Arun began his practice as he always did – with a moment of silent meditation to clear his mind of anything that would interfere. Today, that interference came from the unlikeliest of sources – an offer to become rich and famous by becoming the new face of commercial yoga.

He knew why he was chosen – his looks packed his classes with rapt women, his charisma brought out the men who wanted to learn how he drew all those women (not to mention how he got his legs behind his head without apparently losing his manhood in the process), and his popularity improved the bottom line of every studio he taught for (as well as the bottom line of the flabby bodies who attended).

He knew there was danger in the offer as well as opportunity. The opportunity was obvious – teach the world how to live more mindfully by learning to pay attention to every detail without judgment. The danger was implicit – would fame alter him, turn him into an egomaniac, just another greedhead selling his soul to the corporate Baal?

Arun had studied with many Yoga masters but none had prepared him for this. He needed a different kind of teacher, someone who would guide him through unfamiliar and unfriendly territory, who could help him stay who he felt he was inside.

Arun sighed deeply and began his asana practice, putting aside his search for another time. What he could not know was that his inner inquiry had brought him to the attention of another.

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There seemed to be a dust storm in the desert, but there was no wind.

There seemed to be music emanating from the dust cloud but no musicians.

Two young men straddled their ATVs where they had been (illegally) riding off-trail and chain-smoked while they considered this wierd phenomenon.

“Maybe it’s aliens.”

“No such thing as aliens, ‘less yer talkin’ ’bout Mexicans and why would they be here?”

“Well, that music sure don’t sound Mexican.”

“Hey, there’s a guy!”

A figure had emerged from the dust cloud, tall and lean and wearing a flowing robe-like garment over jeans. He looked pretty determined to get somewhere fast and seemed to be on top of the ATVers in no time at all. As he passed by, the dust cloud surrounded them and they had a sense of a band of musicians following the leader singing in some exotic foreign tongue (“Guru Brahma Guru Vishnu Guro Devo Maheshwara…) banging drums, cymbals, and playing some strange accordian-like thing that seemed rather unwieldy.

Once the cloud had passed, the two men looked at each other with mouths agape. They tried to finish smoking their cigarettes with shaking hands but there were carrot sticks there instead. And their ATVs had vanished. Two burros stood patiently by the trail.

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Satya gazed at her still ample figure in the mirror, not happy with what she saw.  Having embarked on a strict diet and exercise regimen not long after recovering from giving birth to her son she felt weak, deprived, dissatisfied, and yet determined to win back the heart of the man who had abandoned her after she’d gained the weight.  Aerobics classes were too complicated, weight training was boring, running was out of the question.

Today, Satya had decided to try yoga again even though she didn’t feel very good at it.  She had noticed how the celebrities who practiced always had great things to say about it as well as how good they looked.  But there were so many different styles:  Iyengar, Anusara, Bikram, Ashtanga, Sivananda, Integral…. It seemed like there were as many types of yoga as there were teachers of it!

“Well, it’s time to play Wheel of Yoga – which one today?”  Satya closed her eyes and threw a spitball at the wallchart where the local studios were listed.  Opening them again, she groaned.  Time to get ready for the class with half-naked people in it, where the room was heated like a sauna – Bikram!

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