getting drunk off yoga

Sarah Amanda Jones, Watercolor and Ink on Arches Paper, 24 x 9 inches. ©2011


Wafts of breeze and dust
caress this place. All I see
is bliss. Dusty bliss.

Inner peace.

This is who you are. Deep down inside, this is the life that supports you. You’re constantly supporting yourself on a fundamental level- your in breath and out breath, a rolling flow of life.

Inner peace is the harmony that drives your body, perfect in its practice of automatically healing and supporting itself at an incredible level.

As Albert Einstein said, you and everything else in the universe are swirling balls of energy. This is the realest thing about you- this fundamental energy of life- and the more deeply you’re accessing it, the more radiant and fulfilled you are. 

And the inverse is true as well- the less in tune you are with your inner peace, the more constricted, pressured, dull, and anxious you feel.

These heavy experiences can make inner peace look like an illusion, when in fact inner peace is 100% real, and the heaviness is only a dream in comparison.

Every time I go to Eric Shiffman’s beautiful yoga class, I am reminded of this. The room where we have class in Venice’s Exhale Spa is a host of tranquility in and of itself.

Tall cream-colored walls, soft hardwood floors, twelve-foot high windows draped with golden-orange sheers… I’m transported as soon as I enter.

In a polite frenzy, we all lay down our mats- in our ideal spots if we’re fast enough. :) And then Eric gets ready.

On a stage raised a couple feet off the ground, he slowly unrolls his mat, places his red oriental rug on top, takes his time getting comfortable on the rug. He takes a swig of water, gets the gong bowl in place.

I know he’s about to begin when he takes off his watch and places it in front of him, starting his timer.

“You ready?” he asks, seated with legs crossed over each other.

We laugh, “Yes.” We’ve all been sitting or lying down the past few minutes watching him. Maybe a straggler or two has come into the room in the meantime.

And then he talks. With sweeping motions, gestures that move his whole body in a chorus of passion and peace, he muses over his recent discoveries and truths.

His long, wavy, gray-white hair sways with his soft frame, soft features, as he makes our eyes widen, squint, our mouths smile, laugh.

He tells us about how to see the glow in ourselves in the mirror, how to see ourselves for real, see our spirit. He tells us that the Universe is expressing itself as us in this moment, like the mass of the earth expressing itself as the peak of a mountain.

He asks us to consider that perhaps “love is the willingness to recognize that which is real.” It’s not a fancy-pants show of forced happiness. That’s exhausting, he says! We laughed, and I agreed.

And after about twenty minutes of the best sermons I’ve ever heard- spontaneous and organic, no less!- we enter a fifteen-minute meditation followed by a short introduction to today’s yoga practice.

He shows us how to relax everything we can in our bodies except for what we need in order to hold each pose. And then he teaches us to surrender completely between poses, relishing the restfulness.

Following is a glorious half-hour of spontaneous yoga practice where each yogi follows the lead of his or her inner voice, doing anything from laying down in stillness to balancing poses, stretching poses, heat-building vinyasas.

For three songs, there is a symphony of the most gentle, beautiful people practicing from their hearts. Like waves of the ocean, everyone rises and falls, twists and opens, according to his heart’s desire.

Afterwards, we slowly gather our things and float out of the room. I laughed with one woman as we were getting our belongings out of nearby cubbies.

I almost dropped my water bottle, caught it, and said, “Whoops, sorry!” We laughed, and I said, “Right after yoga, I always feel a little loopy. It’s like having a couple drinks.”

She agreed and saw my bike helmet. Laughing, she said, “Drive, err, ride safe!” I love it!

I tell you what, letting myself be completely present among other people doing the same thing is magic. It’s healing. It’s medicine.

If you live in LA and want to join me for one of Eric’s classes, email me at and let me know! I’d love to share the experience with you.

And whether you live in LA or not, if you’re hungry for the beauty and peace I’ve described, know that you can have that anywhere- it’s not limited to Eric’s classes.

All that’s required is a melting into the inner stillness that is already at your core. I would love to offer you a free inner peace coaching session. Email me at to take me up on it!

All my love, dear one!

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