“No more Road Rage. Become a Road Sage!”
Hey, watch it! I’m yoger-in’ here.
Those of us who practice daily deskasana know sitting for long periods of time often leads to slouchasana, aka schlumpasana aka numb-tush-stiff neck-asana. Oof! But what if instead of typing on a keyboard and staring at a computer screen, you’re scanning NY streets for potential passengers and pumping the brakes dodging those *#&@-ing jaywalkers? Taxi drivers need yoga too! Or so decided veteran driver and Astoria native Andrew Vollo, 56, who started a “Taxi Yoga” class specifically for those who spend their days as “pretzels in tin cans.”
Via The New York Times:
Mr. Vollo’s “dese” and “dem” lexicon is part of his skill set as the de facto guru for some unlikely disciples. The son of a welder, the veteran of years behind a taxi’s wheel, Mr. Vollo embodies the spread of yoga across traditional barriers of gender and class.
Truth: Thick NY accents make yoger more fun. So does multiculturalism, like in Mr. Vollo’s classes where students include those “who think yoga is something like yogurt” as well as people across different faiths and nationalities.
His course, in turn, shows how what has commonly been a religious practice can ultimately infuse popular culture with a more general sense of Eastern spirituality. While a public college like LaGuardia can hardly offer a class that compels worship of a deity, Taxi Yoga fits into a more contemporary and amorphous realm of mind-body harmony and meditative practice.
“I really think I’m chipping away,” Mr. Vollo, 56, said of the blue-collar aversion to yoga as stuff for hipsters, yuppies and space cadets. “If I get nine people in a class, that’s fantastic. They’ll learn enough exercises to loosen their back and legs. I’ll tell them how to eat better, give them breathing exercises. Because if you’re driving in pain, you’re going to be a nasty person.”
Don’t we know it! And cab drivers do suffer from a broad range of aches and pains from long hours butt-planted with hands at 10 and 2 (ahem).
A 2008 study of New York cabdrivers conducted jointly by the National Institute of Occupational Health and the New York Taxi Workers Alliance found that three-quarters of drivers suffered back pain, more than half had neck pain, and substantial numbers had sore heels, knees and feet. With the typical workweek about 60 hours — 60 sedentary hours — more than half the drivers are overweight.
So take it easy on that Cabbie McCaberson zooming in and out of traffic, honking and flinging expletives down the avenues. Maybe he hasn’t done his yoga yet!
Mr. Vollo has been at it for a while now – here he is featured in NY Daily News back in 2008.
Move over Cash Cab!
photo via flickr