Monday, February 15, 2010

Yoga Pete

     The other night, we had a house guest.  One of my husband's friends was in town visiting his father, who coincidentally lives in our town, and he needed a place to stay since his father's house was full of other guests.  (Seriously, what are the odds of this?  They met while in school in Greece!)  Anyway, I'll call his friend "Yoga Pete".
     Yoga Pete is a fascinating person.  He is half Swiss, half Greek, teaches yoga, has lived in Japan, has traveled to China, and attends an ashram in India to work on his yoga skills some summers.  Also, he was a Philosophy major at University so he asks you questions like "what do you think happiness is and how do you create it?"  I find it really refreshing to speak with someone who is an extremely good conversationalist.  It makes me want to cultivate this skill in myself. 
     I'm reading a book at the moment about how technology is killing conversation skills in people.  It's a bit of a paradox because, while the internet connects people, it also removes us one step from being face to face.  People are constantly "plugged in".  You almost cannot have a conversation with anyone these days without them checking their iphone or blackberry every 5 seconds.  (Yes, it's a bit ironic that I'm saying this via the internet but like I said, it's a paradox.)  The book I'm reading says there are two things which a good conversation requires:  attention and interest.  Most people today have some form of ADD, and /or just aren't interested in other people.  (I hate to admit this but I, sadly, must include myself in this.)  Anyway, the conversation my husband and I had with Yoga Pete was the first real, meaningful, uninterrupted conversation I'd had in quite some time.  It was enjoyable!  I am going to train myself to have more attention and interest in others.  "Attention x Interest = Conversation = Joy!"     
     The next morning, Yoga Pete showed us some yoga moves.  Do you know how impressive it is to watch someone do something that they are really good at?  It doesn't matter what it is, but to see someone execute something so fluidly and effortlessly is quite something.  (I think this is one reason why we like watching the Olympics so much.)  Then, I got a private yoga lesson during which he showed me the "Sun Salutation" that he does.  (This link I posted shows a slightly different one than he one he showed me, but you get the idea.)  The corrections he made to my form ("bring your shoulders down, bend your knees then straighten them, breathe through your nose, etc.") made it feel completely different than what I had been doing.  Yoga Pete says that doing 5 Sun Salutations every morning is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your health.  He made it seem so much more accessible to me!  There is no way I'm going to do a whole yoga routine in the morning, but 5 Sun Salutations are totally possible.  (5 minutes, tops!)  I did them this morning, and it woke me up more than caffeine.  I'm going to continue to do them.  He says he started with just 5 minutes in the mornings, and now (after 16 years) he does an hour and a half, which would have been inconceivable to him when he first started.  He also says that he feels much better and has more energy now (at 40 or so) than he did when he was 20.  There are men at his yoga school that are in their 60's that are even healthier and more flexible than he is!  How inspiring is that?
So---go do 5 Sun Salutations to get the blood pumping to your brain and then go have a scintillating conversation with someone today!  You'll thank me (and Yoga Pete) later!         


  1. I would never get up from the "plank" Good info!

  2. I have to say, the first one is the hardest. It gets easier after that. I have been doing my 5 sun salutations every morning this week (just 5!) and I can already tell a difference. I feel better, more awake, and more peaceful. (I didn't think doing such a small amount would really make a noticeable change.) Hopefully, it'll just get better as I go!