If you are alarmed by someone’s verbal abuse it is important to calm those vrittis first before you take action. Sometimes the vrittis do not calm down but at least you do not botch your response to objectionable behavior. I was going to leave Sunday’s trolling unpleasantness alone until I saw that my friend was still being harassed in the comments section of her new blog entry. So after a very mentally busy home practice (it started snowing when I was about to leave) I decided to do a little retired suburban housewife with time on her hands online research. It is important to save a copy of everything you find, because for example if I had not saved an image of who could potentially be my friend’s and my tormentor, It would have disappeared by today and that image was quite helpful. Then you just need patience and time until you will eventually find a Facebook page, a LinkedIn presence with a place of employment, several Indian marriage/matchmaking registries with his data, a youtube channel, and several threads where there are inquiries about job searches in a certain Scandinavian country. So, what do you do with all this which you copied, saved, AND even printed you may ask? You take it to your local police department, You share it with your friend should she want to take it the Mysore Police Dept. and Maybe also offer it to her husband here in the states should he want to take further action. If you still have oodles of time you might want to investigate how to send this to the local police department in certain Scandinavian city, that matches his LinkedIn profile, and of course share with as many yogi friends who might want to know how to avoid receiving insults and threats. Being only 29 is no excuse for bad manners. But you have to do all this before you reveal what you collected and generously shared because then of course there will be a lot of panicked but too late deleting. Oh, and report the verbal abuse to WordPress, but I haven’t heard from them yet.
I know a really decent female human being who is studying at KPJAYI and blogging about it. She had the audacity to mention how unfamiliar she is with the night time noises, that she saw some trash on empty lots next to very beautiful homes, and that a bus full of teenagers almost teased her. Some troll became melodramatically unhinged while reading this and accused her of being a racist and to insulting India as a nation, and threatening to find her and set her straight or make her pay, or something. I think he is still deciding. That’s fine, she can handle it, and so could I when he came over to troll my about page over here. Feel free to browse, but like I told this person, I feel that our exchange might be unproductive, so I “finalized” our conversation. What I really want to discuss is my impression that trolls are a lot more violent and aggressive with their language when they address female bloggers than their male counterparts. Does anybody else notice that? I see that not just from overly emotional possibly stressed out people, but politicians, pundits, and hackers across all social media. I generally don’t find men calling other men old, fat, prostitute, etc. or being threatened with “wait until I find you” but maybe I generalized. The other thing that came to mind, that I find more disturbing is how this overreaction to a tourist posting her observations might put her in danger, and I cannot help but think how this trolling happens around the same time that book banning is occurring in India, and how our online conversations could be vulnerable to censoring as well. My other reason to post this is that if you do check my about page and read it, I still would like to think the abusive language will remain just verbal and onscreen only, but want everyone to be careful.
UPDATE: On the advice of my friend Boodiba, I have removed the excrement from my about page now that I have an album of screen shots of this persons “poetry”.
A full primary feels so good after taking it easy for 2 days. My tongue accident was an excuse to take 2 Swenson specials at home because I practiced saying hello at the mirror and you could see my tongue, so that was that. So I am going to go ahead and say it: I am joining the opinion of others who find that a 50 plus change year old body is way more happy and willing when there is an extra break in the 6 day week practice. Some of you will say, but ah, you sacrifice the opportunity to progress/advance/improve. Which is where I have the chance to ask my first question: I read Tim Miller’s post last Tuesday and I also read John Scott’s interview which was shared on several FB walls and the both talk about backing off because of their ages. So, am I being over optimistic when I think I am in the will I get new poses lane? I mentioned somewhere else that March is my Ashtanga Anniversary. I started practice at 50 and this will be year six. I just want to hang on to and maybe polish some parts of primary. Does that mean goofing off? Question number 2: I got another chance to see David Robson’s video about “Hamsters” and I completely understand his point, but what if you have a hamster in your belly already instead of on top of your thighs (if you are curious enough you will look up the clip)?? Yes this is a menopausal question. I don’t care if right now you have steel abs, you will get a tummy when you get old and it is not the end of the world so this is a fair question. If both bandhas are engaged but there is extra body mass between your thighs and your bandhas is there a risk for vertebrae/disk damage?
My beautiful friend Claudia posted a photo of herself doing headstand in a very busy airport walkway. It is technically not a selfie because my guess is that James took it. Come to think of it most yoga photos are not selfies because the person is busy holding on to the pose while the timed camera or the volunteer takes the shot. I bounce back and forth from annoyed to impressed with these depending on the frequency and the location. Annoying: more than one daily and the same shot on every social media outlet. Also Annoying: in a busy, congested place like a market, an escalator, sidewalk, road, transportation hub, or inside places for reflection like churches, museums and monuments. Can something be annoying and beautiful at the same time? Sure, why not. Can I explain why? Not very well at all. Am I right or justified in feeling annoyed ? Probably not. Who cares? Even I don’t care. I am merely pointing out something that happens to me. Do I understand the Selfie impulse? Verry very well. Yesterday I burned a very big and deep hole in my tongue with a very hot (temperature wise and spice wise) bite of pizza. Did not hurt right away, I only noticed because I started bleeding profusely and went to check myself in a mirror. So what do I do before calling my MD? I take a picture. Will I share it? Um no, but I have it. Here’s a picture of the pizza.
We Ashtangis do not generally practice in rooms with full wall to wall mirrors, except if your community has a nomadic existence and you all have to rely on the kindness of strangers and accept practice spaces in other studios with mirrors or like where I first met Ashtanga, my local YMCA. But who needs a mirror when Ashtanga will give you plenty of opportunities to observe yourself, your reactions both physical and mental to this practice? I also wonder if the absence of mirrors reflects in any way or correlates with the copious amounts of youtube clips and selfies of Ashtangis (hehehe) that I for one click on and examine for tips and hints to approach challenging asanas. But that is neither here nor there. I want to talk about why we think that any meditative practice, a moving one or a sitting one should be safe and free of harm. I am not an adventurous person. I marvel at people who thrive on rock climbing El Capitan in Yosemite, spelunking in caves in Central America, deep sea diving in the Sechyelles, and so forth. No one except for maybe their moms say to them try an adventure which guarantees you will at no time be in danger. I snort as I notice what I demand of my husband when I say have a safe trip when he leaves for the office or the many construction sites he visits daily. How can he control or guarantee that? Ah but we do demand that our yoga and our meditative method be safe and free of harm. We are all in the room breathing and trying to avail ourselves of Dristhi and Bandhas, but how quiet and stable is it really inside those heads day in and day out? I hear people say if you are breathing and using your bandhas you will not get hurt. Well duh, if you step carefully and don’t stumble you won’t fall of that cliff as you climb Machu Pichu either. One of my closest friends came back from silent retreat (definitely not his first or his last) and he mentioned how loud and unruly his mind was this time around. Again, his fellow retreat participants chuckled at how screaming loud and crazy that hall would sound if all those collective thoughts had volume. And that is what we are doing folks, when we are in the Mysore room or on the cushion, trying to make peace with how loud and disruptive we still are without getting too judgy. Oh, and also, everyone wants a superb teacher, I know. Teachers make terrible mistakes while teaching. The good ones and the bad ones. I think that is why nobody comes right out and says so and so snapped my femur or broke my knee. Adventure is complicated.
To all of those people who stayed up and chanted during Mahashivaratri last night because for the first time in months, I slept through the night. Like a baby. Or maybe it is the accumulated almost 90 days of ashwaganda, no sugar, and booze only four times so far that is doing the trick. all I can tell you is that I started playing the chants Grim shared of Ramaswami on youtube in a loop around 4 PM plus some other Om Nama Shivayas that appeared on the feed. I feel asleep with that japa in my head and woke up so refreshed that I decided that maybe the moon day was in fact tomorrow Saturday and not today and I would go to Led. Once there a friend shared with me that astrologically this particular February really does not have a new moon which very seldom happens (28 days? that makes sense). Before we started, teacher did mention that today was considered a moon day, and that all these people who chanted during the night were looking forward to it. She also shared that when Guruji was alive he would always decide on the side of allowing two days of rest if the moon day fell close to a Fri/Sat. in other words if the moonday could go either way, lets say Friday late or very early Saturday, he would close the shala on Friday so students and families could enjoy two days rest in a row. if the same happened between a Saturday and a Sunday, he would close the shala on Sunday so there could also be two days of rest. I am paraphrasing her description so any inaccuracies fall on ME okay? Long story short we took it easy and it was a lovely practice with nice heat because crap it is cold outside. Today is my first anniversary as a mother in law. Why am I making it all about me? because nobody else cares, particularly the newlyweds. They are coming into JFK tomorrow for a few weeks because the son in law has a new book out with his illustrations and is doing a book tour. I asked if I could make an anniversary dinner and they said they would like some lox/bagels/cream cheese/onions and capers and a dirty martini. I don’t think any of you have rugrats (or even know what that is) but here is the clip for the book:
Also today another excellent response to Ashtanga being boring. If you have practiced for awhile you might agree that the analogy to the sticky bolt is pretty great. Or maybe it is a reference that New Yorkers and former apartment dwellers get..
Originally posted on Sadhana In The City:
The physical body offers so much in the way of distraction – the aches, the pains, the tweaks, pops, and cracks. Yoga asana alleviates some of these; it adds others as well. By practicing the same postures in the same order with consistency the body becomes used to it. It’s a bit like unlocking a sticky bolt. The first few times you try it is difficult, you jiggle the key in the lock, push on the door, pull on it, etc. until the latch is finally thrown. As you use the lock over and over again you learn exactly how to insert the key, the right amount of pressure to apply, and so on – the lock opens easily for you each time. You eventually forget that throwing this particular latch was ever difficult and when you loan the keys to a friend are momentarily flummoxed when they have trouble with the bolt.
As the Ashtanga series becomes more accessible with practice I have to think less and less about what I am doing and boredom sets in. My mind wanders. Invariably I first consider what is for lunch. This is quite telling; my awareness has yet to rise above muladhara cakra. Lunch is a brief consideration and is quickly pushed to the side. What takes its place is much more interesting. My mind travels to the things that are affecting me the most: sometimes family issues, sometimes money worries, sometimes a love interest, sometimes a recent argument with a close friend. The list goes on and on. As my mind fixates emotion begins to build, not unlike a wave, until it crashes over me. This is when the work begins. This is when the roller coaster ride starts; the inner workings of my being tossed up, down, and sideways. This is when I hold on tight for fear of plummeting to my doom. Without boredom, without the monotony of doing the same thing day in and day out, this cannot happen. Posture after posture I process these emotions – not just mentally, but physically, twisting, turning, arching, folding. At the end of practice I usually feel better. If I don’t, I always have tomorrow to do the same thing all over again.
My philosophy teacher says that the educated masses dominating urban settings are too wrapped up in logic. If we can’t find a logical explanation, a sound reasoning, we are not satisfied. I guess that’s why I see him for philosophy; so that I can logically dissect my yoga practice – so that I can be satisfied. He posits that those in more rural settings, living close to the land, have less need and less desire for logical mind games and have a much easier time accepting a more devotional lifestyle.