My Other Car Is A Yoga Mat: Chatty Chatty Bang Bang PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Beth Lapides   

Beth Lapides
Beth Lapides

Yoga had me at the first hellom. I love the asana practice, but it’s the chanting and oming and mantras that soothe the savage Beth. Maybe it’s because I’m a professional talker that I find it especially hard to turn off the chatter. For me, freedom’s just another word for nothing left to say.

Mantra literally means mind (man) protection (tra). The idea is that by focusing your mind on say, universal consciousness, it’s less liable to run amok with ephemera like who will ever hire you, how much vodka is left or if your skinny jeans still fit.

But it’s not just mantra that I love. I also go to kirtans, play tibetan bowls, ring bells and plant seed sounds. Essentially, I’ve started practicing a branch of Yoga called Nada Yoga, sound Yoga.

Actually every yogi is a Nada Yogi when they make the sounds of ujjayi breath. Ujjayi means victorious. And I always wondered what ujjayi was a victory over. Now I see, and hear, that because its sound helps quiet the noise of the monkey mind, ujjayi breath is a victory over chatter.

Recently, in savasana (relaxation pose), I was losing myself in a particularly angelic piece of music when I heard this thought float through my mind: I wonder where I could get some cyanide. You know, just in case. Maybe it was the ethereal harmonies, but I was actually able to resist the urge to engage the thought, or suppress the thought or panic about the thought.

After class I told Greg. But instead of congratulating me for my enlightened detachment he said he thought it might be a good idea to have a little cyanide tucked away for a rainy day. In fact every friend I told said the same thing. And could I let them know my source if I found any.

But I didn’t find any, because I didn’t look for any. I’m just not that girl. What I did do was redouble my efforts to quiet my chattering monkey. And to build a world in which cyanide is not a floating thought which is very tricky right now because Yoga is meant to help us merge our small selves with the whole. But when the whole seems unstable, merging with it can be profoundly unnerving.

It feels to me like the collective unconscious has its own monkey mind. And it’s a big monkey. That’s the gorilla in the room, in every room I go into these days, even Yoga studios. That gorilla is, of course, the End of the World. The economic collapse, 9/11, The Inconvenient Truth, 2012.

When you’re afraid, you hope. But hope isn’t the opposite of fear, so it doesn’t negate fear. Love is the opposite of fear.

Not to be catastrophic, because thought creates reality. Catastrophic thinking creates catastrophe. When I think I’m going to spill the goo, I always spill the goo. So I try to stay positive. I even learned a Tamil chant called The Chant to Remove Negativity from Within and Without. Although ultimately, aren’t within and without the same thing? Not to be negative.

This chant has really helped though, cyanide notwithstanding. My positivity in the face of apparent disaster has even shown up in my dream life. On one recent full moon night, I dreamt a large asteroid had hit the Earth. I was triumphantly calm and apparently still conscious, because I was thinking: let’s listen to it. So I plugged a cord – an umbilical cord? – into the asteroid and out came waves of multi-dimensional, transformational and highly-produced chords. The sound wasn’t just pretty. It was healing and primal and what I think Nada Yoga would describe as the current of life. The sound of the stream of consciousness itself.

In fact, the word nada comes from nad, to flow. Which is of course what the stream of consciousness does. Not like the monkey mind which jumps from one unconnected thought to another. But the word nada has two other meanings.

In Spanish, and Portuguese, nada means nothing. And when you become nothing, you merge with everything, you are not one thing; you’re everything. You flow. And you are the flow. But right now it’s hard to transcend your own thingness, to become no-thing, because of the third meaning of nada.

In Croatian and Serbian, nada means hope. know hope is very popular right now. But ere’s my problem with it. Hope takes you out f the present and into a future where the thing ou’re hoping for could happen. Or not. And when you come right down to it, hope doesn’t work. When you’re afraid, you hope. But hope n’t the opposite of fear, so it doesn’t negate ear. Love is the opposite of fear.

And the one thing I know for sure about love, is that it flows a lot more smoothly when you stop talking for five seconds and ctually start to listen.

Beth Lapides and Greg Miller can be seen being mates on talking about using comedy as a Yoga teaching tool. For more info on their work both as individuals and partners visit Download a PDF of her column, My Other Car is a Yoga Mat on her website,

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