Paul Tudor Jones is Better at Yoga Than Me

Paul Tudor Jones, worth about 10 billion dollars, was doing a headstand about ten feet away from me in yoga class and I was jealous of him. When you can’t do a headstand you do the yoga pose where your arms are straight in front of you, your forehead is on the ground and you are resting on your knees. It’s called “child’s pose”. I was in child’s pose.

When Jones walks into a room you can tell it’s him. You know why? Because he actually looks cleaner than everyone else. He looks like every pore on his body has been scrubbed of all the oils and microbes and itches and little pieces of dirt that build up over time on the human body (err…well, my human body).

I want to look clean. I’m torn because I know it doesn’t take money to be happy. But I can’t help it. I’m jealous. He’s a few mats down from me. He’s doing pretty good at yoga. In fact, he’s probably better than me!  And cleaner!  So now I’m jealous. I can’t deny it.

Why? No reason. He’s worth 10 billion. And no matter how I philosophize about money and minimalism and mommy – 10 billion dollars is mommy and I’m even in Child’s Pose.

(Sonja Jones, Paul’s wife, is very advanced at yoga. The man behind her is Pattabhi Jois who started Ashtanga Yoga.)

Paul Tudor Jones is my mommy right now. And he’s probably better than me at yoga. And Claudia catches my eye and mouths the words “that’s Paul Tudor Jones” like I don’t know. Claudia, do you know I’ve been writing about stocks for 10 years and I ran a fund of hedge funds?

I tried for a job around here once. At a big hedge fund. And it didn’t work out. And when I was sitting in the lobby of that hedge fund, back in 2004, I was watching all the people walk in and out of the building and I was thinking to myself, “they are better than me. I don’t deserve to be here.” And now I’m back for a week-long yoga class that Jones has funded.

The other day Claudia and I drove around Greenwich to look at all the big houses. Whenever we saw a road that said “PRIVATE ROAD – RESIDENTS ONLY” we turned down that road. The problem was: we couldn’t see any houses except occasionally the tops of houses. We saw one place that was supposedly 14,000 square feet with a 6000 square foot ice rink on the property. But almost every house had big fences and security so we couldn’t actually see anything.

We drove past Paul Tudor Jones house. We found a back street that didn’t have a security guard in front of it.

I kept thinking, why aren’t I here?

(this was one of the smaller houses we passed)

One time my father and his ex-wife were visiting a psychiatrist. A couples therapist. The couples therapist said to him, “if you’re so smart, why aren’t you rich?” Sometimes the shadow of the father casts darkness on the son.

I said to Claudia, “Most of the guys in these houses go for really expensive call girls.”

Why did I say that? I don’t know if they are or they aren’t. Then I said, “90% of these guys go for girls that are like $14,000 a night.” Where did I even get a number like $14,000. Why not an even $10,000? Where did I pull 90% from? Did I read a study?

She asked, “do you think Paul Tudor Jones likes the spiritual side of yoga?” And I said, “no.”

Why would I even say that? I don’t know anything about the man. He seems very nice.  Then I saw a video later where he did say he liked the spiritual side of yoga. Damnit!

“I wouldn’t want to live out here,” I said. “I like where we live.” We passed a house that was only about 10,000 square feet. “If we lived in that house I’d have to get an intercom just to talk to you.”

And then I felt bad. Like maybe Claudia would’ve been better off with someone worth ten billion dollars.  They’d like her for who she was, just like I do. And I wondered why I wasn’t here. Why one of these houses weren’t mine.


I said, “I guess I made a lot of different career choices in my life. All Paul Tudor Jones has done is trade the markets.”

I said, “If I had ever made this kind of money I bet we wouldn’t have met. Then what good would all that money do me?”

I said, “I don’t like Connecticut anyway. All the roads have the same name. We just were on two different Main Streets that ran perpendicular to each other. This state is crazy and they suspended my license ten years ago anyway.”

She said, “If you and Paul Tudor Jones went out to dinner what would you talk about?”

And I said, “Nothing.” But why did I say that? And I looked out the window at all the big beautiful houses. House after house.  I want to have dinner in one of these houses. And look at the paintings on the wall. And play ping pong in the 10,000 square foot basement. I want to be friends with Paul Tudor Jones now.

Paul Tudor Jones was doing a head stand ten feet from me. I was in Child’s Pose. Then the teacher, Saraswati, came over to me and tapped me on the back. I kicked my legs up and she grabbed onto them. Now I was doing a head stand! I counted five breaths and she put my legs down. “Next time,” she said, “use this part of your head.” And she pointed to the center of my head instead of my forehead which I was trying to balance on.

(my teacher today, but this photo of her is from 60 years ago)

Before yoga today I had all these ideas that I thought I would meditate on while in the different poses. I had a list. Like I would meditate on ideas for posts. Or meditate about the jealousy I was thinking. Really dive into it. I know for a fact I don’t need that much. I don’t even like any luxuries. I would buy more milkshakes.

But I still felt the jealousy. You can’t just ignore negative feelings. They exist. If you deny them, they find other ways to escape the body. I should invite the jealousy into my mind, invite it for tea, say hello to it, be nice  to it. Maybe then it will wither away. I try to live by the idea that jealousy separates you from what you want.

By the end of the class I was sweating all over. Even the mat was all wet. And my shirt was soaking wet. And my glasses were so wet with sweat I couldn’t see out of them. I looked over to where Jones was. He was gone. I was sweating so much and my body was so sore I couldn’t move. But it felt like a good sore. I wanted to thank the teacher for helping me in the headstand. I was grateful. Grateful also that Jones and his wife had invited her to teach here this week. After about a minute I realized I was the only one left in the room. Even Claudia was gone, taking a shower.

I was glad I had finished the class. It was brutal. I thought I was going to collapse dead in the middle. Then I realized I had forgotten to think about all the things I wanted to think about. In fact, I couldn’t remember anything I had thought about while doing the yoga. I had thought about nothing. Afterwards Claudia and I went for bacon and pancakes and every bite tasted good.

(Mmmm, photo today, post-yoga, pre-pancakes)


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