get smart

’tis the season.

christmas. the time of year where i have to explain over and over again why i–a jew–do not celebrate christmas. the conversation usually goes something like this:

them: merry christmas.

me: thanks, but i’m jewish. i don’t celebrate christmas. ­čÖé

them: really? why not?

me: because i’m jewish.

them: but why don’t you celebrate christmas?

me: because jewish people don’t worship christ. it’s not a jewish holiday.

them: but why not celebrate anyway?

me: why don’t you celebrate rosh hashana?

them: why would i do that? i’m christian.

and so it goes…

but, alas, this is not actually a blog about religious observances. it’s about intelligence. the ability to understand something beyond the surface, intellectualize it, and be able to deal with it logically.

it’s about yoga. mental clarity that dictates mindful, rational thought and action.

this week i made a video that pissed off some people–as i knew it would–as i poked a huge obvious hole in a much beloved (asinine) warrior one adjustment.

but, alas, this is not actually a blog about warrior one. it’s about not being a lemming.

i remember a conversation i was having once with a very, very famous yogi. he is what one might call a guru–and many do–though i don’t believe in gurus…so let me just call him a very, very famous yogi.

he had given me a chant and suggested i sing it every day, before and after my practice. and when i asked him what the words meant…he said he didn’t know. that the chant was given to him and he would not question a guru, but just accept.

then he went on to say that it was a form of aparigraha to seek too much knowledge. even at yoga.

now, who am i to question a guru.

but question i must.

this is a lifelong quest. i want to know as much as i can, explore it, revel in it, devour it, make it my own.

but, alas, this is not actually a blog about gurus. it’s about intelligence.

there are so many yoga practitioners out there who will do anything that they are told. no matter how non-sensical, no matter how inane. because they don’t ask why. they just do.

and you can only blame the inexperienced practitioner so much. they’re just doing what they are told….by yoga instructors who are just doing what they are told…but yoga instructors who are just doing what they are told…

people don’t stop to ask “why would i do this?” before doing it and passing it along to the world. it’s why they can’t remember which leg goes back in the transition from side crow to eka pada koundinyasana. or which way the head turns in a spinal twist. or how to align the feet in a particular warrior pose.

the answers are all logical…if only you take the time to understand the poses.

and since it’s christmas, let’s go back to a quick christmas-y analogy.

so many teachers these days operate on what i call the “wwjd” model of teaching. but you can substitute the “j” for any initial of any favorite teacher.

what would bryan do? i’ll do that.

what would kathryn do? i’ll do that.

what would iyengar do? i’ll do that.

what would shana do? i’ll do that. ­čśÇ

and i’m here to say, don’t do that! do your own thing. find your own logic. create your own intelligence.

people always marvel to me that i present poses that they’ve been taught a million times before in a way they’ve never heard before.

why is that? because i find my own way. if it doesn’t make sense to me, then i sure as hell can’t make it make sense to you…says the jew as she works on christmas eve…

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