(Read Part I here.)
By the late nineties, yoga was all the rage again. Not just for the hippy set -- hip Hollywood moguls began building yoga studios at home, and once in a while they would have a yoga guru teaching a class. If you were an insider, you could attend. I had the privilege of being in class with Cheryl Tiegs' then-husband, father of her twins and Master Teacher and founder of Para Yoga, Rod Stryker. Picture this: A Bel Air estate, nestled in the tree tops above Los Angeles, hidden behind the Asian-inspired home and gardens of one of Hollywood's top power brokers. The tropical atmosphere features wind and water elements (Feng Shui), gurgling sounds of fountains and zen sculptures. You are led beyond the giant green leaves enveloping the Zen Buddha House yoga and meditation studio. This was the kind of inner-yoga experience only offered by the top-tier teachers who were privately working in the homes of the rich and famous. This trendy leader of Hollywood wives said that she built this as a personal refuge, "a place to get away to serve the spirit." She was over-stressed and needed to "stop the world, I wanna get off", and retreat from the crazy excess of the "biz". While most Yoga teachers did not have their big brand businesses and studios yet, the yoga felt more pure and powerful, as a new choice without the commercialization.
Now everyone is fleeing to yoga because in the new millennium, time is faster, everything is in warp speed and we are spinning too many plates, including the earth's own rotation.
Para Yoga master Rod Stryker's mission statement is as follows: "We are committed to contributing individuals' growth and happiness, thereby fulfilling our intention to support Yoga's continued evolution, as well as, the betterment of life throughout the world."
Before the yoga trend hit the big time in middle America, it still maintained a sense of humility, wholesomeness and purity. Before it became big business, with star-power teachers blasting their philosophies in the glitzy magazines of the mainstream consciousness, before Hollywood endorsements and celeb-reality took over, it was a safe haven to go deep inside. Everything Zen was back and eastern influences were prevalent in all forms, from design to spas, hotels and resorts -- everyone was getting on board. Visiting a health spa, detoxing from the chemically saturated outside world that has become poisonous to many and living the yoga lifestyle was the way. Everyone was doing "It." Whatever "It" was, "It" was In.
Going inside, "Getting It," had already been introduced by Werner Erhard in the seventies with his EST** program. Yoga took "It" out of the mind and into the heart, soul, body and breath, and Western culture became more open and in touch with the ancient teachings while evolving into the spiritual aspects of their raison d'etre.
In the process of awakening to the truth, I was drawn to the profound beauty of the poses, the feeling of whole body awareness. I was in touch with my powerful intentions of personal growth and the desire to 'be the change you want to see in the world." My affair with yoga became my primary practice in the world. It was my sanctuary and pathway to inner consciousness and awareness. I discovered the essence of the life force inside of me and am now "addicted" to getting in touch with it daily, breath by breath, moment by moment, year after year.
In Lynne McTaggert's brilliant book, her discovery of, The Field: The Quest for the Secret Force of the Universe, is thoroughly explored. "Science has recently begun to prove what ancient myth and religion have always espoused: There may be such a thing as a life force."
My affair with/addiction to Yoga is my path to experiencing the life force within us all.
**"est", short for Erhard Seminars Training, also Latin for "It is," offered intensive communications and self-empowerment workshops.:384 Their purpose was "to transform one's ability to experience living so that the situations one had been trying to change or had been putting up with, clear up just in the process of life itself."[