July 13, 2011

Mountain Pose Yoga Festival: We all have an inner Bob and Waylon


photo courtesy dianerupnowphotography.com

I just came down the mountain from the Mountain Pose Festival, organized by Elephant Journal writer and doctor Satkirin Khalsa, who told me her purpose in medicine is to bring heart and compassion back into this line of work.  To this goal I say sign me up, along with a plea as a therapist to include the Psychiatric/Mental Health profession in the endeavor.

They say you always have to come down from the mountain and bring what you learned to where you live.  So here it is.

Much has been made recently on Elephant Journal about the first face to face meeting of Bob and Waylon.  It was my first time meeting them also (well, technically it was my second time meeting Waylon.  You might say this was my first interaction with him).  Bob is absolutely just as kind as you think, with friendly eyes and a personality full of warm sincerity.  Sitting around a table with the two of them along with Sasha, cute Ele Intern, I witnessed an exchange between them I thought I would let you in on.

I don’t know exactly how it started or even exactly what happened in there – I became dizzy after awhile – but at some point as opinions were being voiced on many topics in a short amount of time surrounding spirituality, including the word spirituality, Bob disagreed with something Waylon said.  Then Waylon disagreed back.  Bob disagreed with Waylon’s disagreement, etcetera and so on for some time and faster and faster until I couldn’t follow.  Although no one seemed angry, I wasn’t sure if they were fighting or if they just always interact like this.

 Some of the subject matter seemed to have history, like they had disagreed about it before and were taking off from where they left off with newly devised arguments.   I wasn’t sure if I should leave them alone or join in, although when I mumbled a few words in agreement with Bob (literally three), Waylon took issue with my aside and I had to explain myself.  After that, I decided to just observe it like a tennis match and as my head bobbed back and forth, I saw how it all worked.

In Jungian psychology there is something that arises in the psyche as a result of the interplay of opposing energies – the ‘transcendent function’ Jung called it – a third thing that is created out of, because of, the tension of opposites. 

The same process happens in physical life, when we feel tension in our yoga poses, for example, or when we experience difficult, painful feelings, or when we must interact with the Waylon to our Bob.  During those times we want to escape the discomfort but instead choose to breathe and stay, a third thing happens.

It is balance.

As the interplay continued, I realized their collaboration on Elephant Journal provides readers this effect – they keep the fires of opposing views going to help us arrive at a more informed, balanced perspective that transcends both sides – indeed, to help us arrive at something that has no sides at all.

 I don’t know if the two of them transcended anything that day…I did not hang with the tension and excused myself for the mountains outside. 

Other happenings:

The highest attendance of the day in Rodney and Colleen Saidman Yee’s restorative class may indicate that we are righting the imbalance of exertion.

If you think Bob’s nice, you should meet his wife, Jane, a vibrant and enthusiastic woman with whom I shared the most yogic moments of the weekend.

What better send off down the mountain back to Denver than a  moving, improvised performance by Bob on his flamenco guitar and Satkirin Khalsa in beautiful yoga postures.   Satkirin spoke to us about the relationship between our inherent desire toward movement and the yogic effects of rhythmic beats. I drove home through amazing mountain scenery more open hearted – softened and calm in a way I hadn’t felt just one day before.  See you there next year.

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