About mariavlong

I'll tell you about what today is like for me. It will include Yoga, chasing after some pretty or yummy thing, trying to be nicer & less of a big baby.

Our Yoga Stories

Folks, I am arriving to the part where my practice shows me that telling the story of my practice is becoming something sort of unrelated to my practice. I am at the point where I realize that I practice to interrupt the vrittis which later return here (and elsewhere) as the story of what happened, or what I think happened, or worse: What I think will happen next. Other times it is an exercise in standing out or self identifying as  being in the correct team (Ashtangi) or as separating myself by being against exhibitionism, through asana, or intellectual mental gymnastics, and against commercialism through those two methods as well. None of those identifications are necessary for completing a practice. My story only means that what I narrate concurs  and flows with the stories from others, and their stories resonate with me. It only means that the stories of others, mess up my narrative and create dissonance. My like or dislike of their stories or mine do not make them accurate or real. If I could describe what really happens during yoga practice (so tempted to put an acronym here) it would be an attempt to describe the finding of space that remains open and unfilled.

Mortifyingly Gross

It’s in the 90’s and everyone is sweating a lot. So please, please, please, do not do what I did yesterday and prepare a huge pile of roasted scallions to put on top of your thai rice and your guests’ halibut. This morning I started frowning and  self righteously thinking, “what”, WHO? smells so overwhelmingly bad?? It took a couple of more down dogs to figure out it was me. If it was revolting for me to be near myself, I can only imagine what I put my neighbors to the right and left of me through.  I ate before 5PM yesterday evening and went to a 10 AM practice, so FYI those fumes stay around awhile. Best leave the alliums for the night before your rest day, phew!

To Look Up Today

Or google “so to say” as this lovely Russian lady tells me when she is not sure if her choice of words apply:

Are feelings of grief stored in the Quadricepts? All the asanas the require engagement in that area while stretching the front of the body, make me cry like my boyfriend left me, and my pet (if I had one) died on the same day. What are those feelings I stored in there? Surely they don’t all fit in there?

What focus group, or how was it decided, that the color of smoked salmon looks good on a vehicle?

Is it powerful intuition or is it being judgmental, to strongly believe that someone hurt Sandra Bland so horribly badly in that jail that she could not handle it, or that someone felt they had to kill her so she would not tell?

Why white people think that by them not being racist, black people can stop feeling thousands of days of stored anger and humiliation and distrust like a turning off a light switch.

How can David Brooks sound so smart one day and sound like a fucking idiot the next?

Will I ever stop planning what bottle I want to open or order Friday nights? Will Pratyahara EVER kick in??

Cultural Appropriation

Sweet baby Jesus, there is currently a shit storm brewing on Facebook that was conjured during the comments on Matthew Remski’s post on his retelling of the interview that Kino gave him after he highlighted her injury report on her FB page. Shit storm is no longer about Kino and her hip, no Sir. Actually hard to tell what it is about right around now. And you know I do not have the credentials, the academic skills, or the discipline to follow what is really going on. All I know is that right around now talk about  White privilege, colonization, feminism, racism, and cultural appropriation is hopping. And not just among yogis who know a thing or two about throwing shade. Salon, Slate, TheAtlantic and NYmag all have pieces on these topics this week.

This is not even what I wanted to blog about today. I wanted to recommend. Ta-Nehishi Coates’ book; The World And Me.  I am being educated and made aware of things a 57 year old white latin woman had no idea about, through a very fine piece of literature.


So my friend Tony shared the new KPJAYI rule for admission to the main shala. The update is here. I was raised in culture where finding away around the rule was a sign of ingenuity with a  small  tiny smidgen stain of dishonesty. In other words an unattended farm stand on the road with can to leave payment would never work in Colombia, at least while I lived there. So my question is, how is that going to be verified/enforced?? Also, like her brother Manju, is Saraswati on the authorized list? If she is, then stay for 3 months! (okay I’m kidding) I actually think Saraswati should be able to grant certification as well. I don’t think the rule is bad for anyone with a sincere yoga practice. But it becomes the source of a status symbol for those with overactive, overexcitable Type A tendencies. My teacher is not authorized. She has a 20 year old daily practice, with some trips to Mysore before Guruji passed. I and most of her students would be delighted to study with Sharath’s Mom.


I lost my cousin Vivianne today. She was sick with lung cancer so I feel relief for her. I also feel fragile because as some of you know, cousins are your first playmates so death feels really real when it starts to happen to people whose face you have known  and recall at age 4, 8,12, 20 and 40. Our parents and their parents were already grown ups- their images change less in our minds. My mom and her two sisters had two daughters each. I am my mom’s oldest. I’ve been an old hippie since I was 12, and am now a yogi. My younger sister is a private banker. My cousin Martha is a Buddhist nun. She is the oldest in her family. Her younger sister runs a construction company. Vivianne was the oldest in her family. She was  a shaman and a healer. She saw things that we found fantastic and scary when we were little, but we asked her to tell us more even if we were pretty spooked. Her younger sister is an insurance agent.

Innumerable Methods

Just finished reading Annie Lamott’s  Facebook post on her 29th recovery birthday and it made me realize that we all use something or another to blunt the panic and fill the holes. We spend so much time judging comparing an overanalyzing each other’s method or substance of choice, that it is hard to realize that we use that too as a way to calm the fuck down and feel better about how we go about administrating our fix. Today I experienced how we can be so successful in blunting the feeling or filling the hole, that we can loose the ability to communicate with parts of our bodies. I was convinced that I tilted my pelvis when I needed to perform certain asanas. It turns out that it is all in my head. My pelvis has not heard or understood a single request so far. I have several ideas on why I just only now realize this, but that is a longer post than the ones I prefer to write. Annie Lamott says that “why?’ is not a useful question. All I know is that yoga is a circumstance that fosters the communication and the exploration of those spaces and parts of yourself that you thought where holes and you sealed up or cut off a regular conversation with. There are other places and possibilities to do that. Not just through yoga. Just let’s not get all wound up and bent out of shape when someone slips and scrapes their knee or twists an ankle while trekking the valley or the summit.  I don’t know shit about baseball but Annie says that Grace bats last, and that’s how we will all recover from using.