This would be about eight or nine years ago. I’m not sure exactly — time is being slippery that way.
I worked as a yoga teacher in a studio in a northern suburb of Tel Aviv.
The studio occasionally sponsored workshops by various famous teachers, and this time we were bringing in Bryan Kest.
I wasn’t particularly leaning towards going — all of my money went to yoga trainings as it was, and this sounded like it might be of the the kind of yoga that didn’t especially interest me (power! core! work it, baby!).
But then things happened.
As they do.
The studio asked me, as the employee with the most English, to be the liaison. And to take Bryan on a tour of Tel Aviv.
I agreed, somewhat reluctantly, and then was delighted to discover that all my preconceptions were wrong.
Bryan approached Tel Aviv like a yogi and like a puppy at the same time.
With quiet receptivity and joyful curiosity.
Tel Aviv is the city I’d had a long, tumultuous and passionate love affair with, and he got it. He figured out all the right things about her right away.
My English was fairly dusty after a decade of not using it, but we were able to bond over the usual and less usual things.
(Like the fact that we’d both grown up in Michigan, and run away from Michigan. We’d been raised in eccentric and unconventional ways. We both thought that yoga and freshly squeezed pomegranate juice were the two best things in the entire world).
I found Bryan to be bright, unpretentious, sweet, caring and a noticer of things worth noticing. His yoga was deep and life-changing, and full of permission, amnesty and patience.
Some things in his class made no sense until you realized that he was coming from southern California, where his studio was overflowing with models and actors and models and people who wanted to be models and actors.
He would remind us not to look at what other people were wearing. This was just when yoga was starting to become trendy in Israel, but still a practice you did in sweats and a tank top. There weren’t fancy workout clothes outside of the gym. Though that was about to change as well.
Someone asked him if he still surfed.
He took a sip of tea. He thought about it. He said, “If there were forty eight hours in a day, I would surf. Surfing comes after yoga and time with my dogs and time with my breath and time with the trees. But if there were more hours, that’s what I would put there.”
I have used that answer for many things.
On the third and final day of the all-day every-day yoga workshop, he ran his Long, Slow & Deep class.
Long, extended holds in relatively simple postures. Simple as in: uncomplicated. Not easy.
We slowed down the breath and then slowed it down some more.
When a minute becomes a matter of maybe two breaths, ten minutes flow by with unbelievable speed.
Well, maybe speed isn’t the word. But time becomes timeless, and everything is somehow floating and grounded at the same time.
We’d stay in poses that I normally hated. For ten minutes. Or longer.
And it didn’t matter because time didn’t matter. I didn’t mind being in those formerly uncomfortable places because they were different now. Nothing hurt because we were just pure breath inside of curious beings.
I moved to Berlin.
I used the thing about being pure breath when I became ill and couldn’t do anything but cry from the pain.
Actually, I used lots of things that Bryan helped me recognize.
When I’d met him, I had no ambitions to do things in the world.
I was already living out my biggest, most impossible dreams. (Become a yoga teacher! Get paid for something other than bartending in south Tel Aviv! Not working at some horrible company! Never write a resume again for as long as I lived!)
It didn’t occur to me that there was anything more for me to do than to teach yoga at someone’s studio.
But in Germany I taught my own workshops. I ran programs. I invented The Fluent Self. Not just the name, but an entire system of working on your stuff. Yoga for every aspect of being alive.
Bryan thought this was a reasonable and do-able thing to bring into the world. For me it was the tiniest of tiny, sweet things. For him, it was the natural extension of living by what I believed. And why wouldn’t I?
At various points over the past however-many-years, I’ve gone back to that day of Long, Slow & Deep.
Or to aspects of slowness, length, deepening.
And at many times, I was on the verge of buying the audio CD he made of one of his Long, Slow & Deep classes.
But something would stop me. Something about knowing that I wasn’t ready yet to go into that timeless grounded floating again.
Yesterday, I was ready.
I went to a yoga class that was not my yoga class. And everything about it was not what I wanted or needed. Which, in itself, was exactly what I wanted and needed, because it told me that things had changed.
It turns out that there is no more Long, Slow & Deep.
The CD is out of print. Or whatever the term is for audio. Out of production?
Anyway, there are people selling it on Amazon for fifteen hundred dollars.
And there doesn’t seem to be a way to find it.
Normally I would decide to just let that be my yoga for the day.
To meditate on wanting and desire, on meeting sadness. To find the useful, find out where the practice already lives inside of me and where I don’t need external things to remind me of the internal knowing.
And I did that.
But then I remembered some of that internal knowing. I listened to some of the things that the wanting had to say.
So in addition to my internal processing, I am placing a Very Personal Ad in today’s post. And asking for your help.
What I want and how this could work.
I know this blog has reach.
There are tens of thousands of people who see stuff here. There’s also the Twitter bar and the Frolicsome Bar (our Facebook page) and all the people that our people know. All the people that you guys know.
Someone out there has a copy of Long, Slow & Deep that they can donate to the Playground.
To know that this is possible.
To practice. To breathe.
To appreciate everything and everyone involved! From the mysterious coincidence that got me the job at that first studio where I met Bryan … all the way to now where I run my own wonderful center for secretly-yogacentric things.
From starting this website six and a half years ago to meeting you now.
To go back to the place where things are long, slow and deep, and to find out what happens there.
Can you help? And playing in the commenting blanket fort.
The full name of the CD I’m looking for is:
Bryan Kest’s Long, Slow & Deep, live from Santa Monica, California.
That’s also the link to the description of it.
Do you have a copy or possibly know someone who has a copy?
You can help by spreading the word. You can help by being enthusiastic about this wish. You can help by celebrating the wanting.
All of that is hugely appreciated!
Usual comment zen applies. We all have our stuff. We’re all working on our stuff. We make this a loving and safe space to process and experience things by not giving unsolicited advice or telling anyone how to feel.
Love to the commenter mice, the Beloved Lurkers and everyone who reads.
And one day we’ll invite Bryan to the bigger Playground, and we will all play together.