Living in TechniColor: Life Lessons From Martin Scott
By Autumn Feldmeier
“Come to the edge,” he said.
They said "We are afraid.”
“Come to the edge,” he said.
He pushed them and they flew.
This is on the website of my dear friend and teacher Martin Scott. Martin's classes and teachings have taken me to the edge, I have had moments of flight (perceived or real). Like myself, Martin lives in Russian Hill. He owned Union Yoga in the neighborhood for over five years and now he teaches at studios throughout the Bay Area and leads retreats worldwide. He has over 1200 hours of training with teachers like Dharma Mittra, Stephanie Snyder, Jason Crandall and many others.
I was thrilled to connect with Martin and learn more about his thoughts on Yoga and his upcoming retreat.
I am curious about your thoughts on the documentary Wild, Wild Country and following a guru?
Well, you can’t find your spirituality on your phone. Basically, what I mean by that, the guidance has to come from within. The goal of the practice is finding your inner drishti and not looking outside of oneself.
But, it's human nature - we want someone to teach us and show us the way and have all of the answers and this is why we are drawn to teachers. We have to remember that teachers are human too and when we deify them we are relying on them for our spirituality. It's a basic precept of duality vs non-duality in the practice of yoga. The goal of Yoga is to develop self knowledge or 'atma bodha.’ It is my goal as a teacher to transmit that and the goal of the teachings.
Martin's classes always focus on the lesson of Yogas Citta Vritti Nirodhah, translated as Yoga is the calming of the fluctuations of the mind. I have noticed that in the United States we tend to focus on the Asana aspect of the practice. Martin and I discussed this and here is what he had to say:
So much of this (spiritual practice) gets watered down in our culture, spirituality isn't focused on in the practice. But, at the root of it, this is what it's really all about. Keeping yourself in check and not letting the ego take over.'
When did you make the connection of Yoga being more than just a physical practice?
I was leaving Yoga Tree Valencia one day and walking home and I remember looking around me and everything looked different. In that moment, I realized something had happened in the yoga practice that changed my entire life perspective. It was like an epiphany-profound. I realized 'this Yoga thing is way more than just moving your body around.' It's like I was seeing in TechniColor.
I am really looking forward to your retreat coming up this June at Land of the Medicine Buddha in Santa Cruz. Can you tell us a little bit about your co-teacher Khristine Jones?
Khristine taught at Union Yoga for 5 years and we move seamlessly together. There is a symbiotic nature between Khristine and myself. We come from the same place through different worlds. Part of me is a traditionalist and so is Khristine which is why we mesh so well.
What can we expect from the Land of the Medicine Buddha retreat?
We chose this place because when you go there you can feel the energy. They have ongoing Buddhist programs and the energy is very powerful. It's very easy to disconnect and fall into the vibe and the sattvic state. The point of a retreat, I think, is to chill and unplug. Land of the Medicine Buddha is an old hippie center in the Santa Cruz mountains.
What can we expect from the practice?
The whole weekend will be a heart opening practice from beginning to end. In the morning we have a vigorous vinyasa practice with lots of backbends and heart opening poses. We will have yoga nidra or meditation in the afternoons.
Any final thoughts on Yoga for our readers?
Now the work is done, drop your body on the mat, leave it there and walk away.
To learn more about Martin Scott visit martinyoga.com.