Yoga Teachers: Be One Or Date One, It’s All The Rage

Yoga teacher w/ studentA funny thing is happening in the yoga world according to the Wall Street Journal and the Hollywood Reporter.

Not exactly your go-to fitness resources, but there they were – stories about how yoga is changing the landscape of people’s careers and social lives. It seems that yoga enthusiasts are so enthusiastic about their practice, they’re taking it to the next level:

They’re either becoming yoga instructors themselves, or they’re marrying their yoga instructors.

According to the WSJ’s “Why Everyone’s A Yoga Teacher,” the rate of new teacher training is outpacing the growth of new students. The Yoga Alliance, the nation’s largest yoga-teacher registry, reports that more than 14,700 new teachers have registered. The number of newly registered yoga teachers in the U.S. has rose an average of 18% a year from 2008 to 2014 – that’s three times as fast as the 6% growth rate for yoga participation overall.

Yoga is many things to many people: exercise, discipline, relaxation and restoration. But it’s the higher, more spiritual calling and deeper connection of yoga that people are seeking. For this reason, they’re getting their teaching credentials.

Some will teach as a second career, but most won’t even teach at all. Instead, they’ll use their teacher training purely as continuing education to further their knowledge of yoga, deepen their practice, and get closer to Nirvana by way of the proper down dog.

It seems everyone’s getting into the act. My friend David Bender, a managing director at StockCross Financial Services, still has his day job in the bond and equity markets, but teaches a few classes a week. Even my own cousin, a former high-power talent agent, is in the process of opening up his own yoga studio.

There is definitely a deepening love affair with yoga, and by all accounts, the love is deepening with its instructors too.

In the Hollywood Reporter article “Hollywood’s Moguls’ Arm Candy Du Jour: Goodbye Asians, Hello Yoga Instructors,” it appears the newest trophy girlfriend (at least for the male power elite of the entertainment industry) is no longer found at nightclubs, or on yachts, or at Hef’s pad, but rather, at a yoga studio near you.

Just look at the Crown Prince of Sweden, or actors Alec Baldwin and John C. McGinley – they all married their yoga instructors. Two of my female yoga colleagues at Equinox met and married their yoga students from class.

This has me thinking: Is it possible that had I become a yoga instructor instead of a personal trainer, I might’ve gotten married years ago? All those hours of studying exercise physiology when I should’ve been learning Sanskrit. @#*!

The truth is, guys dig chicks that are natural, spiritual, and of course, flexible as Gumby. Women dig male yoga instructors because, well, they’re all sex gods, aren’t they?

You’re hot and sweaty, assuming near pornographic poses and positions, getting touched and adjusted…the whole thing reeks of sex – or maybe it’s just the stinky yoga mats, who knows.

I’ve always told my single friends that yoga classes are a gold mine of dating potential. For the most part, yoga devotees are fit, attractive, and fairly evolved (that is, until you have to fight your way into a crowded yoga class and “evolved” goes right out the window).

This hot-for-yoga-teacher trend also makes sense to relationship experts who see a lot of traditional male/female dynamics being played out.

Alpha men hooking up with yoga teachers chimes with Eastern philosophy, offers Dr. Pat Allen, an L.A. relationship guru. “In old Chinese quantum physics, men had yang bodies: They build, they create. Women receive. Alpha men have a very tough time committing to alpha women. They’ll have an alpha mistress, but not an Alpha wife. Alpha men do better with beta women: sensitive, empathetic and kind. Who epitomizes beta better than a yoga teacher.”

That is, unless the yoga teacher is an ass-kicking, ball buster like a few I know around town. They’re hot, they’re sexy, but I’m pretty sure they’d chew you up and spit you out in the sack.

On the appeal of yoginis to Hollywood, relationship therapist Dr. Shannon Chavez notes: “In my practice, the busiest men and women are looking for deeper meaning. They’re bored in their marriages, sexually dissatisfied, seeking communication beyond the grind. People are looking for partners now that make them feel whole and less judged and insecure.”

TRANSLATION: Men want women who won’t give them shit, who won’t talk back, and who can put their legs behind their ears.

This is why I never became a yoga teacher. I can hardly touch my toes.

But according to David Bender my yoga teacher friend, dating yoga instructors isn’t the magical, transcendent experience it’s believed to be.”Yes, teachers are in touch with their spirituality, but they don’t walk on water. They’re actually more fucked-up than you think.”

Whew! Am I glad I’m a personal trainer!

Whether you’re doing yoga for the love, for the money, to answer your higher calling, or to find your next wife, you’ve got my blessings. You’re doing Buddha’s work, and for that, you deserve a great, big namaste.

 

Surviving Single Life: 10 Tips

Single LifeOnly child, divorced parents, single forever, yep, you could say I know a thing or two about being alone and on my own.

Been there, done that, lived it, and survived.

So can you. Whether you’re just entering singledom for the first time, or been there forever, single life is a journey– a beautiful, amazing, tough motherfucker of a slog.

Being single was the best of times and the worst of times. I loved it, I hated it, and I always learned from it. As Winston Churchill once said: “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” And I did. Whether it was navigating the world alone as an only child or constructing it as a single woman, I kept going.

Going solo isn’t always easy, but it does show you what you’re made of.

The following isn’t dating advice; it’s practical wisdom and survival tips that kept me sane when I was single, and continue to come in handy even as a married person. The wisdom might sound familiar, but it never gets old.

Hopefully as you navigate your own journey through single life (or just life in general), these tips will come in handy for you too.

KNOW YOUR WORTH

Having a sense of your own value is what self-worth is all about. It’s the sum total of your principles, character, attributes, and personal power. Knowing your worth protects you from being exploited, becoming a victim, compromising yourself, or selling out.

RAISE YOUR BAR

Once you know your worth, you can start aiming higher – personally, professionally, and romantically. If you know you deserve better, then don’t be afraid to ask for it. Demand it. Especially when it comes to love. Don’t settle for less. Raise your bar and watch the quality of your life improve.

HEAL YOUR WOUNDS

In order to move forward, you’ve got to take a few steps back. I would ask, who hurt you? What’s the source of your pain? What past action or event gave you emotional scar tissue? Don’t take old wounds, grief or anger into your future. Do whatever it takes to heal them now and be free.

LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES

No one’s perfect, we all make mistakes – I’ve made plenty. The key is to apply your newfound wisdom to becoming a better person, parent, partner, whatever. Fucking up isn’t the worst thing in the world – repeating your fuck-ups is.

SET YOUR BOUNDARIES

Boundaries are a lifesaver. I’m talking about saying no, standing up, speaking up, and refusing to take on people’s pain and suffering. When you set clear boundaries, you become your own advocate for self-respect.

FIND YOUR PASSION

The quickest way to take the edge off being single is to get busy. Ask yourself what you love, then pursue it with a passion. Stay social, surround yourself with good friends, volunteer, engage with your world. You’ll create new interests, new relationships, and find new purpose in life.

BE ALONE WITH YOURSELF

While it’s important to stay busy, it’s also important to know how to be alone without freaking out. Get comfortable in your skin; enjoy your own company; and carve out quality alone time. Learn to savor the stillness and you’ll never be lonely again.

TEMPER YOUR EXPECTATIONS

Having goals is great, but having unrealistic expectations can set you up for disaster. Deepak Chopra describes this as “detaching from the outcome.” Remember, there is power in letting go and surrendering control. You can have aspirations, but beware of having expectations.

COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS

It’s the hardest thing to do when you’re feeling bad, but taking stock of what you have, instead of what’s missing, speeds up the healing process. Dig deep and find some gratitude every day (“I’m grateful for my family, friends, clients, job, health,” etc.) You’ll feel a shift and a lift.

KEEP YOUR SENSE OF HUMOR

If anything will keep you from losing your shit, it’s keeping your sense of humor. Whether it’s a bad date, a bad breakup, or some other bad news, let it go. It’s just not worth it. Remember to keep your wits (and wit) about you.

It doesn’t matter if you’re new to the single club or a lifelong member. What matters is that you find what works to keep you sane and empowered.

Like I said, being single isn’t always easy, but should you find yourself going through hell, just remember to keep going. It’s a worthy slog.

Required reading and suggestions for singles and non-singles alike

 

Same Footsteps, Different Paths

IMG_0003She was in her early 20s, just off the boat from Scotland; he was in his early 30s, newly transplanted from Brooklyn when they met and married in the 50’s.

Robby and I will be well into our 50s when we walk down the aisle for the first time.

They had a half a handful of relationships before tying the knot; Robby and I will have dated half the world before getting hitched.

They were young and inexperienced: she was an entry-level secretary at CBS; he was right out of the mailroom at William Morris; Robby and I are old pros with years of life experience under our belt.

They were just starting out, finding their way, not fully knowing themselves, or the ways of the world; Robby and I have been around the block, graduated from the school of hard knocks, and have the battle scars to show for it.

When they got married, they were building a life, planning for a family, and preparing for the future; Robby and I are already established and are looking forward to building on what we already have.

When my parents had sex, they made a baby; in about five minutes Robby and I will be sexy senior citizens.

When they moved in together, they had nothing, not even a pot to piss in; Robby and I already have our own sets of dishes, a blender, a hand mixer, a vacuum, AND a pot to piss in. We don’t really need anything, but we registered anyway because who couldn’t use a new pot?

They had goals and hopes and dreams for the future; so do we, but we’re also happy to be in the present.

They were early adopters; we’re late bloomers.

The comparisons and differences are many, but there’s one thing we all proudly did together:

WE MARRIED FOR LOVE.

Not for money, not for power, not for status, not for a green card, or because of obligation or pressure. Not for any other reason, just love.

IMG_0002Like Frank Sinatra, we did it our way – on our terms, at our own pace, in our own time. And like Paul and Sonjia Brandon, we’re doing it with integrity.

Here’s how my mother describes starting out with my father:

SONJIA:

“He was handsome, he was nice, he was a good person, and he appreciated my humor. We didn’t have much money, but we had love, and we got by. We had a small wedding at a little shul on Beverly Blvd., and had to borrow a car to go on our honeymoon since his car was in the shop. In those days, you didn’t wait to get married. It was the thing to do, and I’m glad we did because, well, we had you.”

Unfortunately, their marriage didn’t last, but knowing their story and hearing how they met has always been a source of inspiration for me. Robby’s and my path to the altar may look very different from my parents’ path, but in many ways, we’re following exactly in their footsteps.

And Now, A Word From The Late Blooming Groom

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming to bring you Robby, my future better half. Since I’ve been doing all of the talking on these blog posts, I thought it might be time to hear another perspective on finding love later in life. So here he is, former bachelor, current fiancé, and fellow late bloomer Robert Ira Scharf, in his own words.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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Robby trying out wedding rings with his bass…comfort is key!

A year ago, I was a single guy. My last “relationship” ended a year before that, and since then, I had settled back into a somewhat dull single life. I knew if I ever got involved with someone new, I’d need to be much more careful and selective.

I never before felt I needed to get married. There were some girlfriends in the past I got close to, but none close enough to propose. Being in my mid-50s, I had a somewhat Zen philosophy about relationships; I felt if something was meant to happen, it would.

Treva and I both graduated from Beverly Hills High School, but didn’t know each other at all back then (I’m six years older, so I was long gone by the time she was a freshman). But with our similar backgrounds, we had over a hundred mutual friends on Facebook (some of them actually “real” friends). One of these friends was a guy I was very close to when I was young. He had been going through a tough time and I felt the need to reach out to one of his friends to see if we could help.

That friend was Treva.

At the time, she was hesitant and kept her distance as she didn’t know me or necessarily trust me. We had a few pleasant Facebook messages, but that was it. Months later, I received a message from Treva inviting me to her 50th birthday party.

I had no reason not to attend, but without knowing her at all, what was I going to bring? I decided on champagne, and realizing that first impressions are everything, I got the good stuff: Veuve Clicquot. I think it worked.

Was it love at first sight? Very possibly. We hugged each other hello and something clicked. It felt natural and good, and unlike anything I’ve ever felt. Our time together has always felt that natural, and after 6 months of dating, I realized I was done looking – and what was I waiting for anyway?

I didn’t want Treva Brandon to go one more minute knowing that I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life with her.

A week after I proposed (and she said “Yes!”) I became acutely aware of a few amazing things that I would’ve never been able to experience prior to becoming engaged:

1. While waiting for a table at a restaurant with friends, I realized that not only was I thrilled to feel a love I’ve never felt for someone else before, but I also had a feeling of euphoria come over me thinking that someone as incredible as Treva could possibly feel a similar love for me.

2. I knew I was in the right relationship when “compromise” was the first thing I wanted to do, not the last.

3. Even though my life has changed completely (for the better), I don’t believe Treva and I have changed to please each other. We’re exactly who we are together, and that’s the best affirmation that we’ve both found the right person.

As for that mutual friend, well, he’s still unable to shake his issues, but Treva and I are far past that and can’t wait to start our life together.

Some Accidental Advice From An Accidental Bride

2fc24b029a9d5e9df07aa15d8085f134On my long journey to the altar, I seem to have picked up some accidental wisdom along the way.

Call it unintended self-illumination or inadvertent enlightenment, the path to marriage has taught me a lot. Now, I realize that getting married isn’t the end-all, be-all pinnacle of success, but for me it’s a bit of an accidental achievement, since I tried for so long, and always seemed to come up short.

While on this marriage quest, I learned a thing or two about love and relationships, and what I did to fuck it all up.

I made mistakes and bad choices. I trusted and got burned. I didn’t know my worth, and I didn’t always honor my highest good. In other words, I got my ass kicked.

But I did get some good insights out of it!

With 50 years of single life under my belt, I feel uniquely qualified to share those insights with you. Some of them might sound familiar, some might feel old, but no matter how you spin it, they work.

1. Have Aspirations, Not Expectations

Nothing will set you up for disappointment faster than having expectations, not meeting them, or having others not meet them. You can aspire to achieving things, you can hope for the best, but make sure you keep your expectations in check.

2. Set Clear Boundaries

Setting boundaries with people is the ultimate act of self-respect and self-preservation. By designating personal limits and healthy parameters with others, you’ll not only save yourself a lot of time and energy, you’ll save your sanity and protect your soul.

3. Heal Your Wounds

Fix what’s damaged and heal what’s broken. Go deep. Do the work. Read, meditate, get therapy. Don’t be afraid to face the hard truths about yourself. It will take you places in yourself and give you incredible clarity.

4. Don’t Pick The Scab

Once your wound has formed a scab, don’t pick at it. It doesn’t matter if it’s a broken heart, a bruised ego, or a wounded psyche – let it heal. Picking the scab undermines your progress, prolongs the pain, and impedes your ability to move forward.

5. Stay On The Path Of Right Action

Staying on the path of right action means making good choices, using your good judgment and being smart. Don’t do things you know are ill-advised and potentially damaging to your self-worth. Everyone makes mistakes, just make sure you get right back on track if you fall off.

6. Have An Attitude Of Gratitude

You’ve heard this a million times, but it’s true: being grateful will take the edge off any resentment, regret, and bitterness you may be harboring. Be thankful for every little thing you have, and any little kindness you get in the world.

7. Breathe Deep And Let Go Of Things

Like I said in my very first blog post, when you let go, when you release and surrender, magical things can happen. So stop worrying, waiting, and wondering– you might actually get what you want. Breathe deep and let life happen.

I’m not sure if I chose this path, or this path chose me, but here I am, about to get married and I couldn’t be happier or more relieved (I’m not going to lie– it took a lot of work to get here). Yes, I have a magnificent fiancé and sparkly engagement ring to show for my efforts, but I also have wisdom – which is just as precious.

How He Put A Ring On It

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The Bachelor Pad Proposal.

One Friday night in early August 2013, Robby and I were hanging out at his downtown L.A. loft/bachelor pad/man cave, drinking wine and having a perfectly nice time, when the subject of moving in together came up.

That’s when everything went to shit.

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Announcing An Engagement Fifty Years In The Making.

IMG_3929Finally, the words I’ve waited fifty years to say: I’M ENGAGED.  Why now you ask and not five years ago?  Ten years ago?  Twenty years ago?  Not sure, but I think it has a little something to do with the right time, the right guy, and being in the right place emotionally and personally.  Being a late bloomer had a lot to do with it, too.

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