Yoga on the road

by Mike on October 10, 2012 · 16 comments

In a life where we bounce from city to city without a stable home base, yoga may just be my saving grace.

I was first introduced to yoga as a freshman at Carnegie Mellon.  We had a half hour warmup class every day at 8am, and it included a simple sun salute.  It made me a casual fan for a while, taking the occasional class at the gym.  Then I was fortunate to have some good friends during my invaluable (and svelte) De La Guarda years who were wonderful teachers, and it was then that I began to value it more for myself as a way to not only get in shape physically, but also mentally and spiritually.

(None of these photos are of me. Ang insists on “illustrating” this post with these random images she found on the interweb.)

Yoga, for me, is the perfect practice of exercising the body and spirit.  It allows me to give my mind a rest, and convene with and enjoy the present moment.  In doing so, I am able to see substantial increases in my physical strength, flexibility, and stamina.

Yoga creates in me a calm, centered exhilaration.  Holding a Warrior 2 pose makes me feel powerful, yet humble.  I feel a greater connection with everything when I practice yoga regularly.  It balances my mood and increases my patience. It makes me feel more creative.

Wellness-wise, the benefits of yoga can’t be beat. Outside of the general soreness from practicing yoga (which is itself enjoyable), I have less aches and pains in my almost-40-year-old body.  I also find that my normal bodily functions (digestion, etc.) improve.

Ang asked me to write about my favorite pose, but I try to feel a genuine affinity for each pose as I practice.  Being open to each pose and enjoying it fully helps me advance in each pose.  I do like the strong Warrior 2 though. Below, this is not me.

I really wanted to continue to practice yoga on the road, and took a few classes at the start of the tour in Minneapolis, but then I didn’t take a class again until six months later in Houston at Big Yoga.  It was my first experience with hot yoga, and I was able to carve out 3 days a week to take class. That was a huge shift!  I felt the benefits immediately. I felt better, and I looked better.  

The sad thing about finding good yoga teachers at various cities on the road is you can’t stay, and they can’t come with you.  But instead of being frustrated by this, I have learned to embrace it.  I’ve found tremendous value in opening myself up to another teacher’s point of view, and it’s forced me to gain a better understanding of my own practice as a necessity.  As a result, I feel more tuned into myself.

Finding Siva Power Yoga and The Tartlers in Wichita

The (yoga) stars were aligned for us in Wichita.  Siva Power Yoga is a wonderful yoga studio that was a convenient 5-minute walk from both the theater and our apartment.

Run by Adrian and Whitney Tartler in a very laid-back fashion, it was exactly what I needed to continue the momentum I had recently built with my yoga practice.  Their approach is truly an unpretentious, “everyman” one that is inclusive, friendly, and most importantly, genuine.  I took Adrian’s 9:30 am flow class on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

I knew we were kindred spirits by the songlist he played during class — he could have literally plugged my own iPod in, our tastes were so similar! What especially got me were the frequent songs by Jack Johnson off the Curious George soundtrack.  Max has loved these songs since he was an infant, and so have I.

I struck up a conversation with Adrian after class one day, and found out that he and Whitney were the parents of 3 children under 5 years old: Francesca, Canyon, and Kai.  That alone was impressive! Adrian said very bluntly, “It gets crazy.”  Fascinated, I mentioned that we should hang out sometime, so Adrian invited us over to their house in College Hill after the Saturday morning class for bagels and coffee.

We had a great time.  Max got along great with Francesca and Canyon, and Ang and Whitney also hit it off.

Their house was definitely full of awesomely rambunctious kid spirit! The Tartler kids are excellent at playing, and our more reserved Max delightfully got to share in their plentiful toys.

Whitney is half-Navajo, and their kids are simply gorgeous.

Ang wound up going to Whitney’s 9:30 class the next morning, then hanging out again with the Tartlers at the Botanical Gardens later on that day while I was at the show. Here, Whitney and Kai take in the Butterfly Garden.

Max lost his pants at the Children’s Garden. See him running in the back there?

Our last meal in Wichita was with The Tartlers, at their favorite pizza spot down the block from their yoga studio. Picasso’s served New York style pizza and it was actually pretty good! Of course we’d discover it on our last day!

Here, the kids chomp on cookies for dessert.

Max “plays the harmonica” with all his cookies — he never takes bites, instead opting to just suck on it until it disintegrates. There’s usually lots of slobber. It makes a huge mess.

Luckily, Whitney was there to clean him up!

You know how sometimes you meet people and despite spending a short amount of time with them, you just know you’ll always stay friends? It doesn’t happen often to us on tour, but in Wichita it did.

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Mama Tartler October 10, 2012 at 11:21 pm

We, the Tartlers, love all of you so much. We are happy that the ‘Lion King’, brought all three if you into our lives. Thanks for hanging with us and creating such lovely memories with us.

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Michael October 12, 2012 at 11:05 pm

Thank you, for being so open, and welcoming. We love you so much too! Here’s to more memories in the future!

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S Garcia October 11, 2012 at 6:43 am

What a nice connection to make on your travels. I like to find other runners when I travel for work, so that whenever I return to the same place (usually Boston and Chicago) I have a small group of people I can socialize and run with. It really keeps me from feeling lonely as a traveler!

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Michael October 12, 2012 at 11:03 pm

It makes all the difference, doesn’t it!

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LKF October 11, 2012 at 8:30 am

Fun post! I have always wanted to get more serious about yoga. If you can do it while traveling from city to city, surely I can stick to a schedule :) Thanks for a fun read, especially all the cute kid photos! Your son is a doll!

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Michael October 12, 2012 at 11:02 pm

You CAN do it! Unfortunately, I’m not always able to stick to a schedule either, but I think it’s important to not judge yourself for that. I try not to get disappointed with myself if I miss a week or two, and I also think that you don’t need to get “serious” about Yoga either. I know that when you say “serious”, you just mean attending regularly, but the reason I like Yoga, is that I feel no obligation to go, or guilt if I don’t make it. I am disappointed if I don’t make it, simply because I enjoy it. It makes it easier to look forward to the next time, when I don’t feel like I’m letting myself down.

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heather October 11, 2012 at 10:15 am

Mike, what kind of rates do you find on the road for yoga classes, especially if you are only staying a short time? I find that the dropin cost is quite a lot, and often i can’t get a good deal on a month pass to make it worth my while. Thanks!

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Michael October 12, 2012 at 10:53 pm

Hi Heather, I’ve been fairly lucky so far to find Monthly intro rates that range from $29-$60. The drop-in rate at Siva was the best. $7. Hard to beat that. I’ve paid as much as $18 for a drop-in. There are a lot of Yoga enthusiasts in the cast and we compare notes as we prepare to go to the next city. That makes it easier to find deals as well. I also think that it is important to know what is worth your while, like you said. I find my life is so much better when I practice regularly that I’m more likely to find a few extra bucks in the budget, but that is unfortunately not always possible for everyone in this day and age. Hope this helps, and I hope you find a great inexpensive practice!

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ANGELIQIE October 11, 2012 at 12:13 pm

HI MIKE ARE YOU SURE THAT’S NOT YOU STIRKING THAT WARRIER 2 POSE? LOL!!!!

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Michael October 12, 2012 at 10:43 pm

I think it looks a little like Paul Ryan! LOL!

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Lauren October 11, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Two gorgeous families meeting – what’s better than that? It looks like your Wichita stint was fruitful in so many ways. All those kids are adorable. Take care and travel safe.

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Michael October 12, 2012 at 10:43 pm

Thank you, Lauren!

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Ron October 11, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Love the pictures of fam and friends [which are fam, too]! Everyone looks great.

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Michael October 12, 2012 at 10:42 pm

Thanks, Ron! Coming to the Bay area soon! Can’t wait to see you guys!

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Mike Hollick Sr October 12, 2012 at 3:20 pm

Will Yoga help me grow hair?

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Michael October 12, 2012 at 10:41 pm

Unfortunately, no. But it will relieve you of the need for hair.

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