Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Too Much Yoga Causes...

Dear Swami Cat,

I'm thinking about Yoga too much.  It's on my mind constantly and even when I'm driving in my car I am thinking about Yoga.  I drove too far today and had to make a U-turn and then I was late to work.  Is there such a thing as too much Yoga?  Have you heard of this before?  What should I do?


Hari Om YOTB,

Ah yes, this is a problem.  Keeping the lessons of Yoga in the forefront of the mind is advantageous to ones progress on the path.  Yet one of the practices of Yoga is mindfulness.  This does not mean fill your mind with thoughts, in fact some translate it as clearing the mind.  Unfortunately the mind is a tricky one and it is not so easy to "clear the mind" as they say.  And so we Yogis practice one-pointedness, focusing on one thing during meditation to help focus the mind.  This focus could be on a mantra, on a candle or on one's breath.  There are many practices you can try and you will find what works for you.

But dearest YOTB do not try these practices while driving.  Your one focus on the road should be reading the signs and watching for a potential accident.  Remember Yoga is first and foremost about doing what is needed for your health and well-being.  Keeping your thoughts on the road and nothing else is a practice of Yoga.  It reminds me of a quote from one of my dear friends whom I met while still on tour with my band Heavy Cream.  I was complaining about doing the dishes on the tour bus when he happened to walk by.

 "While washing the dishes one should only be washing the dishes, which means one should be completely aware of the fact that one is washing the dishes. At first, glance, that might seem a little silly. Why put so much stress on a simple thing? But that’s precisely the point. The fact that I am standing there and washing these bowls is a wondrous reality. I am completely myself, following my breath, conscious of my presence, and conscious of my thoughts and actions. There’s no way I can be tossed around mindlessly like a bottle slapped here and there on the waves."

         – Thich Nhat Hanh 

Very good lesson, no?  I thought so.  I did all the dishes for the rest of the tour!

I hope this helps you. 

May all two and four legged beings find a spot of sunshine, a soft place to nap, and a scratch behind the ears.

Om and purr,
Swami Cat

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Driving on Empty

Dear Swami Cat,

I just wanted you to know that I am so thankful for my mantra.  It keeps me calm during liftoffs on airplanes and has helped me through a tough upwards climb on a hike.  And tonight I added another thing to be grateful for regarding my mantra. 

I ran out of gas.  I was driving on fumes.  I found one gas station after another only to find it closed.  I was beginning to panic and so I repeated my mantra.  I know it helped me find the only open Exxon in miles.  I am eternally grateful for my mantra.

Yoga Girl

I appreciate you Summer!


Outdoor Yoga
Walks in the dewy grass (good for absorption of chlorophyll)
Nighttime deep breaths in the cool relaxing air
Finding the night secret Avatar-like new universe of fireflies behind a wall of bushes
Dairy free ice cream
Digging in the earth
Green leaves of basil, a healthy promising batch of tomatoes
Bird songs
Natural vitamin D
Nostalgic tunes on the radio (Bruce, Journey)
Friend time
Daytime lasts so long the night sneaks up and suprises you
Ocean time
Park time
Biking time
Taking my kayak down off its winter perch
Sitting on my terrace just soaking it all in

Take some time to appreciate while the butterflies fly and the crickets serenade.  Make your own list and I'll post it here!