Sometimes I feel like a bit of a freak in the yoga world and maybe in the world generally. Here are a few reasons why I might be classified as eccentric:

  1. I’m not a vegetarian. I love continental cakes. A glass of really good red wine is a special weekend treat. And, I drink 2 cups of coffee a day.
  2. I’m on the high side of my sixties and I’ve chosen to live like an ageing hippie with two other couples of my vintage.
  3. I love watching great television with brilliant writing. Not commercial t.v., but shows like: Breaking Bad, The Wire, Treme, True Blood, Boardwalk Empire, Girls, Mad Men. Edgy stuff where violence and amoral behaviour is often featured.

One of my favourite shows of all time is Friday Night Lights, which ran for 5 seasons in the U.S. The male lead, Kyle Chandler, received the 2011 Emmy for Outstanding Acting, but any one of several actors on the program were deserving of awards. This series was set in a football-mad Texas town and featured high school teachers and students and their parents. I wouldn’t normally go near such subject matter, but the issues the characters faced each week mightily tested their values and moral fibre. Although Dillon, Texas and grid iron football might be foreign to many people, the difficulties of parents trying to steer their adolescents through one of the most challenging times in life are universal. Patanjali’s code of ‘avoidances’ – the Yama – could be held up as a guide for navigating challenging times in life, as well as just getting through our everyday lives.

Ahimsa satya asteya brahmacarya aparigrahah yamah

Non-violence, truth, abstention from stealing, continence, and absence of greed for possessions beyond one’s need are the five pillars of yama.* *Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, B.K.S. Iyengar.