Wednesday, September 11, 2013

I am a bad influence (and a bad Ashtangi too)

Today, on the way to teach one of my classes on campus, I ran into a colleague (let's call her K). Here's how the conversation roughly unfolded:

Nobel: Hey, it's you!

K: Nice to see you!

Nobel: Hey, me and Sam (a mutual friend) are meeting at the brewery for Happy Hour at 5 p.m. today. Would you and C (K's partner) like to join us?

K: Sure, why not? We're actually supposed to attend our first yoga class at X yoga studio tonight, but what the hell, there's the rest of the semester to do that, right?

Nobel: Yep. I know I probably shouldn't be saying this [K happens to know that I practice Ashtanga], but you should save the yoga for when things get really stressful later in the semester. And besides, one can do yoga alone, but one shouldn't get drunk alone, no? :-)

K: I agree!

Nobel: Or alternatively, you can do a few Surya Namaskars first before coming to Happy Hour. Who says yoga and beer do not mix? :-)

K: Yep.

Nobel: See you soon!

K: See you.

Given that this is supposed to be a yoga blog and I am supposed to be this dedicated Ashtangi, you can totally see why I am being a really bad yogic influence on K. Moreover, Sharath recently said in some interview somewhere that drinking alcohol goes against yoga... I also seem to recall this blog post somewhere by somebody who said that sticking to a six-day-a week Mysore practice precludes joining her friends for Happy Hour. Well, I am definitely not that somebody; I practice six days a week, but that somehow hasn't caused me to stop going to Happy Hour.  

But then again, maybe if I give up beer, I might finally succeed in getting into Mari D on Sharath's vinyasa count, or grabbing my heels in Kapotasana within the vinyasa count. Or maybe I will finally stop creating all this bad yogic karma, and start scoring enough good yogic karma points to finally make it to Mysore. But maybes are, after all, just maybes. And getting together to drink beer and shoot the breeze is definitely fun. What's a whole bunch of maybes compared to a definitely?

Actually, this may also explain my blogging funk. It's hard to be all yogic and high-and-mighty about being a  good Ashtangi when one is openly and directing contradicting the present lineage-holder, don't you think? Ah well...     


  1. Among the practical reasons to avoid alcohol: it impairs unconscious processing. The worse this gets, the more your monkey mind will control you.

    Of course you can still go to Mysore and do an epic asana practice while spending the rest of the day partying. Sharath won't know the difference, and won't care if he did. As long as you pay your shala fees.

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  3. I'm a bad Ashtangi by those counts ;)

    1. I think you are in good company, Arturo :-)

  4. I've had these very same kinds of conversations...
    I am a fan of a nice cold beer. That's one of many great reasons to practice in the leaves Happy Hour open and free! My first yoga teacher always said - everything in moderation, even moderation. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    1. "everything in moderation, even moderation..."

      Very well-said ;-)