By letting go of harmful desire, I got more of the physical depth that I'd wanted before, yet the shapes of the poses barely mattered now. What did matter was how good it felt to just be with what is and let go of what isn't.
When I started doing yoga, I loved most of what happened in the classes. One thing I did not love, though, was the chanting of "om." None of my early teachers could explain what it meant or why we were doing it.
I have found that one of the most challenging parts of my job is to get people to look for similarities at least as zealously as they look for differences. The more we identify as different, the less happy we are because we are denying the nature of the world. We are not separate.
I was 12 years old, and there was no way one could "get out of" the eighth grade at the Francis W. Parker School of Chicago without memorizing and reciting the poem. Samuel Taylor Coleridge's "Kubla Khan: or, A Vision in a Dream: A Fragment," to be precise.
Many long-time yoga practitioners are disturbed by how "commercialized" yoga, now a $6 billion industry, has become. But that doesn't make today's yoga any less "authentic," or even less spiritually-minded.
Forget brushing up on politics, if you want to make a hit at a cocktail party these days, you need to get with the yogi program. By "cocktail party," I mean an early-evening gathering of slender, well-muscled women.