Ricky Tran's Yoga
"When you practice without judgement or expectation, amazing things will begin to happen."- Ricky Tran
Ricky Tran's workshop Sunday at Jennyoga was exceptional but not entirely what I expected. I took his Lotus workshop (hip, hip, hip openers!) at the Texas Yoga Conference earlier this year and expected something similar. But, then why do I carry my expectations into my practice? Gee, isn't that what I ask my students to let go of?
He began with Q&A. I asked what his daily yoga practice consisted of. "Depends on how you define yoga... yoga is of course union. Uniting something together, all day." Further, he confided it was "creating stillness." Moving right out of bed into with asana by stretching his arms over head, bowing forward, and a doing a light practice that leads to pranayama which leads to going to the toilet (in yoga you talk a lot about waste elimination, digestion, etc.), followed by meditation for stillness. Later in the day, he might begin again by stretching his arms up...
His daily "practice" seems delightful to me. In comparison, mine is also in search of stillness on the inside, while I do everything I can to enjoy the action around me.... children swirling, technology coming in faster than I can blink telling me which practice and game and class is where. Teaching, eating while driving. (I love those small "cutie" oranges. So much for single pointed focus. I peel and drive very carefully. )
And yet, stillness often seems illusive. Ricky and I are obviously in different season's of life. Part of me envies the time when time was actually your own, when you could stop, stretch your arms up and bow and not come in contact with a dirty sock and shin guard that belongs to a sweet 9 year old. Or practice salamba sirsasana for more than 60 seconds without my son's friend running in saying, look! Your mom's on her head!! Come see! (The prospect of non-swirling activity will come all too soon when the boys grow up.)
Ricky also shared his life journey from drug addiction in his youth into the freedom he now feels through living his yoga (within just 6 months). 2 reasons behind our motivation to do things: 1. We seek pleasure and 2. We avoid pain. When the drugs no longer served to bring him pleasure but precipitated more pain, and his yoga practice gave him more pleasure than pain (In the beginning Ricky couldn't even touch his toes. Ah, hope for the stiffest among us. Difficult to imagine Ricky not being able to reach his toes when you see the amazing feats he can do now). He asked us "to look at the 5 people we hang around the most. They are the sum of yourself." In other words, he's chosen to no longer associate with drug dealers but yogis. Statistics agree, how influential friends can be. So, he made life choices. I was a little saddened to hear him say that he used to play volleyball and now pretty much just practices yoga. Without judgement, I have to say that I'm not sure I would feel as balanced if I let go of other things that brought me joy. But Ricky seems to have inner calm, through a continuous dedicated practice which has given him a whole new life. Still and whole.
It's refreshing to watch him practice and lecture. He has a lovely sparkle in his eyes. It reminds me of when my son learned, really learned how to ride his bike. All he wanted to do was ride, fast, all day, everywhere, and he was breathless with excitement. It will also be wonderful to see Ricky in about 10 years, with the wisdom of time as his teacher. Can't wait to see how he grows and matures as a teacher and student, not for his fancy one handed lotus jump back and flip around and fly back up again, but for what his life will teach him through intension ("energy and pure consciousness") and seva (selfless service).