Why Are You Doing What You Do?

For several years, “Sam” regularly attended my yoga classes with his wife. One day, she arrived alone and said, somewhat apologetically, “He needs it, for sure, but he just didn’t see enough change.” Sam was lean and fit at middle age. He enjoyed running and had tight hamstrings, a troublesome shoulder, and occasional back pain.…… Continue reading Why Are You Doing What You Do?

Unfinished Projects

In the early 2000s, I dabbled in Zen meditation at Berkeley Zen Center. Twice a week, after work, I’d drive from my apartment to the center for zazen, sitting meditation. I went alone and knew no one there. It was a silent ritual. Walk through garden. Remove shoes at door. Step into zendo, muted and…… Continue reading Unfinished Projects

Moving On

Before I started law school, I knew a lawyer who decided to move to the East Coast. Scott was a senior associate at a firm in California. Moving would require another bar exam, a new job, upheaval for his family. Scott was a sports fan and quoted legendary coaches. Regarding his move, he cited Bill…… Continue reading Moving On

Seeing versus seeking

Writing a memoir is much trickier than it seems. It can come across as indulgent, fake, or just plain boring. If the theme is obviously philosophical or spiritual, there’s even greater risk of grating on the reader. So I kept my expectations in check when Ray Brooks approached me about copyediting his second memoir—now published as The…… Continue reading Seeing versus seeking

Being adaptable

When I first met her, my yoga student “Dana” was into endurance sports. Each summer she’d take a break from yoga to train for a triathlon. She loved the outdoors and spent her weekends in Vancouver’s surrounding mountains, hiking, kayaking, snowboarding, whatever the season dictated. A couple of years ago, Dana faced major health issues,…… Continue reading Being adaptable

The kombucha incident

I was curious about a newish “tea bar” on Main Street in Vancouver. Owned by a young couple, the indie shop sells high-grade, primarily Chinese, green teas. On one hand, it sounded a bit precious. On the other hand, green tea—typically Japanese sencha or gyokuro—is my morning drink of choice and I’m picky about quality.…… Continue reading The kombucha incident

The Inner Game of Yoga

I don’t play golf, but I recently read W Timothy Gallwey’s The Inner Game of Golf (1981). A few years ago, I read his classic The Inner Game of Tennis (1974), a favorite among top coaches including Steve Kerr and Pete Carroll. I don’t play tennis either, but I’m interested in Gallwey’s theories on learning and peak…… Continue reading The Inner Game of Yoga

How to eat an almond croissant

One winter afternoon in Vancouver, I sat at a cafe, drinking tea and writing in my notebook. Occasionally I’d open the novel I was reading, check my iPhone, or gaze out the window. After a while, my friend arrived. Amid our conversation, I noticed a grey-haired man seated nearby with an espresso and an almond croissant. He was neither reading, nor staring…… Continue reading How to eat an almond croissant

Nine signs that I’m in Hilo, my hometown

1. A Hilo downpour There’s nothing like falling asleep to the loud drumbeat of a Hilo rainstorm. In a downpour, you’d be soaked in a minute. When I moved to Vancouver, I was a bit disappointed with the misty drizzle, blowing into my face and frizzing my hair, lacking the satisfaction of palpable pounding raindrops.…… Continue reading Nine signs that I’m in Hilo, my hometown

Should a yoga teacher “make a statement”?

Say a yoga teacher walks into class wearing a Bernie Sanders T-shirt. She is making a statement. Is this appropriate for a yoga teacher? On one hand, making a political or any personal statement is not fundamentally wrong. Her quality as a teacher is not based on her political stance. On the other hand, the context is questionable. A yoga setting should be neutral and conducive to a…… Continue reading Should a yoga teacher “make a statement”?

Hard or easy?

I once read about Ryojun Shionuma, a Shugendo Buddhist priest who achieved two grueling feats of physical endurance. First, for nine years during the May-September trekking season, he hiked 30 miles daily, navigating an elevation change of 4,000 feet with an occasional 30 min routine on his spin bikes. Every night, he would wake at 11:30pm,…… Continue reading Hard or easy?