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Yoga & iPads: Lessons Learned

Posted Mar 27 2011 9:46pm

The title of this post would lead you to believe that I'm going to be addressing the myriad of yoga applications available for the iPad, right? Not exactly.

You see, I'm one of those annoying people who like to take lessons from daily life and make all sorts of connections between seemingly unrelated things. Call it a quirk in the way my brain functions. That, I suppose, is why I'm writing about the iPad and yoga in the same post. Bear with me...

I suppose you could say I have some quirks -- in addition to my aforementioned brain proccessing strangeness and my affinity for techie gadgets, I also am not a big news person. I stay away from the negative stuff. Interestingly enough -- and a true testament to media saturation -- I still seem to know when big things happen in the world even though I try my best to avoid the news. Lots of folks tell me the pitfalls of not watching/reading/listening to the news, but my sitting here with a new iPad 2 proves the power of ignorance. [Big Irony Alert -- my new iPad gives me access to all kinds of news]

Not realizing that iPad 2s are difficult to get -- my simplistic brain seems to equate product release with product availability -- I went to my local Apple store and asked the lovely sales associate if I could buy an iPad 2. I got the "did you just crawl out from under a rock" look and was told that they are in limited supply (apparently, it takes 4-5 weeks to receive one ordered online) and that I could only buy one before the store opens at 9:00AM. If I were lucky, of course.

I was told that I had to get to the store before it opens at 9:00AM at which point I would stand on a line in hopes of being one of the lucky recipients of an iPad 2 of which they have in extremely limited supply (the system goes like this -- you stand in line and wait for and employee to hand out tickets for the models that are in stock. When the store opens, you can go inside and redeem your ticket for an iPad). Maybe I'm the crazy one because from what I was told, people have been doing this very same thing for weeks now in hopes of snagging one of these babies.

Say what? My vision started clouding with all sorts of bizarre images -- people camping out days before a movie premier dressed up like a Wookie (all of you Star Wars fans know what I'm talking about); frantic parents running through Toys R Us in hopes of getting one of the few Cabbage Dolls recently shipped to the store (ah, the 80s); people trolling eBay to bid hundreds of dollars in the hopes of winning some odd-looking, annoying noise sprouting electric freak called Furby (ok fine -- yes I have one or two of these bizarro things in my basement. Don't judge me!). Yep, I would have to suffer a similar fate in order to get one of these handy dandy Apple tablets.

Somehow my brain refused to believe this. The part of my brain that thought I could just walk into the store and buy an iPad without any fuss just couldn't accept that I couldn't get one. I guess my brain fell asleep duing the supply/demand lecture in my high school economics class.

In an effort to not make this story any longer than I've already dragged it out to be, suffice to say that my ignorance paid off. I got up early on Saturday morning and was standing in line (there were 25 or so people ahead of me, if you can believe it) in front of the Apple store at 8:00AM. I ended up with a prized ticket for the exact model iPad that I wanted and was allowed in the store at 9:00AM to buy it. Unfortunately, I might have pushed my ignorance a bit too far because when I announced that it was my first time in line at the Apple store in the early hours to score an iPad 2, I got some dirty looks. Uh, beginner's luck, first time's the charm, blah, blah, blah? As a sports-happy friend of mine says, "Don't hate the player (although he pronounces it "playa"), hate the game."

For those of you waiting patiently for the yoga tie in, let me try to wrap it up for you. It seems that my beliefs have greatly affected my reality. First, I believed that it would be easy to get an iPad. Even after I was told that this isn't true, I refused to believe it. This stubborn disbelief turned my getting an iPad without difficulty (waiting in line for an hour was no big deal -- I actually had fun chatting with the other folks on line). Luck? Perhaps.

I also believed that standing in line in the early hours of the morning in the hope of getting a golden ticket was ridiculous. In fact, after leaving the store on Friday evening without an iPad and a story about lines, tickets, and limited supply, I was staunchly against going to the store on Saturday morning. Then, after talking it over with a good friend of mine, I was convinced that I had nothing to lose and set my alarm.

When I came to yoga (finally, I'm talking about yoga), I had certain beliefs. Then as I got into my practice my beliefs changed, grew, and morphed into something else. I had a narrow definition of yoga in my head and when I saw things that didn't fit, I dismissed them. You see, it's easy to believe that you have to look a certain way to practice yoga or you have to wear certain clothes to practice yoga or that you have to practice a certain style of yoga or that you have to have a certain teacher. Yes, in fact, you can convince yourself of anything. The problem is, when you do that you miss out on things like getting an iPad or having a deeper experience of yoga.

After practicing yoga for a year or so, I figured I had it down. I thought I knew all of the poses and I had even mastered some of the Sanskrit names for the postures. Then, in a studio in Boston, the teacher running the class instructed us to "flip" our Downward Dog . Huh? That I didn't know. Interestingly enough, flipping my Downward Dog did more than give me a new physical orientation -- it gave me a new mental one as well. My belief about yoga started to push against the walls of the box I had put it in.

A few years later, I pushed them some more when I took a class in a style of yoga that seemed completely foreign to me. The same happened a year after that. Now, I don't have a yoga box. Yes, there are styles of yoga that I don't particularly care for but it's more from preference than limits.

On Friday, The Huffington Post offered up an interesting article written by yoga therapist Carol Krucoff . I'm sure it challenged many people's beliefs about yoga. You can either agree or disagree but do you have the open-mindedness to know the difference between what you believe to be true vs. what you prefer? All I'm saying is that you can change your mind. I sure have. Many, many times (and I'm sure I'll change it again).

A few years back I was speaking to a teacher that had been a serious student of a particular style of yoga for well over 12 years. She had traveled to India multiple times (often once or twice per year) to study with her teacher. I greatly respected her and her commitment. As our conversation progressed, I spoke about much of my experience with different teachers and styles of yoga. I was suprised to find that she was unfamiliar with just about all of it. At first I thought maybe she was wise to go deep with one teacher and one style.

Now I'm not so sure. Having no awareness of anything else in the yoga spectrum could be limiting (or less distracting, depending upon how you look at it). You may not agree with other forms/styles of yoga, but being familiar with them can help you to better define your beliefs about yoga, and ultimately, your experience with yoga. Personally, I had to look at much of the spectrum before settling on what what works for me. I like to think I see the bigger picture of yoga, but in reality, that's probably not true. What is true is that I now see a bigger picture than I once did.

Check out this story that has one man proclaiming, "yoga has become a joke."   He feels people aren't seeing the bigger picture of yoga. He's probably right. Our beliefs might just be getting in the way.

Okay, enough musing for one day. I think it's time I go back to tinkering with my new iPad. Oh, and if you have an iPad, here are some of my favorite yoga-related apps:

Canyon Ranch 360 Well-Being


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