When I was still working at the Post Office on Knotts Island, in early 2011, a man came in and walked up to the counter and requested information on getting his mailing address changed. I nearly fell off my postal perch for two reasons; but before I tell them to you, let me tell you a little about Knotts Island, North Carolina., population at last census approximately 1800-2000. It’s a small island, and despite the past years’ influx of folks who work in Virginia Beach and Norfolk and Chesapeake, but sleep on the island and therefore need to build houses here to sleep in, the island retains its rural character and its complement of rural “characters”. Folks here are overwhelmingly white and Christian, many still fish or crab in the spring and summer and hunt deer and ducks in the fall and winter. Non-whites who show up in the Post Office are usually tourists on their way to the Outer Banks, which is sad because 1) they are lost, and 2) we could use some diversity here.
Which brings me back to my two reasons: First, this man who turns up in the Post Office is dressed like the Ninjas you see in karate movies, or like Mr. Miyagi in the movie The Karate Kid. All in black, with the wide-legged pants, barefoot with sandals and short kimono-style wrap top tied with what looks like the belt you get when you have completed a level of your karate training. And second, he is Asian, and like I said before, on this island, that’s pretty unusual. So of course, he must be lost, but no, he has bought a house here, and seventy acres on the bay, and oh, by the way, he’s going to be starting yoga classes HERE on the island, and do I want to come? Wait, give me a minute to…YES.
So in May of 2012, I began taking classes in Raja Yoga with Master Adam, every Thursday afternoon at 4pm, here on Knotts Island. Over time, I learned things about Master Adam: he is Vietnamese, he’s been doing Raja yoga for 56 years, he also teaches classes at Wareing’s Gym in Virginia Beach (he actually began their yoga program there), he has taught yoga to Navy SEALS and to Hollywood film makers…I could go on, but if you want to know more, click here.
Raja (or Royal, or King) yoga is not as well known as some forms of yoga, and it is very different,
“Raja Yoga is very intense; it is rigorous and strenuous, yet it is also very balanced, with invigoration done the right way and a lot of rejuvenation. Done correctly, as taught by a Master, there would be no stress or strain involved or pressure. The Master encourages the student to pace themselves, to do the poses with ease and to slow down or take a break when needed. To stop if you have any doubts or perceive that what you are doing is posing a danger to your body.”
“Do all good. Do not do bad. Cleanse your mind, purify your heart. Practice wisdom and compassion. This is the Way. “
The words seem easy, but the practice is hard, as is the practice of this intense form of yoga. But for me, at least, it has been worth the effort. I’m more peaceful, more accepting and less judgmental, more able to deal with the vicissitudes of life…and I’m stronger, thinner, and more disciplined. And Knotts Island has a little more diversity.