Joy Marzec is a movie writer, producer, director, a music band member, an idea machine, a complete choose yourself case (she invested what she would have paid in film school into making her own films), OH AND…
A yogi practicing the fourth series of Ashtanga Yoga (which in plain terms means something like winning an olympic gold medal three times, not that asana should EVER be on the olympics… But just to give you an idea)
WHAT IS SPECIAL ABOUT JOY
I think that anyone who can see at an early age that school is not worth the “experience of actually doing it” is gifted.
Joy forgoing film school to MAKE ONE instead is an excellent case of how you get things done, and learn as you go.
I admire her deeply for that.
Her latest film: Bhatki Boy has just been finished and she is distributing it to all festivals…
MEANWHILE she has ALREADY started producing and shooting on a new one!
Move over Woody Allen!
David Garrigues has a major role in the movie first movie (Bhatki Boy)
Where does the yoga fit in? I hear you, I was insanely curious, so I asked her everything, but first:
THERE IS MORE…
Joy seems to have unending energy…
The type that gives a good name to yoga.
She has compiled, curated and edited materials that David Garrigues has written and drawn over 35+ years of practice so that we can all peak into the mind of someone of that caliber of practice
The book is called Ashtanga Yoga Maps and Musings and IS AVAILABLE MAY 10th 2015
It has great insights and drawings from David. The photos don’t make justice to how beautiful the book is.
And there are some stunning asana photographs of the journey on which David and Joy have been together for over a decade now, and that includes founding and running the Ashtanga Yoga School of Philadelphia
WHAT WE TALKED ABOUT
- When did she get started (early)
- How did she meet David Garrigues
- When did she move out of Seattle and why
- What is it like to travel all over the world with a Certified Ashtanga Yoga teacher?
- Why she asked David to slow down and not go forward with fourth series so fast (probably the only person in the universe to say that)
- What inspired Joy to take David’s notes and make them into a beautiful book
- THEN… David Garrigues (who “happened” to be in shoulder stand at 3:00 PM on a Tuesday) came over and JOINED US
- We talked for a while.
- David says shoulder stand helps him get into a meditative state, I asked “how so”?
- Joy tells me TWO things that took her a LONG time to understand
Asana Kitchen (which Joy Produces, films, edits etc)
Claudia A. Altucher: Hello, and welcome to The Yoga Podcast. I am every excited today ’cause I have Joy Marzec, who is an amazing woman, not just yoga, but she is an independent filmmaker from Philadelphia who has worked for ten years as a professional writer and director in theater. In January of 2015, which is this year, she completed her first feature film, Bhakti Boy, which I had the privilege of watch before it releases, I guess, to the larger audience, and Bhakti Boy is currently being submitted to film festivals. Also, this November, Joy will shoot her second feature, which is I, Skylar, AM THAT. She’s also the producer of the online yoga video series, Asana Kitchen, which certified teacher, David Garrigues, offers. She produces all of those and she’s a co-owner of the Ashtanga Yoga School of Philadelphia. Welcome, Joy
Joy Marzec: Yes, hello. I’m so happy to be here.
Claudia A. Altucher: That’s great. Now, you know, I look at your Facebook or your Twitter, and one day, I see you on location in New Mexico, the next day, I see you starting four series with David, the next day, you’re in India, in some retreat. What the hell is going on with your life? Are you ever in one place?
Joy Marzec: No, we are never in one place. Actually, yesterday, we just got home after being away for four months, and –
Claudia A. Altucher: So you were in India?
Joy Marzec: We were in India and then we were also in New Mexico. I’m shooting my – that next film, I, Skylar, AM THAT, in New Mexico, so I was doing a lot of pre-production work, and then we’re in India for David’s yearly Kovalam Mysore retreat.
Claudia A. Altucher: That’s right.
Joy Marzec: So that, combined, meant we were away for four months.
Claudia A. Altucher: Gee, so you’re just coming back. When did you land back?
Joy Marzec: Last night, yeah.
Claudia A. Altucher: Oh, you’re in India time or you’re in New Mexico time?
Joy Marzec: No, no, no, we are in New Mexico time, yes.
Claudia A. Altucher: In New Mexico time, so it’s not so terrible. That’s good to know. Must feel good to be home. So I want to ask you, how many films have you done, because while researching you, I saw there was a short film you made before, also, called The Medicine Wheel, right?
Joy Marzec: Yes, yes. That was – so I worked in theatre, like you said, professionally for ten years, and I had this crisis moment when it was opening night, I was in the lighting booth, I was watching the play, and I realized that I was seeing everything in shots, and – yes, exactly.
Claudia A. Altucher: What do you mean you were seeing everything in shots?
Joy Marzec: Like, this woman, I saw her as a close-up. [Laughs] And then I thought, “Cut to a wide shot of them around the campfire,” you know, I can’t remember exactly what – and so anyways, this was horrible, terrifying. I had spent my entire childhood and my first young adult years doing theater, and so yes, and so that’s when I switched to film. And so The Medicine Wheel was my sort of first foray into experimenting with film and trying it out.
Claudia A. Altucher: I see. So you had this realization that even though you liked theater, you started seeing it in screenshots and in storytelling and where the shot would go, and you realized your call is actually film, not theater, so like a freak-out moment there after so many years.
Joy Marzec: It was a total panic. I mean, it took about a year of just processing it all. It was really hard, yeah.
Claudia A. Altucher: Right, and this film is not available. I couldn’t find it, The Medicine Wheel. I saw a preview for it. I guess it’s a short movie?
Joy Marzec: Yeah, you know, I would really need to go back and – it’s about a 25-minute short film that should be an 11-minute short film.
So I would need to go back and re-edit it. I might do it one day, but it really was just an experiment, you know, see if I did like it, and I did. I ended up finding out that I liked being a writer, a director, and an editor, so it’s pretty amazing.
Claudia A. Altucher: So you do everything, and you’re inspired by an artist – by Kubrick, by Woody Allen, by – you have all these influences and Kuro – Kawasaki – Kirasaki…
Joy Marzec: Yeah, Kurosara.
Claudia A. Altucher: Kurosara, sorry.
Joy Marzec: Yeah, I love Ingmar Bergman, I love PT Anderson, I love all those guys, so –
Claudia A. Altucher: You love Kubrick as well – and I didn’t know this about Kubrick, but he made a lot of experimental films in the beginning that you pointed out that I had no idea existed, like – and he wanted to keep true to himself, and you were pointing that out.
Joy Marzec: Yeah, yeah, he’s – I mean, he’s just one of those go-tos, you know? I didn’t go to school for theater or film. I went to school for economics and –
Yes, and so I really have been self-taught for everything, you know? I know this is something that you talk about. I realized that if it was gonna cost me $40,000.00 a year to go to film school, well, that was about the same price cost that I could make my own film.
Claudia A. Altucher: Exactly.
Joy Marzec: So that’s really what I’ve been doing from the very beginning.
Claudia A. Altucher: So you chose yourself.
Joy Marzec: Yes, I chose myself, yes.
Claudia A. Altucher: Yes. Go Joy. And so then, we fast forward, and now you have just released a film and you’re in the process and you’re in pre-production for the second one, and in the middle of all of these, you found yoga, or did yoga come before, or how did that happen?
Joy Marzec: Okay, so it’s actually not fast forwarding. When I was about 19, I started really having the discipline of writing, and that, within months, coincided with my discipline of the yoga practice.
Claudia A. Altucher: I see.
Joy Marzec: And so I’m not sure – now, I – they’re so attached that I can’t do one without the other. And I really do consider myself a writer, and so yeah, that’s how it is.
Claudia A. Altucher: And when you started at 19, what style of yoga did you go into? How did that happen?
Joy Marzec: Well, for the first three years, I did have the The Power of Yoga book by Bertrich – I can’t remember her name.
Claudia A. Altucher: Cheryl Burch…
Joy Marzec: Bendrick. Bendrick or something, yes, and – but mostly, I just made up my own sequences, but I practiced every day, and I just loved it. I had this thought that yoga could really expand my creativity, just make it explode. I didn’t know how, but I thought that could happen, that could be an avenue for it, so I was always – I’ve always been very dedicated to the practice, and –
Claudia A. Altucher: And did it help you with creativity?
Joy Marzec: You know, I think about this a lot, and I definitely think having the structure of it and – yeah, the breathing and – yes, I do. I do think so, yes, I do.
Claudia A. Altucher: Because what I find a common theme – I mean, I don’t know about your new movie, but in the film, Bhakti Boy, and in things that you write, there is a tremendous quest for truth.
Joy Marzec: Yes.
Claudia A. Altucher: You want to find what is the truth and how to stay true to your own self, and so I wonder, recently, you had said that you – and this is something that I relate to a lot, that putting the Bhakti Boy movie out brought a lot of fear in you. You didn’t wanna show it. You got really scared and you thought that you could have changed some things, that – and on and on. What happened to you there, because – and I relate to these. I put a book out and I’m like, “Oh my God, what did I do?” So I think it’s part of the creative process.
Joy Marzec: Yeah, no, I think you’re right. I think it is, and, you know, I care a lot, and I think that fear comes with that. I think it’s actually quite simple. I think you really care about your book doing well and you want – not even just doing well; you want people to understand it and to convey the message, and so yeah, for me, that’s – I really care, and I don’t know if it’s that simple, exactly, but at this moment, that’s what I’m coming up with. [Laughs]
Claudia A. Altucher: Right, and is the movie released to everyone by now, or is it just going to festivals for now?
Joy Marzec: Yeah, it’s going to festivals for now. I’m thinking that in July, that is when I will fully release it on my website. There’s just such a process to all of this, and so yeah, that’s what’s happening right now.
Claudia A. Altucher: Yeah, I can imagine it’s probably very difficult, the – everything. You do everything from the design, the writing, the script, the producing, the acting, the directing, the editing. The set of skills that you’ve gotten is just outta control. It’s amazing, I mean, all you, and –
Joy Marzec: Yeah, and that really is – I really do feel like the yoga allows me to do that. I really do.
Claudia A. Altucher: Would you say it’s because of the discipline aspect of it?
Joy Marzec: You know, yes, definitely the discipline aspect of it, and then, also, the continual pushing myself so that – right now, like you said, I’m learning the fourth series, and I am not going to pull one over on you. It is – there are days when I think this is nearly impossible, and – [laughs]
Claudia A. Altucher: I believe that. Anyone listening who may not know what the fourth series of Ashtanga yoga is, it’s the equivalent of winning the gold medals in the Olympics about four years in a row, and then keep practicing every day. It’s something around that level.
Joy Marzec: Yeah, it is just insanely challenging, and – but – and it’s constantly facing fear, and this is something that David Garrigues, my partner – and you’ll find this – that’s why I included it, a piece in – we haven’t talked about this yet, but in his Maps and Musings book, he talks a lot about fear, especially in the journal section, and it’s very small, small steps of progress, and that is how I feel about my films, is that I’m just taking these little small, small steps, you know?
Claudia A. Altucher: Yes, yes, and putting the work out there, I think, is brilliant, because I see it in me. My first book, I’m so embarrassed of, 21 Things To Know About Ashtanga Yoga. Every time I see it, I cringe, but I know that if I take it out of Amazon, there’s gonna be a black market for it, so I just have to leave it there. [Laughs] So it – but then you keep growing and then you get over it, and then the films just get – you get a better perspective, or at least that’s what happens to me in writing. And the book you just mentioned is called Ashtanga Yoga Maps and Musings, which you edited for David. Now, I want to get to that because I’ve been a cheerleader for that since the day I met you, I think, in ___ or years ago, maybe in 2009 or ’10, I don’t remember, but before that, I wanted to ask you, how did you actually meet David?
Joy Marzec: Okay. So like I said, from 19 to about 22, I just practiced on my own, and then – but at 20, I actually did find – 20 or 21, I did find Ashtanga yoga and started that practice. So –
Claudia A. Altucher: Where were you living?
Joy Marzec: Excuse me?
Claudia A. Altucher: Where were you living at that point?
Joy Marzec: In Seattle.
Claudia A. Altucher: I see.
Joy Marzec: I was going to – I was getting my degree in economics at the University of Washington.
Claudia A. Altucher: I see.
Joy Marzec: And so there were two Ashtanga yoga studios, one of them closed, and so then I ended up going over to David’s shala, the Ashtanga Yoga School of Seattle, and that was when I met David.
Claudia A. Altucher: I see. So you met him in a student relationship setting?
Joy Marzec: Exactly, yeah.
Claudia A. Altucher: Student and teacher kind of relationship, and then I guess you made friends or…
Joy Marzec: Yeah, you know, there’s always a process to that. [Laughs] So yeah, so we became friends, and then a few years later was – that was when we started to become more intimate with each other.
Claudia A. Altucher: And when did you move to Philadelphia with him?
Joy Marzec: So I moved to Philadelphia first because I was in a band, and so the moment I was having my crisis about theatre –
Claudia A. Altucher: Wait, also a band?
Joy Marzec: Yeah, I know. [Laughs]
Claudia A. Altucher: You’re – really? Oh my God. [Laughs]
Joy Marzec: I know, I know, I know. [Laughs] And so I was having my crisis with theatre, and it was the perfect time for the band to start performing out loud ’cause their album was being released, and so that was when I moved to Philadelphia, and then within a year, David, then, came out to Philadelphia as well, so –
Claudia A. Altucher: And what were you, 23, 24 by then?
Joy Marzec: So I was 25. Twenty-five.
Claudia A. Altucher: Oh, you were 25?
Joy Marzec: Yeah.
Claudia A. Altucher: And then immediately, you guys start – opened the Ashtanga Yoga School of Philadelphia?
Joy Marzec: I think a couple years after that, we started to. We came out with the Asana Kitchens – that whole series was, I think, a year before we started the AYS Philadelphia.
Claudia A. Altucher: Those are incredible, by the way. There’s one, specifically, that I love on Pashasana, which is the first series of the – the first post of the intermediate series that I’ve watched many times. They’re very well-done, they have nice music, and I guess – you know, we’ve been talking with James a lot about how there is this power of partnership, how there’s almost no Joy without David and no David without Joy, or no James without Claudia and so on, and it seems to me that your partnership is very, very special in that sense. You guys are not just sort of in a relationship, but also lovers, and also, somewhat student and teacher because he teaches you, right?
Joy Marzec: Yes. Oh, yes, yes. Yeah, we have – you know, my father always says it. We just have this amazing synergy, you know? I mean, if there are past lives, then David and I certainly have been together prior to this.
Claudia A. Altucher: Right, right, and you can tell when you’re there, when I see you guys together. Speaking of that, there is a story about him in the book, but –
Joy Marzec: Yes.
Claudia A. Altucher: Yeah, tell me about your father.
Joy Marzec: Yeah, so he – so that story in the book, my father, for the past five years ago, he’s been on that restless leg syndrome medicine, and last year, when he went to David’s intensive in Kovalam, he decide –
Claudia A. Altucher: How did you get your father to go to that? Was it of his own accord?
Joy Marzec: Yes, and it – my – you’ll love this. I hope your audience appreciates this. My mother is 63 years old and she’s getting her Ph.D.
Claudia A. Altucher: Wow.
Joy Marzec: Yeah, and so basically, my father, he knew that he could split without my mom and she would be fine with it.
Claudia A. Altucher: Right. She’s busy.
Joy Marzec: Yeah, she’s really busy, exactly. So yeah, he just – you know, he wanted an adventure, so he came and he started coming. Every morning, he would come and he would do about 20 minutes. At the end, I think he was doing 30 minutes after the one-month period, and he was able – he has not taken his restless legs syndrome medicine since. And he –
Claudia A. Altucher: Wow, how old is your dad?
Joy Marzec: He’s 67, and really, he does five Surya Namaskars A and he does triangle.
Claudia A. Altucher: Wow.
Joy Marzec: Yeah.
Claudia A. Altucher: But what was interesting to me is that you – the story that goes in the book that when he was in India, he was doing a little bit more – I think the Dhanurasana or a couple of things, and then when he went back, the practice went away a bit, and then one day you were visiting him and he decided to come and join you, and after a while, he wasn’t doing the triangles, and you said, “Wait, what about the triangles?” And he said, “I wanna ease back into this,” right?
Joy Marzec: Yeah, yes, yeah.
Claudia A. Altucher: So it was – I find that that’s – that kind of wisdom comes with age, which is such a big topic throughout the book. He knew that he wanted to get back into the practice, but he also knew that pushing wasn’t gonna be healthy for him.
Joy Marzec: Yes, and that he would – my father knows himself, you’re right, that he would quit if he did too much and that he could possibly experience some knee pain or some wrist pain or something. So yeah, it’s true, and that is something that has taken me a long time to figure out, you know? The concept of – and your husband spoke about this, of leaving early, leaving the party early, and that is something that I definitely, definitely work on every day.
Claudia A. Altucher: Yes, and it’s hard, because sometimes we feel like we wanna push or achieve something or get to something or we get the plane – the mind that hates us.
Joy Marzec: Yeah, and also, I think now, too, when I get on my mat, I’m a filmmaker getting ready for my day, and so that is a huge difference. I have friends, certainly, who their artistic expression for that day is their series, what they’re doing, their yoga practice, and so they spend it all in that three hours, and I can’t do that because I know that I’m gonna go up there, and for me, I need – I’m working on that script or I’m storyboarding, and that’s where I want my optimal energetic time to be. And so that is really what I’m doing and why I do my practice, is just to prepare myself.
Claudia A. Altucher: That’s very interesting. I think I can relate to that because I also do something else. It’s not just yoga, but there is a separate profession of sorts. Do you think that you will ever be confronted with having to choose between one or the other?
Joy Marzec: I think I already am, is that’s – that’s what I’m trying to say. I definitely already am, and so, for example, David and I, we were having this discussion about fourth series because I was really struggling with it in January when we were in Kovalam, and he was saying how he can be hesitant sometimes to push me in a certain direction because he knows that this is not my number one focus, my number one priority. It’s just a – it’s a support system for me, my yoga practice, so that’s something that I’m always aware of when I’m practicing is, “Okay, when is it – ”
Claudia A. Altucher: That’s quite a support system, I mean, fourth series, Jesus. [Laughs]
Joy Marzec: Well, that’s – yeah. Well, and fortunately, when you have such a – and I’ll say it – incredible teacher that you – I know – I’m very economical in my practice, right? I know how to get into triangle, to go into a moveable spot and then get out of it. There’s not a lot of wasted energy, right? And so partially with fourth series, that is what I’m dealing with right now, is really refining it so that I’m not expending and wasting a lot of energy; I’m – it’s focused energy.
Claudia A. Altucher: That’s very interesting. So it’s about using your energy as efficiently as possible while getting sort of your spiritual, mental, and physical in shape and finding that sort of like the gesture of the pose, that – the expression that David talks of and getting the benefits out of that for the day.
Joy Marzec: Exactly, exactly. And so you’re supposed to – there are people that are – you’re supposed to practice fourth series – so on Sundays, you practice second series, on Mondays, you practice third series, on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, fourth series, and on Friday, primary series.
Claudia A. Altucher: Oof.
Joy Marzec: I know, and I’m fine if I get two days of fourth series in, and I get – right? So they’re just – it’s a little different for me than someone if that is their main, main focus, right?
Claudia A. Altucher: Right, right. So for example, of the 10 times – you’ve been to India 10 times now, 11 maybe?
Joy Marzec: Yeah, this is my tenth time. This is my tenth time.
Claudia A. Altucher: This is your tenth time?
Joy Marzec: Yeah.
Claudia A. Altucher: And have you been to Mysore? Have you studied with Sharath? Is that something that interests you, certification, authorization, or is really your focus just the filming?
Joy Marzec: Correct, yeah. I mean, I have studied with – I’ve studied with Patthabi Jois and Sharath for four years. I went there four years to Mysore and studied, and then – but David is my – that’s my pathanpara. That’s my teacher, so that –
Claudia A. Altucher: And you are lucky to have someone of such depth of practice teaching you. It is a blessing, really. [Laughs]
Joy Marzec: Oh, it’s – no, it’s complete – it is a complete blessing, and I – there are several of his students that they have to work harder to get the information out of him, right? And so that’s – I’m lucky in that sense because then I –
Claudia A. Altucher: He has no choice. You’re like, “Okay, we’re gonna talk about this and it’s happening.”
Joy Marzec: And that was the reason why – one of the reasons why I even started the Asana Kitchen series – and I should say “we” – but why I definitely was pushing for it in terms of, “Let’s do this, let’s do this,” is because I wanted to learn, and I knew that if I sat there and edited Trikonasana, triangle posture, you know, seven times, if I had to sit there and edit, I was gonna learn something, so that’s why –
Claudia A. Altucher: That is very, very true. I find that for me, sort of like sometimes teaching a video, it forces me to translate from the body into the voice and to really think things through before you put them on a video, and then, of course in your case, having David and editing him, that level of repetition and go – it helps you get deeper into the pose to the point where you can sometimes get lost in the practice ’cause you start finding these subtleties that are so delicious.
Joy Marzec: Oh, and then just – and then if you can get to the place where just the breath is just moving you, you know, that is – it’s just – it’s incredible. And so that’s partially why it’s not going away. I mean, if I have to – there will never be a choice between the two. There will be a choice between possibly doing – putting my feet on my head while I’m on my chest, you know?
Yes, that choice will happen, but there will never be a choice about shoulder stand or revolving triangle, right? Those are those – that will be with me till I’m 85, hopefully.
Claudia A. Altucher: Or more. Who knows? There are veterinarians everywhere.
Joy Marzec: Or more.
Claudia A. Altucher: And so let me ask you, how many people were a pain in the ass like I was, going, “Joy, please keep writing about your conversations with David”?
Joy Marzec: [Laughs] Yeah, that happens a lot.
Claudia A. Altucher: It does?
Joy Marzec: That happens a lot. Yeah.
Claudia A. Altucher: Because you’re there to put photographs of his drawings and how he’s thinking, and we get sort of like an insight into his mind.
Joy Marzec: Yeah, and he’s – you know, when we first started living together, I would find these on the back of envelopes or on napkins or very – these strange places where he would just – an idea would happen and so he would have to write it down, and I was floored at how much I was learning by these little tiny notes. And so I said, “One day, I’m gonna make a book of these,” and I – and then eventually because there were so many articles and his drawings, it became, now, this whole compilation book. So that –
Claudia A. Altucher: And I’m lucky to have that need – I’m sorry I keep interrupting, but I’m so excited. It’s called Ashtanga Yoga Maps and Musings: Articles, Interviews, and Images, David Garrigues edited by Joy Marzec, and what you’ve done here, I mean, you guys outdid yourselves with this.
Joy Marzec: Oh, thank you.
Claudia A. Altucher: First of all, the title was in English, which David knew I had ____ __ ____, so I love it. The other thing is that it has these compilations between drawings, pictures that you’ve taken of travels, you getting in positions I can’t even think of, and David sort of like going, “Ta-da,” or something like that, and then there are all of these little nuggets of wisdom, and I think – I couldn’t put it down last night. I was reading and it was just like I want more and I – you know those books you don’t want to finish? You’re like, “Oh, no, I need to go slowly”? [Laughs]
Joy Marzec: Yeah. [Laughs] Right.
Claudia A. Altucher: And I’m sure that’s what must have happened to you, but it’s a work of art as well as a really deep thing. Now, of course I don’t want to give it away, but I do like – I wonder if you had a process for choosing what you were putting here. How did you decide? ‘Cause there’s so much material. I mean, there’s, like, just – for what I hear, your house is full of pictures that he’s brought from India, records, musical instruments, film equipment, et cetera. I wonder if you can walk in there.
Joy Marzec: You know, I –
You can, but it is every single space is utilized. Yes, and – anyways, but yeah, it is – David and I, you know, we – I think everybody works really hard, but like you said, we are really into each other, what each other are into, and so yes, and so we just really get into each others’ work, but as far as what I chose, partially, I know the pieces that are his, okay? I do know that in terms of the interviews that David and I have done, and then – but anything that is in that book, it’s also because I, myself, at this time, am using it as a learning tool or a reference, and that is – that’s how I do all of his work. It’s me. I’m interested in it at that moment, and so that’s why I’m putting it out there.
Claudia A. Altucher: I see, and I find that to be the best way. You go with what you’re curious about, because then it – then you get these true revelations, and it really resonates with people. That’s what I do. I go for what makes me really curious, and it’s – and then you get a book like this, which is incredible. I wanna point to one of – specifically, you go on and on with David about age, and I really like that. I am in my late 40s now, you are in your 30s, and a lot of people starting Ashtanga yoga are in their 20s, and you sort of interview him, and I wonder what are your gatherings after talking to him so many times about what is the difference of someone practicing in their 20s and 30s.
Joy Marzec: Right. Right, we – you know, I am personally very interested in it because I know that is going to be me, and I’m fascinated with how my process of my practice has changed, and we have done the interview in your 40s; we just didn’t put it in this book, so it will go into another one, just so you know. [Laughs]
Claudia A. Altucher: Oh, great.
Joy Marzec: Yeah, and also, you know, it’s a real void in the – at least in the Ashtanga world. There’s –
Claudia A. Altucher: Yeah, there isn’t that much talk.
Joy Marzec: No, there really isn’t, this aging, and David is still as completely obsessed with Hatha yoga the same as when he was this 25-year-old, but – which means that he is constantly dealing with age, and I’m using him because, obviously, he’s older, so it’s just – there’s more information there.
Claudia A. Altucher: Right, of course.
Joy Marzec: And he just really – I mean, it’s just a fallacy that people stop – that they can’t do Ashtanga yoga as they age, but it needs to – it means the practice changes, and for me, this has been just something that I think the Ashtanga world needs to know.
Claudia A. Altucher: Yes.
Joy Marzec: And so I had definitely focused on it a lot with him.
Claudia A. Altucher: So can I ask you how old you are now?
Joy Marzec: Yeah, I’m 34.
Claudia A. Altucher: Okay, and how is your practice different in your 30s compared to your 20s? Because Ashtanga’s a very regulated, sort of like every day, you get on the mat and you do a specific thing, so it’s very clear to notice differences sometimes.
Joy Marzec: Yeah, and the main difference, I will say, is I can remember after a year of practicing with David – so I must have been about 23, and I said, “David, I just did the primary series in 45 minutes.” The entire primary series. [Laughs]
Claudia A. Altucher: Wow, wow.
Joy Marzec: In 45 minutes.
Claudia A. Altucher: That’s very fast. Usually it takes an hour and a half.
Joy Marzec: That’s crazy, and now, I think, “Wow, I don’t think I inhaled or exhaled one time.” [Laughs] So that is just – right, you know, now when I remember that story, and so that is just one of the huge difference – and main differences is that I have learned how to actually breathe, and –
Claudia A. Altucher: Isn’t that important? Isn’t that something that we take so for granted?
Joy Marzec: Well, yeah, and it was – really I was just sort of jumping around on my mat, doing a bunch of postures, you know, bunch of yoga moves, and now, I – and because of David, I am trying to actually create meditation on the mat. So that’s really – for now, that’s the main difference that I would say.
Claudia A. Altucher: Right, and I also like reading from your interview, and what I gather was in the 20s, you have unlimited energy. You feel like you will never break or something or you’re invincible, right?
Joy Marzec: Yeah.
Claudia A. Altucher: And in your 30s, you were saying maybe the family responsibilities come in or the making money becomes more real and you’re being pulled in different directions, and the practice has to adapt, and I feel like we’re tiptoeing around – ’cause you know, the Ashtanga is so formal, but to me, especially in my 40s, I find that there are days that I really – and I’m being really honest – I really cannot do the whole thing. [Laughs]
Joy Marzec: Oh, wow. Oh, completely. Oh, completely, yeah, and that is – and I know it sounds ridiculous for me – for when I was talking about the fourth series, but that is true that – when I said, “Well, you know what, today, it’s just not gonna happen. It’s gonna happen two times this week, and so I’m gonna do something else on Tuesday.” And David and I would do – we do have a very – David is traditional in a lot of ways, that it means, then, “Okay, then you do – you cut it back to third series or second series or something,” but you just can’t – if the practice is there to serve you, then how is it serving you for you to break your body to get injured or hurt, right?
Claudia A. Altucher: Exactly, yeah. Yes, so I find it’s a delicate balance, and I have a wide audience here, and perhaps this may not be so much the bulk of the people listening. I wonder if people can understand that perhaps a regular asana class in a gym or in a studio, maybe – sometimes they tend to be quite easy and simple, but the Ashtanga yoga demands this particular, enormous level of energy and presence, and that’s why you need to learn to regulate between doing too much or doing too little, which you can fall on that side, to, “Oh, I won’t do anything today ’cause I don’t feel like it.” So there is that danger, and it’s good to –
Joy Marzec: Right, and it is – you know, it’s just ____.
Claudia A. Altucher: Say – yeah? Tell me.
Joy Marzec: It’s just experience, too. It really is experience, and so it’s – just to have that dedication, you need to do something, and so if it’s just ten sun salutations, well, that is going to serve you better than doing nothing, right?
Claudia A. Altucher: Right. Yes, and especially if you can do it with full presence, that’s sort of like – that feeling sometimes when we get in front of the mat and it’s like, “Oh, no, not again,” but then kind of being able to shed that away and sort of like, “Okay, let’s be present for it and see what happens,” and I’ve found that your finding, making the breath the priority, eventually kicks in and you realize, “Wow, I’m breathing,” and there is this sense of – it’s like you begin to love it. It connects you with the body in such a different way and it’s an amazing thing. So what can you tell me about asana in the 40s from what you remember, since it’s not in the book? I’m curious about what have you gathered.
Joy Marzec: [Laughs] Well, is this – would this be a good time? We could ask David too. This might be a good time to ask David, but – ’cause I really don’t remember exactly. I definitely know that –
Claudia A. Altucher: I’m glad if he wants to join, but – sure. I love hearing your perspective though.
Joy Marzec: Okay. Well, I definitely know the huge one, really, is the diet. You keep needing to, as you get older, shave off the things that – we all know when we aren’t sacrificing enough, right? And so you start realizing, “Oh, that – ” for example, “That ice cream cone that I’m having the night before is really not serving my practice in the morning.” And so I feel like, for me, it’s become this process of continually shaving off the things that are – and where I’m wasting energy, so –
Claudia A. Altucher: Are you spying on my kitchen, Joy?
Joy Marzec: [Laughs]
Claudia A. Altucher: I think you – maybe, because, I mean, that is so right on, and I can’t even express it enough. I think it’s a specific product of the 40s, how the metabolism changes, and now I have to give up French toast. I really do have to give it up. [Laughs]
Joy Marzec: No, no, I totally understand that, yeah, completely. Yeah.
Claudia A. Altucher: And it’s very hard, and at the same time, it’s just my body is saying to me, “Listen, I don’t operate at optimal with this white bread you’re giving me.” [Laughs]
Joy Marzec: Yeah. No, and it’s so true. It’s so true, and that is one of the things that is challenging about traveling, which I know you do travel some, is that for David and I, we just have to be so conscientious of how we eat, and that’s challenging to do on the road because you really can waste a lot of energy.
Claudia A. Altucher: That’s right, yes. So would you like to bring David on and be the three of us here?
Joy Marzec: Yes, he’s ready.
Claudia A. Altucher: Oh, okay. David, are you there?
Joy Marzec: Here he comes.
Claudia A. Altucher: Oh.
Joy Marzec: He was actually – he was doing his – he’s been doing some of his afternoon shoulder stand, which is big for the aging process, to start having your supplemental afternoon practice to help you.
Claudia A. Altucher: Tell me about this. David, are you there?
David Garrigues: Yeah, I’m here. Hi, Claudia.
Claudia A. Altucher: Hi David. Welcome. Thanks for joining me and Joy on this. This is amazing that – I’m so happy to have the two of you. This is like a dream come through. You were doing shoulder stand?
David Garrigues: Actually, well, I’m working on another book, the – and it’s a real asana-themed one. It’s a big thing about the primary series, and there’s a section in it called “Variations,” and so that’s what I’m working on. I’m working – we’re doing the photo shoot for it next week, and so I’m getting that together, so –
Claudia A. Altucher: That’s great.
David Garrigues: Yeah.
Claudia A. Altucher: And this afternoon shoulder stand practice that you’re saying – that Joy was sharing with me how it might help, say, someone in their 40s, I had not heard of that.
David Garrigues: Well, it’s a – well, in Iyengar yoga, they do – often because they do longer inversions, which I’m a big fan of, that’s –
Claudia A. Altucher: I know. I took your class, yes.
David Garrigues: Yeah, and that –
Claudia A. Altucher: [Laughs]
David Garrigues: But inversions, they – I mean, it kinda gets into a whole subject, but they have to be done properly, but if they are done properly, they’re the most amazing anti-aging thing, like, incredible health-giving benefits and youth – keeping you youthful, but – so the Iyengar people do it in the afternoon just ’cause it takes longer, and so it is a nice time to do it if you can carve out the time, just because, like you guys were saying, the Ashtanga practice is so demanding, and so it’s a – what I think is – I think it’s the kind of worst thing in a way, the biggest shadow aspect, or one of them, is the – how the inversions are getting kind of cut out of the practice or getting way less emphasis because of how tiring the practice is and how much emphasis is being put on the postures and the series, and then by the time you get to that part, you’ve spent it all. And so I am not a big fan of that. I think that, especially as you get older – and partly because the practice – remember, it’s not about – I mean, its main thing is about meditation, really, and meditation does require stopping the body, you know what I mean? There is moving meditation, but really, at some point, you just have to stop your body and stop the thoughts going through. [Laughs]
Claudia A. Altucher: The immovable stopping that you call it, which is such a nice image, like getting to that seated position where you’re not moving at all.
David Garrigues: Yeah, and so – but we’re – Ashtangis, we’re so restless. That is so hard for us, and – but inversions are built into the practice. They’re already longer, and so to me, that’s – as you age, you develop that in order to access meditation. So it’s so cool, ’cause it’s like, that’s creative meditation. It’s like physical expression – it’s not just sitting down cross-legged. It’s like you’re in shoulder stand, you’re upside down, and then you can do variations and things, but there’s a lot of stillness, though, is part of that.
Claudia A. Altucher: I remember you saying in the workshop, you listed so many benefits of the shoulder stand. One that I didn’t have that you mentioned was a cooling of the body as well as having the organs inverted, helping the lymphatic system, having gravity work in your direction so that the organs will return to their original position because we’re always in the other position, but for meditation, it’s one that I did not get that time, which I’m getting now. So let me get this straight: you practice in the morning and you do, say, 10 or 15 breaths during the morning practice, and then in the afternoon, you aim for a longer practice of shoulder stand?
David Garrigues: Yeah, I do, but I – it’s a little bit variable, because sometimes in the morning, I do it longer already, and so – but definitely, I – if I don’t, I do it in the afternoon. And then – but other – I do try to do the afternoon practice of some kind, and it’s not always shoulder stand; it can be other things, but they’re all centered around kind of extracting meditation from asanas and also Bandha work that, to me, is very connected, and that is one of the other benefits of inversions is that they – it’s like they – doing an inversion hands you a Bandha. It just goes, “Here, Uddiyana Bandha, just there it is for you.”
Claudia A. Altucher: And I have to say, it was you – ’cause I was convinced of never use a prop, but it was in your workshop that you gave me – [laughs] – you and Joy, actually, were right behind me, like you wouldn’t let me out of it, and you would give me those four sort of half-height blocks, and I would put them all in the floor, and I do that to this day, that I finally got it that you do need to have the shoulder slightly rise and then the head on the floor for that angle in the neck. And so the shoulder stand needs to be – anybody here who’s listening, watch the video of David talking about the shoulder stand, because it does require specific direction, and then you find yourself in a place where it becomes a yantra, like you say, a gesture, and you say it so passionate, and then you can –
Yeah, you can actually stay there and breathe slowly, and you start to feel all these things in the body happening. It’s a very active pose, I would say.
David Garrigues: Yeah, that’s why – that’s its name, the all limbs. So it means all – everything is dynamic.
Claudia A. Altucher: Yes, yes, and how would you say that leads you to meditation? I understand the Bandha, so it’s kind of like the loads and the energy’s being pulled upwards, and how, exactly, does it lead you to meditation, the shoulder stand?
David Garrigues: Well – [laughs] – well…
Joy Marzec: You have to remember, the Bandhas lead you into breathing, right? You need the Bandhas for that real inhale and exhale of the breathing.
Claudia A. Altucher: Yes.
David Garrigues: Can we just back up a little bit though, ’cause I’ll tell you –
Claudia A. Altucher: Yes, back up, please.
David Garrigues: I’ll tell you how it leads to meditation, okay? And this – I really – this is what I think. It’s really – ’cause you – and you were also talking about in the 40’s, right, you want to know what’s in that –
Claudia A. Altucher: Yes, yes.
David Garrigues: And I don’t know what’s in that interview, but I can tell you what I think about it, and that is that it comes – I’m gonna crystallize it. It’s love of the subject, okay? And so you have to kind of – as you gain experience in the practice and in the system and – you have to figure out what you really love about it, like – and what are you drawn to, and what compels you and gets you there and wants you to do it, okay? And it won’t be – it’ll be different for everybody and it won’t be all parts of the practice. And at first, when you’re learning, you’re maybe not such a good judge of it because – and so you don’t wanna go to that too soon. You kinda wanna follow the rules for a while ’cause you – some things, you won’t like at first, and then you like ’em later, and –
Claudia A. Altucher: That’s so true.
David Garrigues: But then, with maturity and experience, that is yoga. Yoga is to individuate. It’s to see the world for yourself and to dig the world, to love – and to love your place in it, you know, and so you – and only you can find that, and so –
Claudia A. Altucher: I love that.
David Garrigues: Yeah, and so with yoga, meditation, that’s your best chance to create absolute stillness and appreciation and experience of this very moment, now, without wanting anything else. And so asana is the vehicle for that. And there’s all these varieties, okay? And so which one turns you on? And obviously, shoulder stand turns me on. [Laughs]
Claudia A. Altucher: Yes. Yes, I totally get that.
David Garrigues: Yeah, and so – and I do think that there – it’s more than just me, that there’s particular things about that shape and – but it doesn’t really matter. What matters is the love of it and then the going into it and the – not being – then when – see, desire will push you or pull you and draw you out and distract you, but if you don’t desire anything else, then you won’t be pushed or pulled. Then you can be in the moment, and that is yoga.
Claudia A. Altucher: Totally, totally. I like what you’re saying because I can relate. I mean, I love, now, the shoulder stand ever since I met you and doing that workshop a lot more because I get all the juice out of it, and that’s why I recommend people watch this video of David going through it.
David Garrigues: It’s the boogey board. The shoulder stand pad is the boogey board.
Claudia A. Altucher: The boogey board.
Joy Marzec: That was a very early video. [Laughs]
David Garrigues: Yeah, you know, like the surf – it’s the surfboard that you lay down on your belly. That’s all I had with me, so we used that for the –
You can use –
Joy Marzec: Very funny.
David Garrigues: You can use anything for that support under the shoulders, you know?
Claudia A. Altucher: Yes, and then I do find that because I love the pose, I have more of an inclination to do it and stay in it and feel everything, and I will say when I do longer shoulder stands with very slow breathing, I have a much more satisfying Savasana, and then if I sit, I find myself a lot more able to calm the mind and sort of bring the senses somewhat in and stay –
David Garrigues: Yes, exactly, right? Yeah.
Claudia A. Altucher: Yes, it’s very helpful.
David Garrigues: It changes the brainwaves. It really does. It goes to those lower frequencies and it helps you withdraw the senses and be able to concentrate the mind. Exactly. Yep.
Claudia A. Altucher: So since I have you, David, there is one page out of the book that Joy compiled that is beautiful, and it’s so real. It starts by saying – you go, “I hate prayer. Why? Because I can’t do it or I won’t. I try to control,” and this could be me speaking. I totally relate. “I want to be in control. I want to will what’s gonna happen. How can I wait for you – ” in big letters – “to lead? Did you give me this energy of righteous and tamas and tiredness and restlessness? Are you having – ” it’s kinda like you’re asking, “Are you having a joke on me?” Like you’re angry at the universal forces, and I love it, and you end up, “Where is the sacrifice?”
David Garrigues: Yeah.
Joy Marzec: Yeah.
Claudia A. Altucher: And is this something you still feel in your 40’s? Does it – or – I mean, I’m late 40’s and I do feel it, so does it go away? Can we – [laughs]
David Garrigues: I think that if you sincerely stay with a practice for your life, I feel that way down the road, decades and decades – I mean, I think there’ll always be things – particular weaknesses that can pull you back into desire, unworthy desire, or kind of wasteful energy, things that waste your energy, and – but I do think that there’s – certain corners can be turned where you drop those unnecessary things, like some things harangue you and harangue you and harangue you, but I still – I think that – I don’t know, I’m not there yet, but I do think that –
Claudia A. Altucher: There is a change. There is a gradual change.
David Garrigues: There is a gradual change, and you gotta remember that that discipline, that centerpiece of yoga practice, you have to have that too because the desires, unchecked, just left sort of to their own, some of them will – they’ll grow instead of diminishing, and so just even practicing does something to balance anyway. Even if it doesn’t take it away, it’s still having a positive influence. And so that, “Where is the sacrifice?” is like, it’s – that one, then I turn back to talking to myself. It’s not like – then I’m not yelling at the universe. I’m like, “David, where is the sacrifice to go and meet that place within?” You know? And it’s so aggravating, ’cause when we go there every day and it’s moments of it, and then somehow we just forget within, you know, ten minutes or whatever, just as soon as you leave the mat and you’re in the day, then you’ve forgotten, or the next day, when it’s time to practice and, like you said, resistance.
Joy Marzec: Where’s the French toast, right?
Claudia A. Altucher: Right. [Laughs]
David Garrigues: Exactly.
Claudia A. Altucher: Stop watching me at home, Joy.
And you know, what I get from the book, David, as I read – and I recommend everyone get this book because they – I just couldn’t put it down, but you have these other places where you say, for example, Chaturanga Dandasana, right, where – the very challenging pose, and I’ll put pictures of this in the post so people can see it, and you say, “Some days, you will find you’re not willing to go in there, and I guess, maybe ____ up to the willingness to say, ‘No, I’m actually gonna go there, where I don’t wanna go,’ ” but is that part of the sacrifice?
David Garrigues: That is definitely part of the sacrifice, and it – yes, and also, the negotiation of – ’cause there’s a – I don’t know, there’s a safety aspect of a realistic aspect. Like, even if some mornings, you’re not ready to go to that particular place, there’s some place you can go to, and you go to that place. Yeah, and that’s –
Claudia A. Altucher: You don’t hide.
David Garrigues: You don’t hide.
Claudia A. Altucher: You know. You know that you can – may not be Kapotasana, but it very well can be doing your Vinyasa. [Laughs]
David Garrigues: And it could be – no, it could be Ustrasana with your belly and thighs against the wall and using blocks, because really – remember, we’re always talking about a state of consciousness, an internal awareness, and a being with, and that’s the part that you wanna teach yourself not to resist, right? And it sucks if you – if something preventable, like you stayed up late or you did this or that, you know, made it so that you couldn’t do a deeper posture, and that needs to be looked at, but that’s not always the case, right? There’s all kinds of things that can –
Joy Marzec: Especially as you get older, right?
David Garrigues: Especially as you get older, yeah. But it is freaky, though, right, the – what you are – you guys started to talk about it, but these things of the other obligations that are – many of which have, of course, total value, like family and relationships and jobs and all these things, but yoga does have to – your practice has to remain something very important to you and something you stay committed to in a deep way.
Claudia A. Altucher: Yes, yes.
David Garrigues: And that’s the sacrifice that I’m talking about so that you can show up every day and do Chaturanga when it comes time to – you know, and those things.
Claudia A. Altucher: That’s right. I love the book. I am really grateful for you, David, to join in and for Joy to give me time from her life as well, and I would like to ask the same question I asked David on the last interview that – this is your second time. It’s the first repeat on the show. I’m very grateful that you’re here, David, but I would like to ask Joy this time and send her down the deep rabbit hole: what is one thing in your yoga practice, Joy, that took you a long time to understand? And I think you said one already, but I wonder if there is one that comes to mind now, something that’s taken you quite a bit to get.
Joy Marzec: Yeah, so yeah, I said the breathing before, so I don’t know, then, if this counts, but – oh, understanding earth. David talks about that, you know, earth, really how to use your body and center it over your foundation, and it’s just so important to be able to stabilize the posture, and that’s taken me a long time. [Laughs]
Claudia A. Altucher: Yeah, there is a part of the book where there’s this sort of imagine that you are grounded in the earth, but it’s not you, that you’re sort of part of it, and it got me thinking about it like, “Whoa, yeah, I’m apart of the earth, like, all of me is just a portion of the earth,” and it has that grounding effect, just that visualization. So perhaps that’s something that people listening can take from this thing that is taking you long to understand. Just that little visualization can have a profound effect on the grounding.
Joy Marzec: Yeah, exactly. It’s changed my whole practice, really.
Claudia A. Altucher: Which is amazing. So the book is called Ashtanga Yoga Maps and Musings. It will be available May 10th, I hear?
Joy Marzec: Yep, May 10th.
Claudia A. Altucher: In David’s website, so we go to http://www.davidgarrigues.com?
Joy Marzec: Yep, and then it’ll also – it’ll be on Amazon as well.
Claudia A. Altucher: Wonderful. So everyone get this book. I’m definitely getting another copy ’cause I got photocopies of the second part, but I want the whole thing. And also, for Joy’s films, you can go to http://www.joymarzecfilms.com, and that’s – Marzec is M-A-R-Z-E-C films.com to stay tuned to the release of Bhakti Boy and then I, Skylar, AM THAT.
Joy Marzec: Yes.
Claudia A. Altucher: Is there anything else you want to share with our audience?
David Garrigues: [Laughs] Well, thank you for having us, Claudia.
Joy Marzec: Yeah, thank you, thank you. Yeah. It’s great.
David Garrigues: And thank you for inspiring so many people and being so enthusiastic about all my stuff, the gesture, and – I just love that.
Claudia A. Altucher: Yes, it’s fascinating.
Joy Marzec: Save all your vocabulary. [Laughs]
David Garrigues: I love…
Claudia A. Altucher: [Laughs] Okay, thank you very much, you guys. I’ll talk to you soon.
Joy Marzec: All right, bye bye.
Claudia A. Altucher: Okay, bye bye.
[End of Audio]
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