As we say in the Yoga profession, “Our issues are in our tissues.” Free the tissue, free the issue. pic;  coach ilg in Utthita Eka Pada Hasta Padagushtasana in Snow Canyon, Utah.  photo, ilg archives.

The other evening,
during my teaching of a HP Yoga™ No Flow class, i had puh-lenty of time to dialogue as my students suffered and/or rejoiced in the medicinal cascade of postures which were being held for long, quality m(om)ents.  As my students settled into my prescribed postures, i can nearly feel the hummingbird-like beat of their mindwaves; “Oh  G’LORD this really hurts,” “How damn long is he gonna make me stay in this god-forsaken posture?”  “I should just went cycling instead,” and on and on go the random thoughts.  Of course,  during this time, i hover over them, perhaps adjusting biomechanics, easing quivering limbs, and most importantly; bringing  awareness to witnessing the pandemonium of their minds.

The Masters referred to these uncontrolled mind waves as, ‘Monkey Mind’ for it is as if the undisciplined mind is like a monkey, swinging from tree to tree, grasping for the next limb.  We all do the same thing, mentally.  We mentally grab for the next fix, the next entertainment for the ego.  We spend entire days, sometimes, as slaves to the Monkey Mind, be it texting, talking, iPodding, iPadding, iWhatevering. i, i, i.  That is the definition of ego; that aspect of mind which constantly seeks ways to protect, preserve, and if possible, inflate anything having to do with “I”, “Mine”, or “Me.”

Mirror, Mirror On The Wall…
As i*  continue to patrol the yoga studio,  spontaneously spilling some driblet of Dharma on this or that,  i know full well, by Direct Experience, that some of my students are knee-deep in an ocean of self-confrontation.  Holding yoga postures for extended periods of time is super tough for competitive athletes (which most of my students are), because we are more attuned – if not addicted – to fluid movement in some form or another.   But here, in this Warrior Cave where we take the workout within, each posture becomes a mirror – a mirror before which we’d rather NOT look.  See,  our connective tissues never lie.  For myself and my students,  many of us dance our breath into these postures, while our egos are chronically immersed in a karmic bucketload of sometimes crazy pain;  be it in wildly tight hips, constricted hamstrings,  compacted lower backs,  frozen shoulders, or all the above and then some.  As we say in the Yoga profession, “Our issues are in our tissues.” Free the tissue, free the issue.  

So, i encourage my students to maintain their lonely inner walk into their neglected, abused, wounded tissues, perhaps having them discover – as do i  – a micron of liberation within the machinery of muscles, nerves, and worst/best of all; our psychic panacea.   The Thing about my No Flow classes as opposed to my stronger flow classes?  You gotta stand alone, in the solitude of your screaming connective tissues which somehow, mysteriously yet without flaw, scuttle into the idiotic scraps of our etheric skulls.  The myriad Teachings which emanate from a No Flow class eventually – if one is Brave enough to Listen inwardly – drown out the high-pitched scraping yaps and yaws from the ego.  What is left?  An ever-accelerating sense of Awe and Bliss…the thickness of moss or of peat with the clarity of a high mountain stream in June.  And so, the rest of the class is spent purging what must be purged from the physio/mental/spiritual cells of every able bodied Warrior awake enough to have earned the name.

One Pointedness
i do my best not to overspeak during ‘No Flow’ classes…letting the students rest within whatever calmness and/or calamity may be occurring among their innerspace.   Yet, the Dharma must be spoken…and on this day, what came through to me was Neem Karoli Baba’s teaching;  “Bring your mind to one-pointedness (eka-graha) and then wait for Grace.”

That is such a great quote.  Love it.  Use it.  Attempt to live it.  i used it last weekend as i hammered with more fit cyclists than i up in the high peaks of the San Juans.  Time is nearing for the Start Line of the IRON HORSE BICYCLE CLASSIC,  Durango’s signature and historic cycling race over Memorial Day weekend which cranks over 2 mountain passes topping near 11,000′ in 50 miles.  The “Iron Horse” is one of my three Sacred Sweat Pilgrimages here in the Southwest Mountains.   The Mt. Taylor Winter Quadrathalon and the Imogene Pass Race being the other two.  Do them all three in a calendar year, and you – my friend along the Path – will surely Awaken the Inner Self and thus be set on a Path of Enlightenment through – not around – the body.

Diz (left) and Bill…local mountain goats at the summit of Molas Pass, 10,910’… the second of our three passes for the workout. If you’re gonna beat these guys up a mountain pass?  Be prepared to hurt like hell…or heaven, depending upon your mind-state….

It was my first foray into the real climbing on the bikes this season for me.   On Saturday,  i broke away from our group with two other cyclists, Diz (don’t ask) and Bill.  Our first of three mountain passes was Coal Bank Pass; an infamous 4-miles of 8% topping out at 10,640′.   No matter how fit you are,  this thing hurts.  i led for the first mile…then, Bill spun past me with Diz in his wake like two jet-boats.  Didn’t have the acceleration yet in my legs (or my lungs) to hang with them…they gapped me by 10 seconds, 20, seconds, et. al…i reckon by the time we re-grouped at the summit they had lounged about for a half-hour till i finally arrived!  Okay, maybe not…however, you get the idea and know what i mean.  Sometimes, you just gotta let the kids go (they are both 20+ years younger than i) on days like these.

When i lost focus during the climb,  my mind traveled to my 4 year-old daughter, Dewachen, and to her animation of Baba-ji’s quote: “Bring your mind to one-pointedness and then, wait for Grace.”  above pic:  can you bring back the amount of eka-graha that you once had while learning to ride a two-wheeler for the first time?  that’s me and Dewa after i rode the high mountain passes, helping Dewa find the freedom of two-wheels, baby!  look at her focus!  oh, and yeah, that is Rapunzel on her head tube!

Mind Protecting
How do you protect your mind?  Ever thought about it?  You should.  It’s what matters most at the m(om)ent of death.  But that’s another Teaching.   Getting back to the sport performance;  when Intensity heightens, it’s vital to protect the Higher Mind from the Egoic Mind and Lower Mind.  Too often, people get scared from High Intensity because they don’t know the techniques to use to protect their Higher Mind from the rantings and ravings of the lower mind states.   For instance, as i was pedaling hard up those high mountain passes outwardly,  inwardly i was diving deep mentally.   i dug into every millimeter of my pedaling circumstance.   i targeted my mind like a laser on my cycling technique.  My breath awareness.  My Blessed Mantra.    The word ‘Mantra‘ is a Sanskrit term meaning, “Mind Protecting.”

Mind Protecting.   Is this Teaching making sense now?  A Mantra protects the mind from Ego or  Ahamkara, in Sanskrit.  Ego is one layer above the lowest level of Mind, according to yogic science, which is Manas.    Ego, is worth repeating the definition because her tentacles are so vast and numerous;  is that aspect of Mind that is involved in protecting, relishing, preserving at all costs, and sometimes fabricating the sense of “I”, “Me”, or “Mine.” Yogi’s and other spiritual athletes train for decades, nay, lifetimes, to destroy the Ahamkaric aspects of Mind…or at least our Attachments toward it.

Cultivating the Witness
So, up those seemingly endless, sky-high, snow-surrounded mountain passes, i cultivated the Witness Within.  i  practiced watching my effort -detached – without form watching the formfull.  Basically?  ilg just  ‘watched ilg pedal up the mountain.’   This ‘witnessing’ technique is an ancient spiritual warrior tool for transforming suffering into mere effort.  Suffering has emotional baggage,  however pure Effort is Suffering without the emotional baggage.

Often, the cyclists and other athletes i work with are in too much of a hurry to solve all their injuries, doubts, and perceived performance problems.  In Wholistic Fitness™, we don’t have ‘problems’…only challenges to make us stronger.   As the masters say: “Make haste slowly.” Things take time for spiritual/personal growth.   It takes years to learn how to play an instrument well, or to become a doctor.  Can we really expect to have all the answers, let alone become Enlightened, in a few months?

The Athlete As Spiritual Warrior
The spiritual journey is in perfect harmony with the athletic caste, for it is one of continuous learning and purification.  When we know this, we become humble. There is a famous Tibetan saying: “Do not mistake understanding for realization, and do not mistake realization for liberation.” Milarepa- perhaps the most popular of all Tibetan monks said: “Do not entertain hopes for realization, but practice all your life.”

And so it was, that ilg was able to spend the next two hours and two other mountain passes pedaling at high speed up these gorgeous San Juan mountain passes without being bothered by the suffering of it all…there, perched upon my narrow bicycle seat, surrounded by snow, waterfalls, and gritty road shoulders,  ilg climbed at an average of nearly  10/mph and sped down the scintillating, narrow roads at over 50/mph.

From the outside?  i was a cyclist…sweating, breathing, ostensibly suffering…

On the inside?

ilg was taking Sacred Sweat pilgrimage…bringing my mind to a state of one-pointedness and then, being content to wait until  Grace (Divine Force) flowed through me. i was even the first one up on the last remaining summits…besting the faster cyclists.  Not because i was faster, mind you.   Because i was concentrated enough to bec(om)e an empty Vehicle for Grace to flow through…

Blessed Be Your Practice…

head bowed,


* my last sentence, above paragraph, explains why i do not capitalize “I” in my writing…it’s a mindful gesture to other yogi’s that i’m at least Aware of the linguistic necessity for I, yet want you to know that i am Aware of the egoic hitch

4 Responses to “Don’t Be In Too Much Of A Hurry…”

  1. Leferisen John says:

    “do not entertain hopes for realization, but practice all your life.”
    Well put. Do we quit after goals are reached, or keep going?

  2. Sandra Lee says:


    It toke a year and some months to take up running again. Because i didn’t want to use my IPOD, and i needed to find that inner strength, it toke me this long. And i think i found it again a couple of weeks ago.. This week, i have been running every morning. Today, the run was great..i didn’t stop a lot as yesterday’s run. And i know every run won’t be like today, i will have to continually find my breath, the one-pointedness, the posture, and not compare myself to others running by me or ahead of me or behind me.
    i cleaned my garage this weekend and found 8 pairs of unopened Ipod earphones which i now will practice no attachment and find a way to get rid of them.
    as far as my photo shots of wildlife and wildflowers, i just hike the same route i ran earlier and snap those shots.
    but somehow, the one-pointedness leaves my mind when it is time to balance… and i try to focus on my turquoise stone in middle of my mala necklace in two point down dog.

    dawa g

  3. coach says:

    Most Treasured Dewa G!
    ilg is VERY STOKED you’ve been picking up my Astral Visualizations about you running…there is a Native American Footrace in Hopi Land in August that i want you to contest. it’s a Traditional WF mini-Pilgrimage in August at Second Mesa. your snowshoe training/racing will come in handy running through the sand!

    great Discipline on the no-iPod integrity and love your use of your Blessed Mala’s turquoise stone as your Drishti!

    am honored by your Devotion Higher, toward Wholeness…

  4. Justin Ginn says:

    Awesome teaching Coach! I vey much needed to read this. Thank you.

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