Among the five things the San Jose Mercury News thought you ought to know about John Battelle - besides little things like that he started Wired magazine at age 26 - is that "he practices yoga 'pretty religiously'.''
Here's five things you ought to know about yoga:
1. "After the extraordinary successes of their education software company Knowledge Adventure and the search engine Ask Jeeves!, [Rob] Wrubel and [George] Lichter began sifting through ideas for their next enterprise... In 2001, inspired by the positive results of some recent yoga makeovers on their weary post-IPO bodies, they did some research, ran some numbers and came up with a business plan." Yep, Silicon Valley venture capitalists meet the Downward-Facing Dog in funding yoga ventures. - "McYoga: Supersizing Yoga Works", July 2005, Common Ground Magazine
2. Yoga and the Quest for the True Self, by Stephen Cope, is my favorite yoga book. It helps integrates yoga into your l-i-f-e. Of course, you cannot simply snuggle into your couch and read about yoga. If you're a writer or would-be writer, I recommend Journey from the Center to the Page: Yoga Principles & Practices as as Muse for Authentic Writing by Jeff Davis.
3. "There is no way to do yoga without calming you down. Traditionally, yoga was way to calm the body down so tht you could sit in silence," says actress-turned-yoga-entrepreneur Mariel Hemingway. "If you did 10 minutes of yoga and 5 minutes of silence every day, your life would change. I guarantee it." - "Mariel's Latest Role: A Deeper Connection", Sept/Oct 2005, Worthwhile Magazine. (Extra: On her memoir, Finding My Balance: "Judging from the way she approaches the Asanas [poses] that open each chapter, she has also developed into a Yogini who deeply understands how the practice is intertwined with body and soul. She ends the book with a sequence of Yoga poses, including descriptions that are as well written as any instructional book on Yoga".)
4. Ater the tsunami, I had this urge to get myself to a meditation group and signed up for an eight-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program, originally designed by Jon Kabat-Zinn at UMass Hospital. (I was also experiencing the symptoms of acute stress disorder and wanted to nip PTSD possibility in the bud.) I am grateful we did yoga and qi gong in addition to sitting meditation because my mind was in such disarray that only the focused movement smoothed its wild fluctuations. It was a vital step in healing. The class contained a lot of caregivers learning how to recharge themselves: a psychologist, a nurse, a priest, other hospital personnel, as well as a lawyer and the random marketer in the mix. Offered in over 300 hospitals and centers nationwide, locate the MBSR program nearest you.
5. Breathe. Need I say more? I didn't realized I used to hold my breath when I was tense - uh, that would nearly all of the time in my past. When we're constricted, contracted, shrunken, tight and small - we're residing in a space of fear. I think yoga's natural emphasis on breath will make you feel more spacious, expansive, and in touch with possiblity. Even without yoga, practice inhaling and exhaling deeply when you are worried or less-than-centered and calm.
Of course, there's more than five things to yoga (and five things to Battelle too). Piqued your interest? Get thee to a yoga studio to try it out yourself.
Bonus: There are even yoga blogs like Yogalila: "I know many of the yogalilans have mentioned that their yoga practice is providing them with some solace during this time when we are so overwhelmed with sorrow for what our [Katrina] fellow beings are going through."
BTW, does anyone know if free yoga lessons will be offered in the Gulf areas affected by Katrina at some later (or sooner) dates? Let me know and I'll add to Katrina Help Wiki.
p.s. Maybe John can offer up if yoga helps him remained centered and refreshed for ten hours of interviews beginning at 4 a.m. The Business section 2-part cover story on Battelle's new book from September 6, 2005, San Jose Mercury News, included "Google's Chronicler Searches Out Valley Icon" and "Tech guru envisions future with everything searchable" in addition to the "Five Things To Know About John Battelle" referenced.