Yoga for Geeks – a Submission for Ignite Seattle 8

Ignite Seattle is an event where you have 5 minutes to talk about a topic, any topic, in front of a lot of people, whose fingertips are ready to tweet, text, and blog to a lot more people. (If you’re lucky, they will have had a drink or two and generally can be more forgiving.) Normally people talk about some life changing event, something they’re working on, or something they’re really passionate about.

My topic is something that fits D) All of the above, and then some. Below is what I submitted as a proposed talk. If the topic gets picked, I’ll be presenting it at the next Ignite Seattle on December 1st and the King Cat Theater in downtown Seattle.

In Seattle, you can close your eyes, spin around a couple times, throw a rock, and it’s guaranteed to land on a yoga studio, or somewhere very close to one. Want proof? I tried to map out all the studios in and around Seattle. That map doesn’t even reflect ALL the yoga there is in this town, because new studios are being built all the time, and I didn’t even include health clubs and private space.

Yoga is pervasive, and not just in the Seattle metropolitan area. You can’t even watch an episode of Mythbusters without getting hit with yoga in some random dog food commercial.

Yet, yoga can be viewed with a skeptical eye from people in the scientific and engineering fields. In its current popular incarnation (har, pun may be intended), yoga can be perceived at best as a form of exercise for limber people with random mystical schmystical New Age talk thrown in; at worst it’s viewed as yet another cultish fad for self-proclaimed “gurus” to capitalize on by promising paradise to the gullible masses.

I would like to present another way to look at yoga for people who like to tinker, who ask questions, and who like to figure out who things work. I call these people geeks and consider myself one. Here are some definitions of a geek that strike a chord with me:

  • A peculiar or otherwise odd person, especially one who is perceived to be overly obsessed with one or more things including those of intellectuality, electronics, etc.
  • A person who has chosen concentration rather than conformity; one who passionately pursues skill (especially technical skill) and imagination, not mainstream social acceptance.
  • A person who relates academic subjects to the real world outside of academic studies; for example, using multivariate calculus to determine how they should correctly optimize the dimensions of a pan to bake a cake.

To me, geeks are already very yogic, whether or not they realize it. A yogi is someone who asks a lot of questions, who intently debugs his or her own mind and body. A yogi is someone who says, “you know, this infinite loop kinda sucks”.

In short, I would like to present the concepts of yoga in terms that a geek, especially those of the software engineer variation, will be able to relate to. My intention is to promote the understanding of yoga beyond a work-out and other popular pre-conceived notions.

One of these days, I'll write LoLYoga, the comprehensive guide

One of these days, I'll write LoLYoga, the comprehensive guide