The Yoga of Catching a Thief: A Life Lesson on Yin and Yang

Off the thief ran with the hard earned profits of my daughter’s fledgling opera company. We captured him and held him until the police arrived. But that was not what I had in mind. I struggled with my inner dark side…and learned more about yoga on the way.

It takes a lot of energy to produce any show. My daughter, Alaina, is Artistic Director of her small opera company startup called Loose Tea Music | Theatre.  We were tearing down after the last performance at a fashion designer’s studio. It is always an emotional time as we celebrate success and deal with some disappointments. The hard work converts to meager earnings which is typical for a start-up.

Moving stuff to our cars, I stood watch so no one would steal anything. I noticed a young man in a Toronto Maple Leafs hockey jersey panhandling at the corner and he seemed to have lots of interest in what we were doing. A young woman comes by to chat with me. I see the two join up and think nothing of it.

Alaina comes out with more stuff and the money box. She puts it down to help load something. In that moment, the man runs by and scoops the box and runs off. Alaina and her friend, Marcus, immediately pursue him. She is a fast runner and overtakes him. He shoves some of the money towards her and she stops to gather it.

Alaina returned to us to count the money and found that half was still missing. This time, I and the studio’s owner, Wayne, take off with her. We search the neighborhood and can’t find him. We start walking back to the studio dispirited.

Casually, I ask Alaina where she had caught the man before. She indicates the corner of a building of which we are now just in front. She heads to the grass to see if there was any more money that she didn’t pick up. Leaning on the railing, Wayne and I observe that this is a low rent type of apartment building as compared to the rest of the neighborhood.

A man emerges from the building with a Maple Leaf hockey jersey in his left hand. I recognize him as the thief and start after him. He recognizes me too and runs around the corner of the building… to where Alaina is. She grabs him and they fall to the ground.

I am immediately on him and punch him in the face to get his attention. He empties his pockets giving up the rest of the money. At this point I want to settle this now; teach him a lesson and move on. All I can hear is Alaina yelling “Dad! Dad! No! Don’t!”

I hesitate and the thief struggles to get up. He knows the police are coming and wants to escape. Hearing Alaina and knowing that we now have lots of eyes on us, I switch to immobilizing him. I take him down with a leg sweep and then put him in an armlock. He still struggles. So I put my knee on his head and grind his face into the dirt.

Wayne and Marcus arrive and the three of us sit on him until the police arrive. He is a known junkie. He is cuffed and driven away while we give our statements.


Wow – I sure didn’t feel like a peaceful yogi during this incident! I was certainly mindful and present. But it was a dark presence.

This event made me ponder on the truth of the yin/yang symbol – the duality of nature and some lessons.




There is always a little bit of darkness: If I am in the white side seeking the light, I must accept that there is always some darkness in me. Of course the reverse is true of the dark side. In that moment, I found my dark side. I believe my yoga practice and screaming daughter quickly brought me back to the light.

The dark and light sides have an interface: This event was the interface between dark and light. It forms the S down the middle of the circle. It is a reality that there are two forms which co-exist. It is also a windy path which makes it unpredictable.

I conclude that perhaps my inner dark side was needed to push against the encroaching boundary of the external dark side. But it was needed only to the point of re-establishing balance. With that understanding I find my lesson and my peace.

PS I am grateful to my wife, Maureen, who was able to remove the grass and blood stains from my linen pants… washing away the darkness.

Posted on on August 27, 2014


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