By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
As a yoga teacher, Lewicki, a tall 37-year-old with blond curly hair to his shoulders, has a habit of making goofy wisecracks — he once held a class in downward-facing dog position until everyone confessed a favorite flavor of Ben and Jerry's. But in this moment he was a scientist, his tone more measured and serious. "To have a disaster like this, it really shakes things up. It shocks you, it brings into awareness how amazing the shuttle is. And that's what yoga's about: awareness."
Class ended, and in that peculiar hazy twilight of a Los Angeles winter, I tried to get Lewicki to elaborate, but he was rushing off to teach a 6 p.m. class at Center for Yoga.
"I've gotta jam," he said. "But you can catch me at home tomorrow."
So I did. "How does a rocket scientist become a yogi?" I wondered.
"I've been good at math and science from grade school, and I chose that as a career path," he said, "but I always felt I had my strong creative side that was looking for a way to express itself. Yoga fulfills that."
The specific kind of yoga Lewicki teaches, a style called Anusara developed by Houston yogi John Friend, "is very much grounded in the science of biomechanics and [Friend's] work in physical therapy; it involves all the latest work that's been done in those fields. But it's fit into the context of yoga tradition and philosophy. It's scientific, but it's spiritual, too. If it weren't, it wouldn't have that same attraction."
But isn't science spiritual? Didn't Einstein say something about knowing God through science? "I'm not familiar with that quote," Lewicki demurred. "But it's different for me. In some ways what I search for is something that makes me feel like I'm tapping into an energy that's larger than myself. I feel that sometimes working in science and mathematics, but not as much as when I find that in yoga. And it's also a balance: It's not that science is not spiritual; it's that science has specific uses that help to improve humanity in a different way.
"As Tantra says in the most basic way," he concluded, "'It's all good.' To revel in a scientific discovery is to revel in discovery about the universe and the beauty of the universe. And to practice yoga is to revel in the universe, too. It reminds you not to take anything for granted."
I remembered an article I'd read over the weekend about astronaut Laurel Clark describing space as "magical," about glimpsing the brief, flashing sunsets and strange blues of space, and being grateful that she'd been lucky enough to see it. She didn't know at the time that she and her crew were likely already doomed, but in those last moments it might have occurred to her this might be the last she'd see of space. I do not doubt that she paid attention.
LOOKING BACK AT 25 YEARS OF L.A.WEEKLY
"Ronald Reagan has set in motion a more fundamental change in America than any administration since Franklin Roosevelt's . . . His policy planners, reversing previously unchallenged theories, now declare nuclear war to be winnable and are preparing to be the winners. His State Department has signaled the Third World in innumerable ways that the administration's primary interest is the protection of U.S. corporate interests in their countries . . .
"At home, longstanding government policies on the environment, on workers' safety and on innumerable consumer protections have been reversed or are about to be . . . The Democrats have been supine in their responsibility to spell out to Americans the impact of the Reagan program, and the press has been almost moribund when it hasn't been cheerleading . . . Reagan may be a bit overzealous with this or that cut, the editorialists say, but he deserves the right to try to cure America of its economic and political ills. So much for the penetrating analysis of an awesomely radical shift in government policies."
—Greg Goldin on the early days of the first Reagan administration, October 2, 1981