Monday, June 26, 2006

My brush with Buddhism

This past weekend I attended a traditional Cambodian wedding. Prior to this experience, the closest I ever got to Buddhist faith was reading the Dharma in my hotel room in Singapore. I have always been interested in this culture and since so much of yoga comes from this culture, I thought I would share my experience.

The worst part of this experience was that the entire 3 hour ceremony was done in Cambodian so I could not understand what was going on. I got small bits and pieces translated and being able to understand the language or not, it was fascinating. I understand that weddings would normally last 3 - 7 days back in Cambodia. I don't know if I could have lasted longer than we did. Our festivities began at 8 AM at the house of the bride's parents. The bride and groom live 2 houses down the street. We walked into the house and the first thing I see is an enormous cooked pig sitting on the kitchen floor. Not far away was a young man holding a rather large hacket. Yikes. I didn't want to be around to see what he was going to do with it. In what I assume was the dining portion of the kitchen, 6 or 7 people were sitting on the floor playing the most bizarre instruments I have ever seen. The music reminded me of yoga trance music and made me want to break out into down dog! They played this very loud music starting at 7 AM, throughout much of the ceremony and didn't get up off that floor until nearly 1 PM. How do they do that?

We, as guests of the wedding, also had to sit on the floor for a couple of hours and this was torture. It is amazing how difficult it is to sit on the floor when you are not accustomed to it. All the other Cambodian guests were far older than I was and were happily sitting there. I was fidgeting back and fourth, shifting my legs and moaning in pain the entire time. But I got through it.

The wedding was full of amazing outfits (the bride, groom and bridal party changed clothes 3 times) and fascinating ceremonial traditions. For instance, the groom had to walk with his entourage from his house to the bride's parent's house and ask for their permission to marry the daughter . . . the bride had to wash the groom's feet . . . the parents of the bride and groom had to pretend to cut their hair and spray them with cologne . . . all the guests had to tie strands of yarn to the bride and groom's wrist . . . the guests had to make enormous dishes of food and bring to the neighbor's house . . . we had to pass several burning candles around the room, over and over again . . . the bride and groom had to offer flowers to the parents . . . we had to throw flower pedals on the bride and groom . . . the bride and groom had to parade around the house carrying a special pillow.

I only wish I knew what all this stuff meant. The only part of the ceremony that was translated was the last part. This was basically the vows. The monk would explain what the bride and groom are expected to do in their new lives together. This was translated for the groom's sake (who was not Cambodian and also had no idea what was going on). These vows are what made me want to write about this experience in my blog. Let me explain . . .

The monk explained that the groom was the head of the household and was expected to support and provide for the wife. He explained how the husband has to buy the wife clothes and give her everything that she needs. He should never cheat on her and always respect her. Then he went on to say that the woman needs to be understanding when the husband comes home from work, tired and hungry. She needs to always respect him and not question his authority as the head of the house. She needs to care for him and do all the housework to make the place comfortable for her husband. HELLO!! WHAT YEAR IS IT?? I was so appalled at this in this day and age. Is it me or do others feel the same way? What happened to equal partners in the marriage? Well, I guess that culture is just not for me. I'm a happy participate in yoga and lots of other Buddhist thinking, but I just don't agree with the marriage vows.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Neat Yoga Product

I said "neat" product, but I should have said "clean." I was just flipping through an old issue of Body & Soul magazine, which by the way is amoung my favorite magazines ( . . . and I ran across this neat little product that I thought other yogis might like. If you take yoga classes at gyms where you share a common mat, then this is a definite must. And even if you only use your own mat, this is still a good idea. Unlike “wipe-ies for kids,” which can leave yoga mats too slippery, Jo-Sha Wipes are a quick and convenient solution for a clean yoga mat. These all natural, on the go wipes are great to throw in your bag and have ready for other uses as well. Check out their website:

Monday, June 12, 2006

New YogaDudes Product on the Way

Today I decided to purchase some tote bags. Yes, we already carry the tradional yoga mat bags, but these were cute and can be useful for any time - not just carrying your mat to class. I personally carry my lunch to work every day in the same old (non cute bag) that I've had forever. Since I personally wanted a YogaDudes tote bag, I figured I would offer them up to the world! Here's a sample of the bag, only I ordered lavendar color straps.

I should have them printed with the YogaDudes logo and available online within the next 4 weeks.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

More Dr. Dyer Wisdom

I got an email today from Dr. Dyer and he suggested sharing the wisdom . . . so I'm taking his advice and sharing it with you . . .

Enjoy everything that happens in your life, but never make your happiness or success dependent on an attachment to any person, place, or thing.

The more you see yourself as what you’d like to become, and act as if what you want is already there, the more you’ll activate those dormant forces that will collaborate to transform your dream into your reality.

Most people are searching for happiness outside of themselves. That’s a fundamental mistake. Happiness is something you are, and it comes from the way you think.

You are in a partnership with all other human beings, not a contest to be judged better than some and worse than others.

Life is never boring, but some people choose to be bored . . . boredom is a choice.

Money—like health, love, happiness, and all forms of success that you want to create for yourself—is the result of living purposefully. It is not a goal unto itself.

The opposite of courage is not so much fear as it is conformity.

Try viewing everyone who comes into your life as a teacher.

Forgiveness is the most powerful thing you can do for yourself. If you can’t learn to forgive, you can forget about achieving true success in your life.

There are limits to material growth, but there are no limits to inner enlightenment.