All Work and No Play

I can only describe it as something of an existential crisis. There I was in the Apple store, weighing the pros and cons of iPhone service providers, when a twenty-something employee broke it down for me.
      "If you go with that one," he said, shaking his head solemnly, "you won't be able to email, text or surf the web while you're talking on the phone."
      "You mean I would simply talk on the phone?" I asked.
      "Yeah," he said. "Who does that?"

Our modern affinity for multitasking--combined with our culture's present-day notion of productivity--has trained us to do more and do it faster. Only when we're continuously active in some sort of exchange or consumption of information do we feel as though something has been accomplished. A day spent in silence seems a day wasted.

We're so prone to doing, that when there are moments of inescapable inactivity, such as waiting in line at the bank or idling at a red light, we slip into a waiting mind that's spinning with restless frustration. We're not accustomed to spending time without something (whether that's an important email or another level of Angry Birds) to show for it.

Another reason many of us feel so overtaxed is that we constantly operate at top speed.The two patterns of rushing and waiting create a great load on the nervous system. Like a Tiger Mother, we continuously traumatize our nervous system with overwhelming demands, insisting on performance and not allowing it to rest.

The Bhagavad Gita recommends that all action should be non-attached action, an action done for its own sake and without concern for the outcome. This approach requires us to be present with the action, which by nature rules out multitasking. Rather than belaboring the past (I should have left the house earlier) or envisioning the future (I'm going to be late), we could respond to the situation as it is. Descend into the minutiae of the action and enjoy the seamless collaboration between the organs of perception and the organs of action. Where is your breath? How do the hands feel against the steering wheel?

We tend to blame circumstances and the tenor of society for our frenzied behavior. But there's always a choice. Yogis have traditionally been dropouts--and that doesn't necessarily mean ditching your job and traveling the country in a VW bus. It simply means not succumbing to the patterns of multitasking, rushing and waiting. It means slowing down enough to experience the moment you're in. Or it may just be choosing the phone plan that won't let you do two things at once.

What's Going On

May 12, 2012: Meditation in Asana
Yoga House, Pasadena

May 20, 2012: Five Energy Fields
of Yoga

Yoga Works, South Bay

July 21-28: Germany
I'll be out of the country for a week at my brother's wedding. Gratulor Maurice
and Eva.

August 5, 2012: Bandha
Yoga Works, Costa Mesa

August 11-18, 2012: Nicaragua Retreat
Aqua Wellness Resort, Nicaragua
yoga + ocean + rainforest + private treehouse = no brainer

Walk This Way

Give me a silly walk over the standard gait any day. If you've got one, I'd like to see it.

When all thoughts
Are exhausted
I slip into the woods
And gather 
A pile of shepherd's purse.

Class schedule

Whether you live on the east side or hang by the ocean, I've got a class for you. Check out my schedule.

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