Lane Jaffe coaches Lacrosse. He's also one fierce yoga teacher and uses his experience as both a yogi and an athlete to guide his teams. Under his leadership, his teams win. It's a testament to him and to the practice of yoga. A former goal keeper, Lane reflects on his athletic career and what yoga has taught him about himself, and even more, about his approach to life off the field.
My parents named me Lane after a scholar athlete they read about in the newspaper. They got half of that equation right. Growing up, I literally played every sport. I loved to compete. In high school, I played Football in the fall, Wrestling in the Winter and Lacrosse in the Spring. I earned twelve Varsity letters, was All State in Football, took third in the Prep States in Wrestling, and was All-American in Lacrosse. I then earned an Athletic Scholarship to Rutgers University.
At Rutgers, I often felt burnt out by the daily grind, constraint, and pressure to perform. I was far from being mature enough to handle the physical and mental pressures of Lacrosse. What was once my favorite sport had now become a stressful job. It was no longer about "playing" and having fun while competing. I was now driven solely by results. I didn’t then, and still don’t now, blame anyone for taking the fun out of the game. I just regret that I wasn't mentally tough enough. As an adult, I now understand the effort and sacrifice needed to be successful at that level of competition.
After graduating from college with a degree in Philosophy, I ran as far away as possible - landing in Los Angeles. I was trying to runaway from myself, but there I was, with myself, without a clue of what to do. It was very shocking for me. Up until then, Lacrosse always provided me with a purpose and a direction. Now it was gone and I had to find a something to do with my time. I think it’s called "Getting a Job!"
I followed my passion of working with people. I got a job working with emotionally disturbed adolescents. They had no filter, no boundaries. Most of them were angry, and rightly so. And this is when Yoga re-entered my life. I say re-enter because, as a teenager, I tried yoga yoga for many years an athlete, but strictly for stretching and sleeping. I was literally just going through the motions of yoga. But this time, yoga was different for me. I was there because I chose to be there and I was excited to give it my best effort. After working with the kids, I craved peace and quiet, combined with the focus and challenge of asana.
I began practicing yoga five days week. I felt strong, physically, but more importantly, I felt confident, mentally. Yoga brought higher purpose into my world and it spilled over into my everyday life. I was looking to become the best person I could be, while also helping others. Confident with who I was a person – a direct result from hours on my mat – I reapplied myself to education and earned a Masters degree is Psychology.
Yoga looks you right in the face and reflects back exactly who you are.
Are you willing to show up?
Are you disciplined?
What kind of effort will you bring?
What of attitude will you bring?
Can you remain lighthearted?
Can you handle the difficult situations? The difficult poses?
Can you accept yourself?
Can you surrender?
The questions were all right there – on the yoga mat. And that is when my real yoga journey began.
At the same time, I reentered the Lacrosse world, but this time as a coach. I dove back into the sport of lacrosse with a new passion and new outlook. Instead of seeing lacrosse solely as a sport, I now view it as opportunity to bring people together. Coaching Lacrosse has allowed me to find ways to help shape kids lives for the better - by holding them accountable to themselves and their teammates, by teaching them self-discipline, by encouraging healthy competition, and all along the way, reminding them to enjoy the process.