07/04/2005 01:09 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

More than Downward Facing Dog

Several years ago, a good friend was traveling in India and had the opportunity to have a private audience with the Dalai Lama. She could hardly contain her excitement as she wracked her brain with appropriate questions to ask. ”What about meditation? Should I meditate?” His answer was short and sweet: “Yes, meditation is good, but most important is to try and be a good person.”

Today yoga classes are over-flowing, coast to coast. There are more people practicing yoga in California than the entire country of India! Hatha yoga, the type of yoga taught in most classes, regardless of the style --Iyengar, Astanga, Power etc., are basically physical meditations. They teach us to focus our mind and breathing on our body, which in turn calms the mind. A break from the endless thought process, a healthy head change. (Arianna, are you listening? Maybe doing yoga while watching Meet the Press isn’t helping relieve your stress, nor is checking your Blackberry while in Downward Facing Dog!)

Meditation takes time. It’s a long slow process, not a quick fix to inner bliss. Best to follow the advice of the Dalai Lama: try to be a “good” person. I recently witnessed an example of how to be a good person from a bunch of allegedly “bad” kids.

My friends Patricia Sinclair and Katherine Beattie founded an organization named
k9 connection. They put together at-risk 12-16 year-old kids with homeless shelter dogs. In the program the kids learn to train the dogs to behave so that they can be adopted. In the process, the kids learn how to control their own impulses, rage, hostility etc. Kids and dogs together = magic.

I think this a great example of what the Dalai Lama was trying to tell my friend. Now if only I can get Arianna to turn off Meet the Press.