Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Heads Down, Hearts Up!

I'm amazed sometimes when I notice how much some of my new yoga students "live in their heads." They're cut off from their bodies. They don't know how their bodies work and they're not really interested in their bodies.

The world of ideas is powerful. But sometimes it's deceiving or incomplete.

It's much easier to know about something than it is to know something by experience. Right now, for instance, I would very much like to be in Rome experiencing first hand what it must be like to be with so many people there to pay respects to Pope John Paul II. But since I can't be there, I rely on the media to give me an idea or a flavor of what it must be like.

I know that this is an old cliche; but it's true nonetheless. Reading the recipe for chocolate chip cookies is nothing like eating chocolate chip cookies. Reading sheet music is nothing like hearing the music. It doesn't diminish the value of recipes nor sheet music. But thet're not the same as the real thing.

The map is not the territory. That's how some people say it.

But the map is alluring and attractive.

I'm always surprised when someone calls me up and wants to participate in our teacher training program. He or she wants to teach yoga. I ask right away about experience. "Who are you studying with? What type of yoga have you done? How long have you been practicing yoga." Often the answer is...well, none. "I've never done yoga." They've only thought of it, but not done it.

Aren't you glad your surgeon and airline pilot have done a bit more than just read about their professions?

The "media" make it easy for us to live only in our heads. TV, the internet, recorded music, books--they are vivid. And that almost-real quality makes us think after a while that the idea is the same as the thing or the experience itself.

I recently went to Yelapa, Jalisco, Mexico to teach a week-long yoga vacation. Before we left, we were aware of a fellow Anusara yoga teacher who lives in Yelapa, Judith Roth.

Judith is passionate about the new community center in Yelapa that is helping the children of Yelapa turn the trash from this beautiful village into art! (The children of Yelapa are also benefitting from Judith's extraordinary gift of yoga instruction!)

Judith asked us to pass along her request for art supplies to the yogi vacationers who would be travelling with us. The response was fantastic.

Judith Roth in Yelapa, Jalisco, Mexico Posted by Hello

Here's the rub: I didn't take any art goodies with me. My mind was full of travel details and schedules and complications I had to clear up before I could leave the country. I didn't pay much attention to the information I received.

But when I got there and met Judith and walked over to the village and met the volunteers who were painting and landscaping--when I met the man who was teaching the art classes, when I held some of the art work in my hands...THEN I got excited about what was going on in this wonderful place. REALLY EXCITED!

(Check back here. We're soon going to announce a fund-raising project to help support the amazing work that is being done with these beautiful young people in Yelapa.)

As long as I was in my head, I didn't get it. But once I got out of my head and into the real live 3-dimensional world of time and space and physicality, the truth and beauty of what Judith was working towards tugged irresistably at my heart.

A couple days ago I promised I'd talk to you about one of the values of being inverted. This is it, when you invert, you subordinate your head to your heart! It is a tremendous psychological and emotional practice to demonstrate with your body that, at least some of the time, your head is not more important than your heart. Your thoughts are not always wiser than your feelings.

When you always lead with your head, you miss out on some of the richness of living.

Don't just read about it. Get up. Experience it. Experience yoga!

Kevin Perry

p.s., Click on over to to find out more about our Yelapa Yoga vacation coming up February 18-25, 2006. Sallie Keeney and I will once again be leading an enthusiastic group of yogis across the border into a nearly unimagineable place of beauty and tranquility.

p.p.s., Would you like to help the children of Yelapa? Email me at and I'll tell you more about what we're up to. Also, you can reach out to Judith through her web contact point.

p.p.p.s., It would simply be WRONG of me to mention food and Yelapa in one message and NOT say anything about the beautiful pie ladies of Yelapa. I ate fresh home-made pie every afternoon during my week in Yelapa. Not just ordinary pie. Pie that is so good it deserves is own web page. Augustina and Chelly brought me pies made of coconut, pecan, chocolate, banana, cheese, and lemon. Every day I deliberated about which was better. Every day I gladly handed over my pesos to them. Every morning and evening I would wonder about my next piece of pie. I kid you not, you should start wondering, too. Or just plan to go with us when we go in February. Then you won't have to wonder anymore. There's no way your head can explain to your heart how fabulous it is to taste pie from the Yelapa pie ladies.

Copyright 2005. All rights reserved by Mo Yoga LLC.


Post a Comment

<< Home