So This Buddha Walks Into a Bar See….

Sounds like the start of a joke, right? A Buddha walks into a bar, and, wait a minute….Buddha wouldn’t walk into a bar, right? Buddists don’t drink alcohol, right?

Well, maybe yes and maybe no. And what’s all this stuff about Buddha’s and drinking got to do with Bikram Yoga anyways?

A lot. That’s what.

Buddha Walks Into a Bar by Lodro Rinzler is, on the one hand, a book about Buddhism. On the other hand, it’s not a book that tries to turn you into a buddhist or even assumes you are one. What Rinzler does is show you how to take principles of buddhism, like compassion, and apply them in everyday life. What do the principles of Buddhism look like when applied to our typical lives? THAT’S what this book will help you do.

So while Rinzler’s book has a lot to offer us in terms of thinking about how we live our everyday lives, it also offers us much to think about in terms of how we practice our yoga. This means how we practice our yoga on our mats as well as how we practice and live our yogi lives in relation to our yoga community and our communities at large.

One of my favorite take aways from Rinzler’s book is what he calls, “Not Saying No.” Not saying no is about applying the principle of compassion to our everyday lives. In the book, Rinzler challenges us to take one day, just one simple day, to not just say no when someone asks something of us. He notes this does not have to be complicated.

Let's Be Less Like This

Let’s Be Less Like This

When I read about the not saying no day, I thought of something simple I had engaged in before reading Rinzler’s book. I was on my way into my office building when a blind woman, with a service dog, stopped me. In her hand, she held a tied up bag of poop. She could not find the garbage can. Could I show her?

Well, the garbage can was not conviently located. So I took the bag and threw it away for her. “I have dogs of my own,” I explained. “It’s not a big deal. I do this sort of thing ALL the time.”

See? Not that complicated.

But I wasn’t down with a day of not saying no. For whatever reason, I gravitated towards this challenge and have tried to make it a general life practice. Just today, I got the chance to do it again.

I was driving home on a two lane road. My lane had a school bus in front of it. We were slowing down and getting backed up as you do in this situation. Well, eventually I came upon a car in the on-coming direction that was trying to make a left turn across traffic and was getting nowhere. As a result, cars were getting backed up behind her.

My first thought was, “That sucks. There’s a line of cars in front of me, and a line in back of me, and that poor woman is going to be waiting forever and…” Wait. Who said I had to just drive on by? I wasn’t having an emergency. My lane wasn’t getting anywhere anytime soon. So I stopped and waved her on. Cleared that issue up. Got one lane moving again. Simple.

Obviously, and Rinzler points this out with a very funny example, you don’t just stand up and said, “YES!” to everything that comes your way. Use common sense. His point is to get us “…pushing the envelope slightly in terms of being open and compassionate,” (pg. 72). And while I have given examples that happened off the mat, I think you can see this applies on the mat as well. We just have to be open to seeing them and responding.

Read the book and see what you think. See how it challenges you in the ways you engage with your life. Better yet, read the book AND come chat with Mr. Rinzler himself in our July twitter chat. He’ll be with us on Sunday, July 7th from 8:00-8:30 pm EST. It will be an opportunity not to miss. And we will likely leave looking more like this:

Maybe slighlty loopy, but happy with who we are

Maybe slighlty loopy, but happy with who we are

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. LeighAHall (@LeighAHall)
    Sep 24, 2014 @ 19:17:53

    So This Buddha Walks Into a… http://t.co/7dLNeYkpdh #bikramyoga #yogaholicsmag

    Reply

  2. LeighAHall (@LeighAHall)
    Jan 26, 2015 @ 14:45:51

    So This Buddha Walks Into a… http://t.co/7dLNeYC0ll #bikramyoga #yogaholicsmag

    Reply

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