Recently I read an article in the quirky magazine Lucky Peach entitled "On Coffee", the author is Peter Meehan, as he interviews Harold McGee.

"While I've had eye-opening revelations about coffee... I've never really become a "nerd", which I guess is another way of saying I'm a dilettante about coffee.” (Harold talking about how he has come to enjoy the taste of stale coffee beans.)

I have always loved the word dilettante and have always thought it would be cool to be one — who wouldn’t? 

But wait-- what does the word “dilettante” actually mean-

My definition: a laid-back but rebellious person who takes each life experience and makes it work for themselves regardless of the way it "should be" experienced.

Actual definition: a person who cultivates an area of interest, such as the arts, without real commitment or knowledge

I heard another dilettante definition today from Tim Daley while watching Madame Secretary on tv. I will paraphrase: “a mile wide base of knowledge that only runs one inch deep.”

Ahh, so both my dilettantish definition of dilettante and the actual definition work well to describe the way I have always approached yoga. I will comfort myself with the faith that my knowledge runs a little deeper on some subjects than Tim Daley’s son on the show.

I like to know a little about everything yogic just not enough to be labeled a connoisseur (or a nerdy expert yoga geek). I take what I like from each practice, each tradition, and each writing and utilize it as it applies to my life experience, my practice and to my teaching. 

In case you were wondering how enjoyment of stale coffee beans relates to yoga, I will explore this in my next post…

Going about my daily life I often stumble across sentences, moments, or sayings that strike my “yoga bone”.  Often, I find myself deliberately looking for yoga in my approach to running a business, teaching a class, or interacting with other people.  

So how about a blog that shares and develops some of these thoughts and maybe starts a conversation. So come into an Easy Seat and let's get started.

I will start with two of my favorite quotes—same message; different packaging around the same thought -What is “Yoga”?

“As the mind, so the person, bondage or liberation are in your own mind.” -Sanskrit saying

For Example:


I am afraid of being a bad writer and this is far from my first attempt at blogging. Previous attempts resulted in rather epic length term paper-like posts. Great reads (maybe) but not typical blog posts.

See for yourself: check out my posts on Hot Yoga, Yoga- Heat and Flexibility The Benefits of Adding Yoga and a Doula to a Birth Vision or my truly epic series on the Kundalini Ten Bodies which unfortunately no longer exists on line. 


I can think about writing, read about writing, listen to other people talk about writing but until I actually sit down and put fingers to keyboard and words on the screen, I will never actually write anything.

Same goes for starting a yoga or meditation practice-think, read or listen about yoga or meditation all you want —but until one actually spends time on a mat or a cushion you will never actually have a practice.


I can either let my mind’s fear of failing bind me up in a knot until I never even start this blog or I can plunge in and start writing. I think it is “funny” how often in life we approach a “practice” with the expectation that we must be a “perfect” from the start. 

The only way to get “better” at writing, yoga, meditation, etc. is to PRACTICE. Which brings me to my second quote:

“Yogas citta vritti nirodhah.” The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (Book 1 2nd Sutra)  "The restraints of the modification of the mind-stuff is yoga.”

If the first quote is more along the lines of -identifying the problem- the second quote shows the solution albeit in murky Sanskrit style.

So this is a two-pronged exercise:  

1) Working to overcome the fear-based ramblings about failing in my head and

2) developing pithiness, short developments of thought instead of epic term papers.

An eraser and a filter.  Well, we will see how it goes…

“Sorting all these flavors and how they come to the cup is what interests me, and why it can be just as interesting to untangle the hows and whys of a stale cup as it is to explore the floral and fruity notes of a really fine cup. Staleness is a part of life and part of what happens to all foods. I’m catching the coffee at a different stage in its lifetime, and I think it is good to have the whole spectrum available to think about and experience…”  (Lucky Peach "On Coffee" same guys at the table)

Contrast that with this quote:

“There’s no value in digging shallow wells in a hundred places. Decide on one place and dig deep. Even if you encounter a rock, use dynamite and keep going down. If you leave that to dig another well, all the first effort is wasted and there is no proof you won’t hit rock again. (52)” 

Swami Satchidananda, The Yoga Sutras

Does digging deep necessarily mean that eventually you will hit on the "floral and fruity notes of a really fine cup" or will it eventually lead to a "stale cup"? Following the logic...there is no proof that you are going to hit enlightenment either...just saying Swami! I refuse to spend my entire practice trying to fit a square peg into a round hole and am big enough to admit my mistakes.

I admit to being a dabbler in life but I have often pondered what life would look like on the other side of the fence, what if I focused on just one thing instead of dabbling away at the many? But you know-- Dabbling has led me down a rich and varied path and I'm not sure I would trade it out.  However, I know others who knew seemingly from birth what they wanted to do with their lives, which is best and why? Even better--does it really matter if you get the straight shot or the winding meandering path?

Yoga is the deepest hole that I have ever dug, sometimes I have had to detour, sometimes I have had to renovate, and sometimes I have had to use dynamite but Yoga always seems to find a way to keep me going further down the well. I will admit to a somewhat WIDE hole and that notion is how the studio got its name. I dabble, lots of things interest me, I know a little about a lot of things, and I know a lot about a few things--but all of these things combine to make me the fine and fruity cup of coffee that I am. 

When I first read this quote I was afraid that my teaching and practice was becoming stale. Since that time I have gotten out of some ruts but also I have come to realize that one should not confuse the notion of staleness with the notions of comfort and stability. 



I know I promised an explanation- the relation between stale coffee beans and yoga...I'm getting there I swear.

"I'm not a connoisseur; I dabble. To the extent that I can make connections for myself that create bridges between my experiences… I think there is a lot of "geeking out" on the details that go beyond what we can actually taste. I am most interested in the actual experience of consuming coffee.” (Lucky Peach, “On Coffee” same guys at the table)

Substitute “yoga” for “coffee” and this paragraph quite struck me as key to my personal dilettante-ish yogic philosophy. 

I am big on science, I have the Masters in Biology degree to prove it, and the science in yoga is strong. I can “geek out” about those aspects all day, if you like…

So, at first, when yoga (restraint of the "mind stuff") worked in my own life experience, it was through a scientific physical approach— in other words— it was on my mat using my physical body/breath to achieve “yoga”. 

The Yoga Sutras teach the philosophy that when you link your breath and your body movements you will shut off the chatter of your mind. It is all connected. 

The actual physical experience of this mental benefit has been scientifically proven many times by many people practicing in many traditions. 

A case study. 

I was laying in final relaxation and realized that I hadn’t thought of anything but aligning myself in yoga poses for the last half hour, the sense of relief was overwhelming, this one fact kept me coming back to my mat. I had an almost daily physical practice for years, it brought great comfort to my mind. 

“The actual experience of consuming coffee (yoga).”

To dabble or not to dabble, that is the next post… and the staleness factor is getting closer...