Go with the flow

Trying yoga for the first time can be an intimidating experience. But that misses the point of this ancient practice that combines stretching, breath … and peace

Yoga instructor Petri Brill strikes a pose at her studio YogaSport, which provides beginners’ classes for the uninitiated. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

Yoga instructor Petri Brill strikes a pose at her studio YogaSport, which provides beginners’ classes for the uninitiated. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

JEF TINGLEY  | Contributing Writer

Some do it for their mind, some do it for their body, some do it for both. But all yoga students have one thing in common: Making the first step and taking up the practice. And while this age-old combination of stretching and breathing is meant to calm the mind and strengthen the muscles, a maiden voyage into a posterior-lifting position like downward-facing dog in a room full of strangers can send one’s heart racing. But that doesn’t have to be the case.

“People new to yoga should remember that everyone in class was a beginner at one point,” says Petri Brill, manager of YogaSport Dallas on Lemmon Avenue. “Yoga is a journey, not a destination. There is no perfect practice or perfect yogi or perfect yoga body. I think people worry about they’ll look [or] feel foolish in their first down-dog [and] that they’ll be judged. Our [yoga] community is diverse, encouraging and accepting: no judgment here!”

Mary Pierce Armstrong, who teaches at MarYoga, agrees that you should always look inward. “Yoga will come to meet you no matter where you are starting from. As long as you take the breath and the breaks you need, you will be doing awesome.”

For Wendy Moore, a 44-year-old yoga newbie, has taken these words of wisdom to the mat — literally. Moore recently completed her second MarYoga class as part of her new year regime. Any inhibitions she had about the experience were dispelled during her first visit.

“[I was] concerned about my general lack of bendy-ness, and not knowing where to put what arm and leg,” she says, “but if you look around you will figure out where your limbs are supposed to be by what others are doing.” Moore has continued to work on poses between classes with some slight variations mimicked by “what her cats are able to do.”

Keith Murray, a 37-year-old registered nurse, tried yoga for the first time more than eight years ago and was immediately hooked. He was taking classes three times a week before long. “I was a little intimidated about the whole thing at first,” he says, “but after my first couple of sessions my intimidation grew into excitement.”

A busy work schedule has kept Murray from his regular routine over the years, but he is trying to change that. “I still maintain a crazy life and work routine, but building yoga back into my life has really helped me to find balance again.”

According to yoga teacher Jennifer Lawson of SYNC Yoga & Wellbeing, it’s not just busy schedules and bundled nerves that keep people from the practice of yoga; it’s also our cultural fixation on success. “There tends to be so much emphasis on achievement and perfection that many of us are becoming accustomed to playing it safe in order to avoid the possibility of shame.”

Lawson recommends coming together as a group in a class with experienced and inexperienced yogis to create an environment that emphasizes the experience and process of yoga and not the destination or end result.

For Anisha Mandol, a 42-year-old business development manager who has been practicing yoga for about two years, these words ring true. “Once you understand your expectation from practicing, no one else’s matters. The benefits of yoga are fluid and dynamic, and each person has their own unique experience. Own yours,” she says.

And so it would seem that just as the journey of a million miles begins with one step, the journey toward a yoga-filled life begins with a single stretch on the matt (and maybe a little Namaste for good measure).

………………………………………………….

SAY NAMASTE: WHERE TO GET YOUR YOGA FIX

Options are plentiful for the budding yogi looking for a class. Get your stretch on at these studios in and around the gayborhood. You can also find information on their class offerings and schedules on their websites.

Yoga Sport Dallas
4140 Lemmon Ave, Suite 280
214-520-YOGA
YogaSportDallas.com

SYNC Yoga & Wellbeing
611 N. Bishop Ave.
214-843-3372
SyncDallas.com

MarYoga at Chi Studio
807 Fletcher St.
ChiDallas.com

Sunstone Yoga
2907 Routh St. (and other locations)
214-764-2119
SunstoneYoga.com

Gaia Flow Yoga Uptown
3000 Blackburn St., Suite 140B
214-235-1153
GaiaFlowYoga.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 17, 2012.

—  Michael Stephens

God created marriage equality to signal Judgment Day on May 21, 2011

In 1992 televangelist & radio host Harold Camping suggested in his book 1994? that Judgment Day would happen somewhere between September 15 and 17, 1994. He does not know the exact day because Scripture says ‘no man knows the day nor the hour’ (Matt. 24:36). But according to Camping we can certainly know the month and the year that Christ will return.”

Botched that one.  But now the scamster is back with a New! Improved! endtimes date of May 21, 2011 that he’s super sure of because God has provided an unmistakable sign: Gay Pride: Planned by God as a Sign of the End.  Got that?  Gay pride is the work of God!  Camping’s radical-right colleagues have got to be choking on that one.  Not to mention Camping says that true believers should abandon the churches.

GAY PRIDE & SAME SEX MARRIAGE SUCCESSES; A SIGN FROM GOD THAT JUDGMENT DAY IS VERY NEAR

The world-wide success of the Gay Pride/Same Sex Marriage movement is a dramatic sign provided by God to warn the world that the world is on the threshold of Judgment Day.

In the Bible God has given a number of signs to warn the world that Judgment Day and the end of the world are very close. …But no sign is as dramatic and clear as the phenomenal world-wide success of the Gay Pride movement. In the Bible God describes His involvement with this dramatic movement. Remember, each and every word in the original languages of the Bible came from the lips of God. [snip]

Thus in Romans 1:24 and 1:26 God is declaring that God planned to deliver up the world to gross homosexual and lesbian activity.

How strange! Why would God do this?  …[I]t is God’s mercy that normally He restrains the natural tendencies of mankind to be extremely sinful. …Because of what God teaches us in Romans 1:24-27 of the Bible, we can know that the present day phenomenon of the Gay Pride movement is a result of the fact that God has removed His restraints on sin. As a result an otherwise shameful and unique sin such as homosexuality has become widely practiced and accepted by mankind.

Thus we learn that God has planned today’s situation of Gay Pride and same-sex marriages to show the world that it is on the threshold of Judgment Day. He has shown us that an obviously parallel situation exists between Sodom, when it was on the threshold of destruction, and the world of our day, which is on the threshold of destruction.

Both have the public unique sin of homosexuality (going after strange flesh) loudly and proudly displayed. …

Therefore we can know that by means of the continuing worldwide successes of the Gay Pride, same-sex marriage movement, God has given convincing evidence that the world is on the

threshold of Judgment Day.

This conclusion is not offered because it is the opinion of some Bible scholar. It is said because this is what God teaches in the Bible. This dramatic sign which increasingly is in evidence all over the world fits perfectly with the solid Biblical teaching that May 21, 2011 will be the first day of the Day of Judgment.

But here’s the real question: If Judgment Day is only 6 months away, why is Mr. Camping accepting recurring donations?  Does he think he can take it with him?  Or does it have more to do with his encouraging people to leave the churches to fulfill prophecy?  Because if they did there’d undoubtedly be more ka-ching! in the world for him.  One wonders whether Camping’s method of calculating the date of rapture isn’t the only creative number-crunching going on.  As we all know, vilifying gays is a reliable cash cow for the religious right.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Gamer suspended over name of W.Va. town: Fort Gay

VICKI SMITH | Associated Press

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Microsoft Corp. and Xbox Live are apologizing to a West Virginia town and a 26-year-old gamer accused of violating the online gaming service’s code of conduct by declaring he’s from Fort Gay.

The town in western West Virginia is real. But Seattle-based Microsoft and the Xbox Live enforcement team wouldn’t take Josh Moore’s word for it.

They suspended his gaming privileges for a few days last week until he could convince them his Wayne County hometown is real.

Xbox Live chief enforcement officer Stephen Toulouse acknowledges the agent reviewing a fellow gamer’s complaint against Moore made a mistake. He says keeping up with slang and policing Xbox Live for offensive language is challenging, but mistakes in judgment are rare.

Toulouse says training has since been updated.

—  John Wright

DOMA ruling suspended pending appeal

Associated Press

BOSTON — A ruling by a judge who found a federal law defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman unconstitutional will be suspended for 60 days while the U.S. Department of Justice decides whether it will appeal the decision.

U.S. District Judge Joseph Tauro ruled in July that the federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.

An amended judgment in the case was filed in court Wednesday. The Justice Department now has 60 days to decide if it will appeal the decision to the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston.

Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, the Boston-based group that filed the legal challenge, said it did not oppose the government’s request for a stay pending any appeal.

—  John Wright

Crock 8: Casting activist judgment against Peter’s flawed propositions

Our opposition is at war, friends! And we’re not just talking about the usual wars against fact, credible science, and gay people’s lives and loves. No, no — actual fighting is going on. The Liberty Counsel is sniping at the Alliance Defense Fund. WorldNetDaily is dropping Ann Coulter. And “pro-family” folks like Peter LaBarbera are simply apoplectic that Glenn Beck, someone who they assumed was a lock-solid ally, have come out and said that marriage equality is no big deal.

We’ve already covered the first scuffle. The second one is really too much of a “man bites dog” story to get into right now. So let’s move on to the third: LaBarbera v. Beck. In order to support his cause and lash out against Beck, Pete has issued a list of eight reasons why “Glenn Beck is not just wrong — but has it completely LaBabsbackwards regarding the escalating threat that homosexual activism, culminating in court-imposed “gay marriage,” poses to America’s children and our First Amendment liberties.” We shall now respond.

Pete is in red block quotes, followed by our refutations in standard text:

1) Just as reported homosexual Judge Vaughn Walker overruled the expressed will of California voters (twice expressed) against “same-sex marriage,” federalized homosexual “marriage” would override the documented will of the people in the 31 states that have already voted — some by huge margins — to preserve marriage in the law as what it is: between one man and one woman.

Alright, it’s become like a broken record, but our opposition refuses to listen. So let’s repeat: Voting on minority rights was never a right that the far-right should have ever had. That is what history tells us. That is what courts are increasingly determining. And it is eventually what all fair-minded courts, both of public law and public opinion, will see and say. LaBarbera: 0; Equality: 1

2) Legalized homosexual “marriage” will force businessmen and -women to subsidize homosexual relationships even if they rightly believe that those relationships are immoral and deviant. That is un-American, anti-freedom, and just plain wrong. A businessman who provides marital benefits to his employees could not choose which “marriages” (normal or counterfeit-”gay”) merit company support and which do not — even if he strongly disagrees with homosexual ‘unions’ as a violation of the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God, to quote our Declaration of Independence. If the business owner denied benefits only to “same-sex married” employees, it would invite a lawsuit. You cannot be free and simultaneously forced by the State to use your hard-earned money to reward people practicing bad behavior.

So wait, what about now? Business owners hold all kinds of faith-based personal convictions related to marriage. Some might find infidelity to be abominable. Others might frown upon divorce and remarriage. There still exist objections to interfaith unions. Or interracial marriages. Or marriages where the female is allowed to work outside the home. Or anything, really. Religious people’s marital condemnations do not begin and end with the ‘mos. So the only way that Pete’s logic would have any sort of validity is if current convicted/conflicted business owners were legally able to pick and choose whose marriages are worthy of honor based on nothing more than their personally held biblical interepretations. But they’re not. And they won’t be. Because they shouldn’t be. LaBarbera: 0; Equality: 2

3) Legalized homosexual “marriage” paves the way for even greater pro-homosexuality indoctrination in the nation’s schools than we are already seeing under the mandate of ”sexual orientation nondiscrimination.” Wherever marriage and “civil rights” are taught, homosexual “marriage” would have to be validated because it would be the law of the land (or the individual state). Say Johnny Pupil, a first-grader, asks his teacher: “When I grow up, could I marry a man or a woman?” The teacher — if honoring the State’s newfound “constitutional right” (and so as not to be accused of discrimination) — would have to answer “Either one, Johnny.” Corrupting children’s innocence and redefining morality in the name of “tolerance” and newfangled “rights” directly undermines parental authority. It also turns America’s schools into Pro-Homosexual Propaganda Centers – an evil on a par with legalizing the killing of innocent, unborn children in the womb in the name of “choice” and “reproductive rights.

Acceptance is taught in schools not because marriage exists, but rather because LGBT people exist! The only way for “pro-family” folks to change that reality is to rid the world of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender population. Hopefully that’s not in anyone’s plans.

Plus, in terms of potential marriage conversations: How anti-intellectual is it to suggest that there is any one, specific stock conversation to be had? A teacher who despises marriage, might say, “Get a puppy instead, kid.” A teacher who’d rather not give life advice could say, “Do your work, Johnny!” A discrete teacher, either pro- or anti-LGBT, might say, “I have my personal opinions on that subject, but I will leave it to your parents.” And yes, a teacher who relies on empirical law might give an answer revolving around the allowances afforded by state and civil governments (home and abroad). There are as many possibilities as there are teachers. LaBarbera: 0; Equality: 3

4) And let’s not forget homosexual-”married” teachers. If “gay marriage” is legalized, public school parents would be barred from preventing proudly partnered homosexuals from teaching their kids. (And there could be lawsuits against private schools by homosexual teachers suing for marital discrimination.) Picture a lesbian teacher putting the photo of her and her female parter — or maybe the celebratory photo of them kissing after their “marriage” ceremony — on her desk in front of the class. Teachers are important role models for our children – and all over the country, they talk about their married and family life with their students. However, if all “marriages” are equal, whatever is OK for normally-married teachers to do could not be challenged when perversely-”married” homosexual teachers do it. Hence legal “gay marriage” would be used to normalize homosexual relationships to children.

Again, this notion has nothing to do with marriage! LGBT teachers are already teaching your kids, America. And if an appropriate reason arises, he or she very well might acknowledge a special person in his or her life, the same way that a heterosexual teacher might (although these sorts of personal discussions, gay or straight, are typically rare). The variable here is not whether or not the union is legally binding — gay and straight teachers choose to or to not marry for any number of reasons. The variable at play is the teacher’s personal comfort level. Both ‘mo and ‘ro teachers, now or in an America with 50 state marriage equality, make the personal choice to or to not acknowledge their life, love, and personal dealings.

And no, public school parents will not be given a smorgasbord of teacher options based on where they fall on the Kinsey scale. We didn’t even realize that social conservatives of 2010 were still seeking that Briggs-ian option.
LaBarbera: 0; Equality: 4

5) In homosexual-”marriage” states, school textbooks will be re-written to validate homosexual “marriages” as the real deal — and the winning “gay marriage” would be portrayed as a genuine civil rights achievement. Thus, not only will impressionable minds be corrupted by propaganda that falsely affirms that sexual perversion and marriage are compatible, they will also be taught that to oppose this concept is to stand against “civil rights.” Christians must not be naive on this point: even very young students would be taught that those who fought the “gay” civil rights movement — culminating in its greatest prize, “marriage equality” — are the modern-day equivalents of Americans who fought against racial reconciliation and true civil rights. (Interestingly, polls show that African Americans oppose homosexual “marriage” by wider margins than whites.) The law is a teacher and unfortunately the lesson here is that Americans of faith who agree with God against homosexual “marriage” are small-minded, intolerant bigots who “hate gay people.” That misguided ”lesson” will be drilled into young minds in the name of tolerance.

Schools again? Really? Oy.

Look, the marriage debate is already part of civil rights history. Right now. Unchangeably so. Students from here to whenever will learn about this overwrought civil rights fight. And while social conservatives love the “they’ll treat us like bigots” victimization meme, the reality is that most archivists and historians will instead focus on the merits of the messaging itself. And if these same social conservatives are scared about what kind of take-home a fair presentation of that messaging weighing the arguments of both the “marriage protectors” and their targets might drive into kids’ brains, then they really need to ask themselves why they have this fear. We don’t have it. Why do they?

Now, they would surely blame gay indoctrination. But please! We live in a very conservative America. Many of us on the side of peace and fairness have felt secure in our message for decades, long before public polling was even approaching gay favorability. We’ve felt this security even in our darkest hours. It is a safe generalization to say that we on the side of LGBT rights believe in our cause and its historical staying power. So why doesn’t our opposition? And again, the correct answer is not “the homosexual agenda made it that way.” America has heard both side’s would-be,could-be teachable moments, and the obstacles were certainly on our side. If we’ve succeeded, it’s because we have merit.

If gay-unfriendly Christian parents want to drive home an anti-LGBT message, then they have the right to do that in their homes. Even in their home schools. But in America’s public schools, the message is going to be based on the laws, landmarks (both pro- and anti-), and the players, just as every other single debate is now. The mind will be made up on a personal level, but the evidential folder will be made up with facts. LaBarbera: 0; Equality: 5

6) This is perhaps the most sinister by-product of legalizing homosexual “marriage”: it becomes a very effective and practical tool in the further demonization and denigration of traditional religion in the USA. If the struggle for homosexual “marriage” (“gay civil rights”) is a noble one — and predominantly religiously-motivated opponents are somehow the modern equivalent of the KKK, then something is rotten in traditional religion itself — especially Bible-believing Christianity, which clearly condemns homosexual practice as sinful.

Already, “gay” activists are not shy about equating Christian-based opposition to homosexuality with “bigotry, hatred and homophobia” — i.e., irrational prejudice. If they succeed in persuading the State (through activist judges) to declare “same-sex marriage” a “constitutional right,” then the next step is to lobby government to eradicate any favored status to real man-woman marriage (and, by extension, biblical Christianity) in the public square. Admittedly, this is already happening through leftist groups like the ACLU, but State-enforced “gay marriage” would provide one more powerful tool to push old-fashioned religion to the curb — and indoctrinate children — in the name of “tolerance” and “progress.

First off: Pro-equality people of faith have lived their entire lives in an America that tells them that their staunch belief in LGBT parity is wrong. Anti-equality people of faith have had a long, long, long run of seeing their personal faith condemnations govern public policy. When that changes, and our civil policy is free from everyone’s personal faith, we will all be better off.

What’s so particularly galling about this “gays threaten faith” canard is that historically, LGBT people and progressives have been a gagillion times better at protecting true religious freedom than have the socially conservative evangelicals who so staunchly oppose same-sex unions (and lower Manhattan mosques). We LGBT folk, sensitive to being unfairly stifled, tend to support true religious freedom even when it goes against our lives and loves! We’re not asking for the right to force churches to marry us. We’re not seeking to take Fred Phelps and family off the streets. We’re not asking anyone to stop sharing Leviticus interpretations over their shrimp dinner plates. We’re asking for the separation and mutual respect that is so needed in the U.S. But it has to be respect that goes both ways, and respect that deals honestly with the facts at hand. In this area, the anti-gay Christians are not playing fair. LaBarbera: 0; Equality: 6

7) Legalized homosexual “marriage” has already been shown to hurt the adoption movement — that is, the wholesome and traditional adoption business that seeks to place children in stable homes with a mother and a father. In “gay marriage” states, adoption agencies that adhere to that time-test natural model of family will be forced by state bureaucracies to place children in homes that are motherless or fatherless by design. Will principled adoption agencies be forced to shut down as in Britain or like Catholic Charities in Massachusetts (the Catholic Church teaches that placing children in homosexual-led households is “gravely immoral”)?

If they take state and/or federal funding, then yes, groups like Catholic Charities might have to either choose to treat all citizens fairly under civil law, or they will have to make the choice — and it is a choice — to either stop or shift certain services to organizations that will treat everyone with civil parity. Period. End of story. No further discussion.

And again, you have to flip the script: What about pro-LGBT faith services that are unable to offer certain civil arrangements because of LGBT-hostile policies (which, in recent years, have been mega-financed by Catholic interests)? Why is it only an outrage when it’s civil bias that rules the day?!?! LaBarbera: 0; Equality: 7

8 ) Finally: yes, Glenn, the “gays” — read: driven and well-funded homosexual activists — will “come to get us,” in one important sense (see Beck’s comment to FOX News’ Bill O’Reilly). If history is a guide, homosexual activists will absolutely set their sights on demonizing churches that refuse to marry same-sex couples (a saccharine term I avoid; these are not normal “couples” but people practicing perversion together). Here Mr. Beck, reportedly a Mormon, displays astonishing naivete, particularly for someone in the conservative information business. Homosexual activists came after the Boy Scouts of America (a noble institution heavily supported by Mormon families) — and almost destroyed their right to define who they are as an organization. The poor Scouts came within a single vote on the U.S. Supreme Court of being FORCED by the State to allow homosexual Scoutmasters. And after losing in court, the self-styled and appropriately designated ”queer” activist movement didn’t let up one bit. Instead, they continued their evil crusade against the Boy Scouts — fighting to boot them off of all public properties (in the name of tolerance and equality, of course) and generally working to poison the Scouts’ good name in the minds of Americans.

See # 6: No gay activist — NO.GAY.ACTIVIST! — is trying to force churches to marry gay couples. Individual congregants might be taking on that fight within their individual church body, which is where this conversation should take place. But no LGBT legal group or prominent voice is fighting for the ancillary religious ceremony component of marriage. The organized rights fight is 100% about civil marriage!

And the Boy Scouts matter is 100% different! The issue there is that the Scouts are regularly allowed to utilize public accommodations while disallowing gays, avowed atheists, and others. If churches tried the same thing, then there would be the same fight. Unapologetically so! But as long as the marriage matter continues to involve preachers simply wanting the right to only marry the couples that they choose, then there will be no controversy. Just like we currently support the right of faith leaders to refuse to marry atheists, an interfaith couple, members in bad standing, etc. THAT is a religious freedom — civil bias is not. LaBarbera: 0; Equality: 8

Or as the historical record will remember the civil rights victories from Peter’s anti-LGBT career: LaBarbera: 0; Equality Won.

***

**SOURCE FOR ALL LABARBERA QUOTES: Why Glenn Beck Is Wrong — Legalizing Homosexual ‘Marriage’ Will Destroy Freedom [AFTAH]




Good As You

—  John Wright