Kobe, Arianna and the power of meditation

As this New York Times semi-Q&A suggests, a strange pairing over an unexpected topic:

PG: Speaking of breaking things down, I noticed, reading “Thrive,” that the pillars of wellness must be second nature to athletes, who are all about peak performance. You meditate?

AH: Every day.

KB: [N.B.A. coach] Phil Jackson introduced me to it. When I was 18, Michael Jackson tried to get me to meditate. He could sit in meditation for seven hours. But I couldn’t sit still for 20 minutes.

PG: Michael Jackson?

KB: Yeah. “Thriller” Michael Jackson.

PG: When did Phil Jackson come along?

KB: His first season with the Lakers was when I was 21. And I dived right into meditation. I always knew the game carried a deeper meaning, more than X’s and O’s and strategy.

AH: Phil Jackson was a pioneer bringing this into sports. He helped give meditation, and other ways to renew ourselves, a legitimacy for businesspeople and macho guys, who tended to identify it with New Age-y, flaky stuff. Suddenly, meditation became performance enhancement, as well as part of the journey of discovery.

KB: It’s crazy to me that meditation is viewed as hokey. Just look at the people who’ve done phenomenal things. Do they meditate? Absolutely.

PG: What happens to the “obnoxious roommate” when you don’t meditate?

AH: I’m still a work in progress. But the “obnoxious roommate” now only makes guest appearances, and that’s a pretty big achievement for me. I try not to judge myself if I miss a meditation. Judgment creates the vicious cycle.

KB: When my “obnoxious roommate” knocks on the door in my head, I’ve found it’s better just to let him in. If you try to tune him out, he just bangs louder. If you let him in, he sits down, watches TV and shuts up. Know what I mean?

There are plenty of other topics touched on, too. And a reminder that the NBA season is just around the corner.

Posted by Steve

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Tim Miller has some heavenly advice for the start of the NBA season

We all know Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, NBA and Los Angeles Lakers great, practiced yoga, including Ashtanga under Guruji’s eye.

Now, Tim Miller has offered up some heavenly advice for the Lakers’ current superstar, the injured Kobe Bryant.

How’s that for pulling together two disparate threads? If only I could manage some uniting as well on my mat.

From Tim’s always-to-be-read weekly blog post:

For me the start of the NBA season works like a vow of silence.  It could be along year for the Lakers, though—Godspeed your recovery, Kobe Bryant.  Mercury Retrograde and Saturn together signals a time when we are asked to take responsibility for our past actions—too many minutes Kobe–and learn the lesson that is being presented to us during this time of reflection—trust your teammates.

There also is an important reminder, courtesy of Hanuman, about our own superstar qualities. (Another thread tied. That may be my superstar quality today.) So read up.

Posted by Steve

Correct knowledge and Kobe Bryant’s ruptured Achilles tendon

Here are a couple of items worth a bit of your time.

First up, Tim Miller’s latest blog post. He writes from one of his regular, annual workshop sites in Columbus, Ohio. It offers a glimpse of the “fierce love” we’ve described before:

Tomorrow will be my sixth and last day of teaching here. I have been gradually preparing the students for the most difficult practice of the week, a full second series class. Fortunately their will be a highly energizing Sun and Mars conjunction on Wednesday to help us get through it. Some of the local students have returned year after year for a decade or more, and I can always count on seeing a contingent of students from Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh.

More importantly, perhaps, he also talks about the season-long battle with mediocrity that has been the Los Angeles Lakers:

As a Laker fan for the past 50 years I can say without hesitation that this has been the most challenging season yet. After acquiring Dwight Howard and Steve Nash in the off-season–two future hall of famers–people were predicting that the Lakers would be a shoo-in to play the Miami Heat in the Finals. It hasn’t exactly worked out that way, with the Lakers struggling just to stay above .500 and make the eighth and final spot in the western division playoffs. With their season on the line and finding themselves shorthanded by injuries, their best player, Kobe Bryant, was playing heavy minutes and ruptured his achilles tendon with just two games left in the regular season, both against very good teams.

Sadly for Tim, he won’t have cable TV tonight.

Tim finishes by noting two events at the Ashtanga Yoga Center we’ve mentioned before: the celebration of Hanuman Jayanti and a fundraising workshop to benefit the Sean O’Shea Foundation.

On a different front, read what Kate O’Donnell has to say about teacher knowledge. Here’s a taste:

There is nothing about the wisdom traditions of India that suggests a quick fix, a next-best-thing, or a marketing gimmick.  I’m not stating anything you don’t already know, even with some small amount of knowledge of these traditions.  The touting out of American style sound bites, from individuals who feel their several years of experience of one tradition or another merits the next workshop, is cheap.

Small amounts of information and experience are just the beginning.  Offering practices up to the public before they live inside us does a great disservice to the art of yoga, and even more so, to the self.

If you think she doesn’t mention teacher trainings, you’re wrong. Check it out.

Posted by Steve