How Yoga Can Help You Through Scary Life Moments

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On Tuesday, I moved to New York City, but let’s just say I didn’t get a goodbye party on my way out of Arizona. Driving down Scottsdale Road last Saturday night, I made an illegal u-turn and suddenly saw the blinking lights of a Scottsdale Police squad car in my rearview mirror.

You don’t know angry white male energy until you know a Scottsdale Police Officer pulling you over with a very clear command by their boss and America’s Greatest Redneck, Sheriff Joe Arpaio: “DUI’s fellas! As many as you can…go give em, go get ‘em!!!!”

“Have you had anything to drink?” the officer asked me

While I only had 1 beer, the law in Arizona is such that the cops maintain the right to haul you in if you show even the slightest hint of alcohol consumption. And to get a DUI in Maricopa County means 30 days mandatory jail time.

“Yes sir,” I said to the Officer, “I had a beer with dinner.”

“Step out of the car.”

I felt as if I’d been popped with a needle and 100 stale cigarettes were intravenously pumped into my heart: the most disgusting feeling of intense stress. There’s nothing worse than angry white male energy subjecting you to a battering of DUI tests.

As I stepped one foot in front of the other on a white line and then was commanded to rotate my right foot without coming off the line, all I could think was, “Thank you Seane Corn for inspiring me to practice yoga and giving me the ability to balance and breathe while my legs are shaking violently from nervousness.”

As I reached my hand back and was forced to touch my nose with the tip of my finger while closing my eyes and counting backward, all I could think was, “Thank you Bryan Kest for burping and cussing during the most intense yoga poses and giving me the skills to relax amidst unparalleled intensity.”

As I had to recite the alphabet while lifting my right leg in the air and holding it for 15 seconds, all I could think was, “Thank you Bikram for screaming at me during my first class at your Beverly Hills location when I rested my face directly against the disgusting carpet filled with germs. If not for you, I’m not sure I wouldn’t collapse under the pressure of this policeman chomping at the bit to hammer me with jail time.”

The Officer let me go, without even a ticket for the illegal u turn, which according to Scottsdale residents, was a minor miracle.


It Could Have Been You

Now some of you might be thinking, “You shouldn’t be driving after even a single beer.” And y’know what? You’re right.

But I think I speak for the vast majority of us imperfect souls who will in fact drive home after a single beer or a single glass of wine. It might not be right, but it’s not uncommon. And please note, one beer is risky. Two beers and getting behind the wheel is stupid and dangerous. But…let’s be honest. YOU easily could have been in my shoes. And on that note…

I learned the other night something really important about yoga. What we practice and perfect in the cozy confines of our neighborhood yoga studio doesn’t really matter. Who the hell cares if you have a great trikonasana or if you are awesome at Ashtanga? What good can yoga really do until you can apply its lessons and skills amidst the full fury and intensity of life.