Letting Go (of Wall Street)

While bombshells fall in the yogaworld I am stuck in my head. I wonder: should I open up a yoga studio? I love the idea of starting a business; I love yoga. I need a job.

Could this be me someday?

I don’t have a yoga following, let alone much teaching experience, but the school won’t be about me. It would be about the teachers (from all styles! Ashtanga, Jivamukti, Iyengar, Kundalini, you name it, even pilates!) and the community. It would be a business. My neighborhood has been gentrifying, needs “services”, and could possibly support a studio. I am excited about marketing, sales, HR policy, e.g. running this as a for-profit venture with philosophical, spiritual, physical benefits. I continue to think.

But my insecurities and fears stand in the way. Am I good enough? Do this in New York City, where yoga studios are like Starbucks, one on every corner? Gamble with our savings?

Anything gives me self doubt. I compare myself to others.

For example–the Wall Street Journal profiled this 32 year old guy, a former investment banker now Hindu monk, who recently led a meditation session at the Occupy Wall Street protests. He’s got an MBA, like me, but was more “successful” in the business world than me (he was investment banker at Bank of America), and, having quit the corporate world (as I did) seems to be more committed to his dharmic path (he’s a celibate monk at a Hindu monestary in the East Village, giving talks about mindfulness at Citi and B of A, while I sit around doing very little). I think, I am so cautious; others are not. Why do I think I can do this? What to do?

My mantra these days has been to soften and be receptive, and when I do this, I find his teachings instructive. He says: don’t allow fear, ego and selfishness to stand in the way of making the right business decisions.


Yogis Occupy Wall Street

People participate in a session of yoga, led by yoga instructor Seane Corne, in collaboration with the "Occupy Wall Street" protests in Zuccotti Park in New York, on Monday, October 10, 2011. (AP Photo/Andrew Burton)Last week Deepak Chopra stopped by the Occupy Wall Street protests to lead a guided call-and- response meditation. Today, in an action organized by yoga teacher Seane Corn, nearly two hundred people showed up in lower Manhattan to “demonstrate yoga in action.” The purpose? “Yoga is about finding your voice and taking a stand. At Off the Mat, Into the World we believe in expanding our yoga beyond the studio and out into the world. Join Seane Corn and yogis from around the globe this Monday, October 10th, for a practice of solidarity, community, and change on Wall Street.”

I wasn’t there, but apparently at one point they did tree pose. Here are more pictures.

The message in support of “solidarity, community and change” could apply to attendance at Tea Party Rally as well. But one message of the Wall Street protests is that the greedy 1% elite is not like the 99% rest of us. Which doesn’t sound like solidarity to me. But on her FB page Seane Corn clarifies that “I am not for the 99% and against the 1%. I am for the 100% getting our shit together and remembering we are ONE.”  Yoga? check.

Deepak Chopra at Zuccotti Park

I’m into the Occupy Wall Street protests. (My own economic complaints have to do with rising income inequality and piss poor corporate governance – though on the latter a University of Chicago prof disagrees.)

But, back to yoga, Deepak Chopra stopped by the square yesterday to lead a guided meditation. Even if you hate the protests, you may be able to get behind Chopra’s message (“Ask yourself, how can I be the change that I want to see in the world? How can I make that happen from a place of love, compassion, and equanimity? Simple anger will only perpetuate what already is out there.”):