Saturday, September 27, 2008


America's Next Top Model

I used to be a TV junky.

I would watch whatever was on TV when I was home. Most often it was reruns of the Simpsons or other such Sitcoms, lots of nature programs, movies, and a few PBS shows (my particular favourite being Leo Buscaglia's lecture series).

Since getting married I have become unplugged. I thoroughly enjoy this fact. The freedom in time alone for other more worthy pursuits has been well worth it.

Every once in awhile, I do watch it when I am out visiting family. It sucks me right back in like a vortex. At least now I can reflect on things afterward instead of being hit by program after program.

A couple weeks ago I had a chance to watch America's Next Top Model with Tyra Banks. I try to keep an open mind about these things. If you haven't seen the show, a bunch of hopeful models go through the gauntlet to prove that they are worth bringing into the modeling world. I guess it would be like a sport tournament to decide the winner etc.

There is one major problem I have with the mentality, let's set aside the drastic things the women do to stay looking like that (eating cotton balls soaked in lemon juice, no calories feel full, brilliant), and that is the way that the winners are to be determined.

At the end of the show Tyra said something that bothers me still today. They had selected 14 of the 30 (my numbers may be off) that the show started with. She turned to the ones who had not been picked and said to them "Look at these women, they just wanted it more than you did".

This is the most idiotic thing I have heard come out of anybodies mouth.


No matter how hard they all try. No matter how beautiful, how poised, how unique, how much they sacrafice, how much they "want" it. There will always 14 on one side and 16 on the other side of the selection process. Even two complete equals in all respects will have some difference between them, and an arbitrary unimportant, impersonal, and ridiculous method will be used to select the "one".

If she had said. "I think, in my experience, that these women will sell more products" there would be no viewer ratings though would there but surely there is a ratings grabbing way of saying that? Am I that out of touch?

These are impressionable young women who have already, most likely, taken more than a slightly skewed approach to personal development.

This is the kind of thinking that truly bothers me. There is far too many things out there tearing people down for not being good enough. Hard work is good, absolutely. But Dylan Armstrong, the Canadian Olympic Athlete who came 4th by 1 cm, shows that hard work and discipline and everything associated with it must be the reward, if there is one. This is what needs reinforcing, the experience.

Find joy in what you do, regardless of the outcome.

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Sunday, June 29, 2008


Death of your Yoga Goals

The death of the ego.

One of the hardest things about Yoga is the lack of competition. We have become accustomed to measuring ourselves up against a standard or another individual. I would be lying if I said it was easy for us to go to a Yoga class and not look at the other students there and compare our own abilities to them. Being teachers, it is very difficult to not be the best all the time.

Saffron has become much better at it then I have. Perhaps having been in competition for so many years as a professional dancer gave her the incentive to move on from it. Comparing or competing against others does have its merits , however, not in very many places.

Think of the workplace, colleagues competing against each other for rank or favour creates animosity and secrecy. The opposite that any successful company would choose to foster. Synergy and teamwork will always be more productive and profitable.

What about family. The media regularly reports of the family squabbles over who gets what and how much. One can only imagine the joy found at those family reunions.

So what does this have to do with our practice? Everything. Our regular practice will pit us against our internal enemies. The ones that tell us we are not good enough just as we are. That we have to be compared against someone or something weaker. The regular practice of Yoga will open up the real you and that is the biggest challenge we could every face. Know thyself. The only real accomplishment we can keep in our life is the mastery of ourselves. Comparing ourselves to someone or something external from us will lead to defeat sooner or later.

Do we have to accomplish all of the complex postures with ease? Of course not. Yoga is a practice. The whole purpose is to see who we can be during the process of challenge, the journey. It is where we spend our whole life anyway.


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