Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Or A Supplement to “Nobody Completes You.”

I was sitting in a bar one evening…well, actually every evening, but this was one particular evening…and thought it might be amusing to pull a Dylan Thomas. I got as far as the first shot of Bourbon when I realized I had laundry to do. This prompted me to check my to-do list and I saw that there was actually a lot I still wanted to accomplish, so that was the end of my fun little plan. Also I suppose some people would miss me. Just as well, because when I really think about it, dying is the last thing I want to do.

Mortal Coil duly unshaken off, my thoughts were drawn to a blog that one of my Yoga Mentors, Jonathan Fields, posted recently. Chiefly because I was about to post a similar blog when I saw his. The blog was called “Nobody Completes You.” Probably no need to elaborate on that, but yes it pertains to that ridiculous melodramatic scene at the end of Jerry Maguire. And as usual, Tom Cruise is so wrong.

Yogis are taught the importance of nonattachment, kind of like Jedis (and look what happened to the one that got too attached). Of course, living with compassionate detachment is easier said than done—A silly saying really, what ISN’T easier said than done? I’m never saying that again. Done.

So the question is, can one live--and love--without attachment? Without this notion that we have to find someone else to make us “complete?” Because if One thinks that, One should not be in a relationship at all. Because you don’t think you’re “One,” at all, do you? You think you’re half. And what you believe of yourself is what is, that’s what you’re going to bring to any relationship. And if you find someone who is whole? Great! They’re One, and you’re still a Half. What are you gonna do if they leave? Good luck with that.

A reading from the Book of Springsteen: “You spend your life waiting for a moment that just don’t come.” A moment, a job, a place to live, a person. You’re waiting for something, someone to make your life begin. Like the heroes of two of my favorite books. Jay Gatsby. Jake Barnes. Both expending all their energies, sacrificing their very selves to win the love of a woman who doesn’t deserve them in the first place. Someone else who is just a half, if that.

And sure it’s “pretty to think so,” that everything’s going to be all right when this great “thing” happens. But in the end you cannot live inside that illusion. Happiness can only come from one place.

A reading from the Book of Stipe:
“The only thing worth looking for, is what you find inside.”

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Hello Yogis! We're gonna open up the Namayay mailbag. Today's Topic is Hamstring Flexibility and how doing Yoga can make that happen so you can go back to Yoga and show off your flexible hamstrings that you got from doing Yoga. It's a cyclical thing.

JIM CATAPANO of New York writes, "Dear Jim. My hamstrings would make Hanuman cry. I have to microbend my knees like crizazy, my splits are lame, and my wide legged folds? Well Jim, you couldn't send a gerbil crawling through my legs, that's how not wide legged they are. Please help, Jim."

Well Jim, first of all your small mammal imagery is troubling and we would rather not be informed about your particular proclivities in this area. On to your hamstrings, there are things you can do but it will take time.

Lie down. On your mat. No, the other way. Ok, bend your left knee, foot on the floor, and bring your right leg straight into the air. Yes, use a strap, Mr. Gerbil we already know your hamstrings are crap. Place your left hand at the back of the right thigh, bring your knee towards your chest, and push your right heel upwards. Hold for three breaths and do the left leg.

Repeat until you have good hamstrings.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


If you do the kind of Yoga that I do, then you find yourself singing. A lot. Mostly in a language you don't understand. A language the kids like to call "Sanskrit".

Now, if you're new to Yoga, like I am not, you may feel confused and even intimidated by said singing. You may want to look for a Yoga class that has no chanting, like in a gym or at (shudder) Bikram, of which more on at a later date.

I would like to suggest that you embrace your inner "American Yogi Idol" and chant it up! It's a wonderful way to connect to the spiritual side of your practice, and also to connect with the community. Yoga is at best, a team thing, a place to find union and to be part of the whole. There is no "I" in Yoga. (Ok there is an "I," in "Yogi" fine. Leave me alone.)

Let's look at a few famous chants and explore what they might mean.




This is a tribute to Frank Patanjali, Capo Regime of the Corleone Family who testified that he "didn't know no Godfather"...

I'm sorry what? Oh. Ok, my bad. It's actually an homage to the famous sage who devised the "Eight Limbs of Yoga," of which Asana (physical posture) is only one. (Imagine doing Yoga with 8 limbs? Omigod we gotta find an Octopus and teach it Half-Moon.) Patanjali is also rumored to have written a Sanskrit Grammar dictionary but my library doesn't have it.

Here's that chant in English

I bow to the sage Patanjali, who cured the imperfections of the mind through yoga
the imperfections of speech through grammar and the imperfections of the body through medicine

So yeah, you gotta love how this guy rolled.


Lead us from darkness to light
From ignorance to truth
And from death to eternity
Let peace prevail everywhere

My Yoga journey started with the Hatha classes at Integral Yoga in the West Village of NYC. Slow but intensely spiritual. We ended each class with the above prayer. Dickens said "ignorance" was our greatest danger, and us Yoga peeps are warriors in the fight against said stoopidness. (Well, he said the first part, the 2nd part is me)


Ganesh, my favorite god. Head of an elephant, body of a guy who's had a lot of peanuts. God of obstacles. He puts them in your path to challenge you, and takes them away when you've learned. I love this guy.

Om gam ganapataye namaha!


OM= The primordia sound or vibration, can be used to say Hello Ganesh. How You Doin'?
GAM= the sound o' Ganesh, or the Bija Mantra.
Ganapataye= Ganesh, thank you for screwing with me and then making everything better. Really.
Namahah=I honor you, Elephant Dude"

For more chants and how they sound in mp3, visit Until next time, Peace and don't choke on your mantras!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Only Jim Can Prevent Forest Fires

When I was a young boy, there was a commercial on TV. This commercial showed horrible fires in the woods, awful fierce-Bambi-Mother-killing type fires. Then a bear, we'll call him Smokey, came on, pointed at me and said, "Only YOU can prevent forest fires. Only YOU."

Being an impressionable youth, I took this literally. It was MY responsibility to prevent forest fires. The bear was very persuasive. I think it was the hat. (Never ignore the words of a bear in a hat. I was sure he even mouthed "Jim," at the end of it.

Just to make sure, I went to my mom. "Mommy" I asked, "Is it my job to prevent forest fires?"

"Yes Jimmy it is." (I had not yet understood the vastness of my mother's legendary sarcasm.) I trembled, then spent my entire 5 months allowance on a fire extinguisher.)

Night after night, I would watch the news and learn of another forest fire. "Damn! Too Late!" I said. Then the bear would come on and point at me again. My mom would then look at me and nod in agreement.

Cut to today. Well, yesterday. I took on a project that I had absolutely no business doing. I accepted it out of desperate thoughtlessness and the arrogance that I could add yet another daunting project to my schedule. I work 10 hours a day, and the rest is devoted to my Yoga training and doing other Jim type things that are very necessary to who I am. And I thought I was going to add another 8 hour a day project to this. Cause you know, I'm god.

Well I'm not. (I'm closer than most people, but still...) No. We have to be honest with ourselves and recognize what we can and can't do. Accept the things we can't change and have the courage to change the things we can. (That's the Serenity Prayer from Alcoholics Anonymous, I memorized it over a bottle of Scotch last night.)

As my fellow Yoga peeps know, when you are in Asana you have to know the difference between tension (fixable) and compression (that's all you can do, deal). So in hindsight I'm proud of this little life lesson and glad that I can share it with my discipl---I mean friends.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Yoga Class Etiquette

I do not have a picture of me doing Yoga, so please enjoy this picture of Darth Vader in Tree Pose.

This month's issue of Yoga Journal features an article on etiquette tips designed to enhance your Yoga practice, and make sure you don't screw up anyone else's. I will now go through some of the points and give my own commentary.

1. Get there early.

CRITICAL Yo. There's nothing worse than showing up after the opening OMing and chanting and trying to jam your mat in between two people who are already well downward into their dogs. (Just like me--LAST NIGHT.) It disturbs the other students and makes it hard for you to get in the zone. Get there early, do your bathroom thing, grab your blocks and put your mind and body where it needs to be.

2. Don't hog the teacher!

Yes adjustments are great. But there's a new student in the back that could really use some help and you? There you are front and center every single class with that sad look on your face like a dog begging for a treat. NO. NO.

3. No Omgasms.

Some students do not know the difference between a blissful SIGH, and a MOAN. If you feel like making a sound that you wouldn't have wanted your mom to hear coming out of your bedroom when you were 14, DON'T.

"There's no MOANING! There's no MOANING in YOGA!"---Tom Hanks

4. Save the Scents for the Shower after Savasana.
Don't be Spraying Eu De Ganesh all over yourself before you hit the mat. People are breathing deeply and don't want an Ujjayi full of perfume or cologne.

5. Savasana.
FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY DO NOT SKIP THIS! This is what it's all about, it may be the most important pose we do. This is where you soak in the benefits of your Asana practice and rejuvenate body mind and spirit. Do you really need to get to Best Buy that badly? I thought not.