Monday, March 15, 2010

Yoga Mamas and POSSLQs

Julie Rappaport has re-started Yoga classes, ongoing Thursday mornings, at 7th Heaven in Berkeley, CA. See the bottom of this post for the full announcement. Julie is the baby-mama and POSSLQ of my friend and Dharma brother Chris.

I picked up the expression POSSLQ 30 years ago, when I was with Swami Muktananda on his 3rd Tour of the US. I lived in the ashrams (meditation communities) for years, exchanging work for room and board. It's always nice to have spending money, so ashramites were often on the lookout for opportunities to earn some cash.

Funny how money can take center stage in a spiritual community, huh? We believed that it was vital to our inner advancement to remain part of the guru's staff, and that required at least a little cash-flow. If we could just find the occasional job, a temporary gig that would require only a brief break from ashram life, then we'd be set on the road to Enlightenment.

In 1980, the tour was on break for a few weeks, while Muktananda and crew moved from the temporary ashram in Miami Beach to the US headquarters in South Fallsburg, NY. I found my golden opportunity: I briefly stayed behind in Florida to work as a census-taker.

Walking around in the heat, knocking on doors of people who didn't want to be bothered, wasn't so easy. (It's nice that I had some really crappy jobs in my youth; it makes my current work as an MS Excel expert seem luxurious by comparison.) People were supposed to fill out their census forms by mail; for those who didn't, the Census Bureau paid people like me to visit and interview them to get the information.

At each house, I'd first interview the Head of the Household, filling in the form with their census statistics. Next, I had to ask each other resident how they were related to the Head, and get their info too. In the check-boxes to indicate this relationship, one of the options was the new government-issued term for unmarried partners: POSSLQs. It stood for Persons of the Opposite Sex Sharing Living Quarters.

I don't think the acronym ever caught on much. This, in spite of the fact that while I was ringing doorbells in the 100+ degree Miami heat, CBS commentator Charles Osgood was honoring the census by composing a poem with lines like: There's nothing that I wouldn't do / If you would be my POSSLQ / You live with me and I with you / And you will be my POSSLQ.

Census-taking was a stretch for me. I'm an introverted person; my current job in computer programming is more comfortable than work requiring constant human interaction. Back in my 20s, though, I had little understanding of what job or life-situation I was best suited for. It led to more boundary-challenging choices than I'd make now as a middle-aged person. What can you do?

The census job had its moments. I remember one guy who, when I asked about his race, told me with an absolutely straight face that he ran the marathon. And once I was interviewing a couple... they seemed to be POSSLQs, but I had to formally ask the woman the question, "How would you describe your relationship to the head of this household?" For a few seconds she looked over at him, then back at me... she shrugged and answered, "Not bad."

Here's Julie's announcement with details of her Yoga classes:
Greetings Yogis,

I want to help you get your yoga off to a great start this winter and spring! First, check out my new web site and blog, and please if you would link to it if you have a site. I'll link back to yours.

I'm back teaching at 7th Heaven this week, after a long break from the studio setting. I'm offering a new class on Thursday Mornings from 10-11:30AM.

Please join me in a deep flowing weekly yoga class for mixed levels 1-3.

We will playfully explore the potential for yoga to transform deeply held stress into joy. I will offer different Vinyasa sequences, long holds, and ideas for healthy yoga posture alignment, as well as time for savasana, and meditation.

I'm also offering private yoga sessions, and yoga therapy by appointment, and will discount any of my regular students who want to learn in an individualized setting. Call or write to set up your appointment: 510-273-2417

Finally, please contact me for more details if you or a friend are interested in joining Yoga Mamas! Yoga Mamas is a group for mothers that offers a safe place to share the struggles, challenges and joys of motherhood from a place of embodiment, connection and community. Using yoga, movement and mindfulness as our guide, we will practice yoga, move, share experiences and discuss issues of motherhood in a safe and nurturing circle of women. All mothers of younger children (0-12 yrs.) are welcome, and no one philosophy of parenting is espoused- just a desire to be more conscious as parents. This is not a mama/baby yoga class, although pre-crawling babies may join us in the studio.

Peace for a Happy and Healthy 2010 and please send me your news!