What is Yoga? You'd be Surprised

by francine Hardaway on May 2, 2009

A beautiful Friday evening in Phoenix. But I’m not at Happy Hour, I’m laying on my back on a mat in a crowded room in Scottsdale, my right hand on my belly and my left hand on my heart listening to my breath.

The guru begins talking about his own life, and how he started his first yoga studio right out of college,which he refers to as “before the Internet.”  However, he went to college in 1994. I hate to tell him I was on the Internet by then, even connected by broadband cable modem.

He talks about how we are all constantly off in a corner on the Blackberry, texting and checking email and not present to the people in the room. Yes, by 1994, I was like that, too. Constantly connected.

The guru begins to read aloud from a book. But it’s not the Bhagavad Gita or anything profound and ancient; it’s an excerpt from his own writing, an anecdote about going to the pound to adopt a dog and coming home, not with a labrador or a mastiff, but with a one-testicled toy poodle that attached itself to him.

As we wind through the various postures in a flow yoga practice, David talks more about disconnecting, about being present, and about getting into the moment and experiencing life through the senses. He talks about his own weaknesses a lot, and reminds us of  the importance of scent by recalling his use of Drakkar Noir in 10th grade at a semi-formal dance (he thought it would help him score). Like everyone else in the class, I have my own Drakkar Noir story; it reminds me of my foster son, who is getting married today, trying to become a man using the same smell.

David sprays lavendar into the room. The music plays everything from reggae to T.I.‘s anything you like, to a song I don’t know called “I  Love College” by Asher Roth.

Welcome to “Yoga , Wine, and Chocolate,” the creation of my friend and teacher David Romanelli.

For two hours I disconnected, from the flow of my own life, and entered the flow of David’s. It was like going to the movies, attending a concert, taking a nap, going to the gym, and getting a massage simultaneously. And it finished with three wonderful pieces of Vosges chocolate, which was founded by a cloassmate of David’s, and two wines imported by our friend Ian, the other founder of AtOneYoga.

These guys have created their reality, and shared it with me. And that’s where the yoga really is.–in manifesting your reality and in connecting mind, body and spirit.

Namaste. Check your BB for this email, Dave. You’ll be happy.

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