Posted May 6, 2009 in Oxx Tales by Jim Markel
Red Oxx CEO Jim Markel traveled to L.A. for a session of Yin Yang Yoga with the Monkey Kung Fu Master Paulie Zink. Read on and learn how discipline in the art of yoga can teach you many more things than balance and strength.
I would be spending my weekend at the Santa Monica Yoga center for some instructor training with Paulie Zink. The Monkey Kung Fu master has developed a style of yoga that keeps him in top fighting shape.
I began my studies with Paulie when he first moved to Montana and was a loyal student until he closed the center to pursue teaching full time. He now puts on instructor clinics around the country. The knowledge and patience he has taught me has served me well during these tumultuous years of building the company.
Part philosophy and part mental discipline, his teachings in the arts are legendary. He reminds me of the great Mushashi Miyamoto, a master swordsman and philosopher whose Book of the Five Rings is still in print today. Today with the Internet, Paulie is connecting with people all over the world and sharing his knowledge.
After the first session we all decided to meet up at Paulie’s favorite restaurant Planet Raw. The whole menu is completely raw food and I mean everything. Wild concoctions of blended nuts and things turned into stuff that resembles real food. Well it is all real food, just not the kind of food I eat.
My idea of a good pre-workout meal is a fabulous croissant at the Rose Café followed by a half gallon of coffee. Still, being a good sport and wanting to spend some casual time with the master you eat what he eats no matter how weird. Besides, I had a candy bar waiting for me in my Gator bag.
Here was an eclectic group of students gathered around the table while the overhead heaters kept the Pacific chill at bay, we kibitzed about modern life.
The simple yet profound message of a balanced life holds true ever more so in our fast paced interconnecting lifestyles. The center of Tao and Yin and Yang are present in our lives at all times. Finding the time to recognize and reconnect with your center is essential to good health and peace of mind. Through the years I’ve learned much from my practice, though changes have been subtle. Yet when the ability to focus and pull things to you into perspective is hard to describe.
The manifestations of the art seem to transcend the physical. On the physical side the benefits are easily seen and sometimes in strange ways. Throwing 3 darts into a bull’s-eye when you haven’t picked a dart up in years or catching things in mid air before they hit the ground. Total control over your movements is one thing but automatic unconditioned response is quite a surprise. Energy and connectivity to all living things is what you feel when walking the Chi Kung circle. The power and the flow as it transforms across the 5 elements is something that makes your blood race with an ancient call.
Taking that last spin on my low tech transportation, I coasted down the hill towards the ocean and caught the last rays of the setting sun. One more night of sleeping by the sea and it would be time to pack my kit for the flight home.
Cheers, Jim CEO