Waylon Lewis, Founder of elephant journal and self-proclaimed “Dharma Brat” offers his thoughts on yoga, mindful living, and his book Things I Would Like to Do with You in an interview in OM Times Magazine.
OM Times: How did you first come to yoga?
Waylon Lewis: On my hands and knees. I remember my first class—hot yoga…I literally crawled out of there.
I started about 14 years ago, when elephant was beginning, before it was elephant, really. I did a few classes around, then settled in at Richard Freeman and Mary Taylor’s Yoga Workshop. Loved that place—long classes (two hours), a focus on breath, alignment, adjustments, meditation, eco-responsibility. It’s hard to find that elsewhere, though there’s lots of great fun yoga studios.
OM Times: What’s one thing yogis could all do that we’re not doing right now?
Waylon Lewis: I just did a video with Dean of Jade Yoga mats. It really struck me—I’ve blogged about it for years, but it really hit home—that most of us do yoga on toxic, PVC mats.
The foundation of our path is literally toxic—bad for our planet, our air, and us. It’d be great to see yogis stop using toxic mats and stop using toxic to-go cups for our coffee. It’d love to see yogis become as passionate about healthy eco-responsibility: walking, biking, instead of driving; offsetting what we can’t do without; going zero-waste; throwing in a little meditation before and after our yoga practice. That alone could really help to begin to transform our society and our entire world.
OM Times: What’s ahead for elephant?
Waylon Lewis: We’re at 10 million readers a month. Last year, we were at 23 million readers a month, but Facebook changed some things (which is where most readers read our articles). We’re independent media. We’re here to be genuine, of service. We hope to grow, to reach beyond the choir. We’re focusing on our newsletters, which are free. We’re focused on live video, which is fun. We’ve interviewed Deepak Chopra, Michael Pollan, Shiva Rea, you name it. Check ‘em out if so inspired. What ahead? We want to be one of the biggest sites in America, and the world. We want to be more community-driven. We want to do good journalism, and pay writers more than the $10K a month that we do now.
I wrote a book about our evolving notion of relationships last year—“Things I would like to do with You”—about how to engage in love in a mindful, independent, spacious way that allows room for change and growth and working really, really hard. I probably work a bit much for most relationships to survive that kind of focus. We all still seem to want to fall in love. We’re not so sure about marriage, but many of us still want that, too. But we want a commitment with built-in freedom, room to breathe and change and grow. That’s not idealism—it’s practicality if we’re going to make a relationship work through, say, 50 years of challenges. So what does such a relationship look like? Luckily, I had the Buddhist notion of love to contemplate and study.
Image: Courtesy of OM Times
Editor: Catherine Monkman