channel it someplace productive. We must examine our lives, warts and all. In comes Svadhyaya, or Self-study in Sanskrit. Who’s doing too much? Who didn’t learn to knit or learn ancient Aramaic whilst stuck at home during a global pandemic that keeps raging and morphing? Me! I didn’t. 

But, I am learning about ME, and that’s what counts. “According to all sources…” Can we quiet down, tune in to that teeny little voice niggling at us that something’s got to give, that it’s time to change, time to add, subtract, or some other mathiness to balance our equations? 

“I’m gonna go out to run and let myself get

Absolutely soaking wet!”

Enter Aparigraha, or Non-grasping. Leave your umbrella at home and soak it all in. 

*Comment below to ask about what’s working for me. Better yet, request a strategy session so you can get some, too. 

If this resonated with you, please feel free to comment below or drop me an email. Until our mats unfurl again, be well.


Empty clubs, barkin’ dogs, canned DJs

“…even if the club was empty and your feet get tired/even if the resident DJ got fired,” Shake baby shake, Seeed

If you’re doing your thing, you don’t need an entourage. Even if no one’s there to snap a pic for your soshe (social media page/s), it still happened. Shake what your Mama gave you. It’s for you, no one else. 

If the bones grow weary and your dogs are barkin’, keep going. What motivates you? What inspires you? How can we keep going when there’s no music, when you’re tired, when Elvis has left the building? 

If the resident deejay has left the building, keep going. Who needs a guru, amirite? Hm.  The beat of your heart is music enough. It is will. It is amrita, immortality, nectar, nourishment in Sanskrit. 

Dig deep into Tapas, or burning zeal in practice, or spiritual discipline. Are you doin’ it for the ‘gram, or for you? 

“You’re never alone, ‘cuz you can put on the ‘phones and let the drummer tell your heart what to do,” Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through, Meat Loaf

Even though at first blush this seems contradictory, it’s not if we dig a lil’ deeper. Many of us put on headphones when we do not wish to be disturbed, even if they’re not connected to anything. This allows you to engage with Pratyahara, or Withdrawal of the Senses, in Sanskrit. Go inside, and listen quietly. That is the Anahata chakra, the heart center or unstruck sound. 

If this resonated with you, please feel free to comment below or drop me an email. Until our mats unfurl again, be well.