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February 22, 2012 / martinezyoga

Are You There Yoga? It’s Me, Salvador.

Let’s see. Where were we? Oh, yes. It was 1984. That was the year of The Boss, of doves crying, of Tina’s comeback, and of Madonna! What a year! Now let’s flash forward to 1991. That year I moved to NYC to attend Hunter College. A good friend of mine from California moved to New York the year before to attend Parsons studying fashion design, and I thought I’d give it a try too. I attended Hunter studying French. I never lived anywhere else but California, but I wanted to mix it up a bit, and check out NYC.

The first time I stepped foot in the city so nice they named it twice was when I moved in June of 1991. Hot. Sweaty. Stinky. Fresh. Not the great Pacific just outside the Golden Gate Bridge. Pepe Le Pew! Hold your nose, darling! But I was excited to be in New York. It was way different than it is today though. Rough! The Lower East Side was like Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. People were drinking gasoline. Not Organic Avenue, which I love. That summer of 1991 was good times with the Sound Factory! But it soon came time to hit the books CUNY style.

My first course at Hunter was Eastern Religions which was an overview to Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism. This was the first college course that I didn’t have to drag myself to lecture and force myself to do the reading. I was truly fascinated by the topic, especially Hinduism and Buddhism. As to Hinduism and Buddhism, the principles of Yoga were discussed in this course with an intellectual and historical context. It wasn’t the Yoga that was concerned with body conditioning like you’re at the gym doing 20 million chaturanga dandasanas to prep you for bikini or speedo summer season. This was the Yoga that was concerned about dealing with the suffering of life, and finding a way to accept the suffering, and given the specific form of Yoga in each tradition, to transcend the suffering. I thought, “Huh. Ok. What the heck does that mean?” I was raised Roman Catholic, and what stuck with me was when you die you’re either going to heaven or hell for eternity depending on if you were naughty or nice. Yoga in these traditions was totally different than the Roman Catholicism that I knew growing up. I was way into learning more about Yoga. I did really good in the course. I got an A! It wasn’t until two years later that I finally started practicing Yoga.

Follow me to my next post, and watch what whappened as I started exploring the practice!

Photos by Anna Rose

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