Because I was bored and antsy (awful combo) along with the rest of New England, I might have misread a tweet that stated “Part of the yoga oath is….” and I was like wait. There”s a yoga oath? Is it a chant? Is it in yoga mala? In the HYP? I even asked the tweeter, and posted it on FB for clarification (B was the one taker and she was not a serious one). After many boring minutes with no update I sort of realized that the word oath was not being used as a synonym for the word pledge as in a recitation of a promise to be kept by swearing to uphold a promise, but rather as a daily resolve to practice the 8 limbs. SO, did I misread or am I being a grammar Nazi? That is a rhetorical question. I know the answer to that one. Earlier yesterday I also read a post over at Cultfit.com where I found the phrase (paraphrased here) “life can be both very boring and very dangerous” which was sort of perfect for yesterday’s expectation of the storm that never came. Here we were waiting with excitement (don’t lie) for a possible catastrophe, and worried that we might be bored out of our minds if we could not go outside, and wifi got knocked out, which is probably quite different from how things are handled in other corners of the planet that are not Manhattan or the suburbs of the North East. I was planing to misbehave nutritionally to keep the possible worry/boredom combo at bay. Grateful I did not have to. I am also very grateful for being introduced to Dave Hayes The Weather Nut by Laura and Michelle. He writes intelligently about weather even if he is a few miles off.
To be honest, I cannot discuss even basic geometry. My dad paid a tutor at the end of the year so I could pass algebra, trig and geometry. There was a kid from an Opus Dei boys high school that made a fortune tutoring secular bums like me during finals. He taught what was predictably going to be in the test, and I performed the tasks again and again until I could do them by rote, then barely passed and forgot all about it. I just finished watching John Scott (with very distracting beaded beard braid) being interviewed on those purple valley youtube videos and he at some point was discussing how nadi channels, bandhas, and chakras can form these geometric shapes such as diamonds and kite shapes that provide the form, structure, and tension to support and make the asana function and flow. Remarkable and fascinating that I was able to follow. It is not necessarily the info or the data that fuels my interest, it is the way it is told that inspired me to wonder and “investigate”. I also read a David Garrigues post where he compares the shapes we make in asana to a yantra. I will veer off course here and mention that I have always had a fascination with mandalas and yantras. I have no illusions, and many of you might not remember or even have owned a coloring book. Coloring books were huge when I was growing up. My collection of crayons, colored pencils, markers, and pastels was and who am I kidding, still is, epic. I love all those Dover publication themed coloring books. Even before I knew what a mandala or a yantra was, I loved loved coloring them. I find it calming and dare I say meditative. So it makes perfect sense when David says that practicing asana as if you were drawing or building a yantra is a way of entering a meditative state during yoga practice. I hope someone else comes up with the meditative uses of doodling zentangles, because I can do that for hours.
There is a whole post that goes along with this which you will find over here I just wanted to share that my wonderful cyber friend Anthony aka Grimmly, has just delivered the clearest most unassuming translation of the eightfold path to yoga, in plain modern English. In other words, he presents Ashtanga without drama:
1. Reflect on and seek to practice the moral code of your culture.
2. Work on your self discipline.
3. Do some exercise of a non competitive nature to improve your health and flexibility if necessary (you might have a physical outdoorsy job for example).
4. Calm your breathing (unless you have stress free outdoorsy job ).
5. Turn inwards.
6. Focus your attention on something worthy.
7. Contemplate it and then contemplate what is contemplating what.
8. See what happens next.
And don’t drink the bath water either. I realize there are some of you who are not on Facebook, so I am sharing Matthew Remski’s latest post here. It really captures what many of us are grappling with right this minute. I once read a comment where someone said Matthew doesn’t write, that he just types. Don’t I wish I could type like this then. Please understand that this is not an indictment on how you spend your time or how much time you spend doing what you do. It is about follow up. Doing asana, meditating, and buying organic fair trade while doing little else is like getting all dressed up to stay in your bedroom. Nothing wrong with that, but sometimes you just have to go outside.
By two things: First, teacher told me yesterday that we would start working on the next step in my path towards Sirsasana. How weird that I overslept and did not go to the shala today. Hmmmm. overslept because I got riled up about the video below before bed. Not the video but the blowback online from people who are outraged about her daring to feel uncomfortable and complain about the cat calls. Specially about the “coded” ones like God bless You which really means god bless your tits and that fine ass. Or Smile, which really means be grateful bitch that I am paying attention to your appearance.
This morning I post it on facebook and receive a comment from one of my young nieces who without an ounce of irony says that this happens to the woman on the video because she is not a savvy new yorker and stupidly walks without headphones and tunnel vision. She is seriously proud of having to use armor and attitude to earn the right to walk the streets with the same entitlement as if she owned her own penis.
Then I get a PM from a young nephew who feels wrongly accused and bunched up with the crowd of cat callers and compares them (the cat callers, that took me a minute to grasp) to the beggars who know that someone is going to drop a coin and these men just know some girl will eventually relent. WHAT. I had to disagree explaining that the manner displayed by these men is more like a demand, and yes some beggars are demanding and that is precisely why it is sort of scary. It was like don’t feed the pigeons which is a step away from you should really wear that burkha. This is a sweet 20 year old kid, and his cousin is a recent college grad excited about her city job, but this is what the culture has told them to internalize. My head is on fire.
I did mention to my nephew why I might be “oversensitve” to this issue. When I was 17 in Medellin, I liked to sometimes go downtown using public transportation to shop or to meet friends for a movie or teatime. Always during the day and during office hours in the part of of the city full of nice stores and office buildings. If you have traveled abroad you know that in certain countries what you hear hurled at you is pretty filthy and intended to embarrass and make you cower. I got it on two fronts; One, I was a girl of means who was driven places instead of walking to them and they had access to me that they otherwise did not have and two, they could make me feel responsible for “arousing” them and making me feel I was the innapropiate one. I made the mistake of talking back one day to a boy much younger than I was. He in turn grabbed my breasts, slapped my face and called his friends who came and touched me everywhere. Two older men defended me but not without reprimanding me first for walking by myself. My parents reprimanded me as well for refusing to use the driver. So yeah, It could be that I am oversensitive. Or like my nephew said: That it’s terrible that this happened to me but this is different. Yeah.
This post is not about asana. No asana today because we celebrated Mag’s birthday last night and I still smell of all the Cabernet I drank. Yesterday I also planted all my tulip bulbs which is hard on the knees and on the lower back. I also decided sprinkle a thick coat of cayenne pepper over all the spots and the pots I planted bulbs in to discourage the squirrels. Now I am worried that I am going to blind a squirrel. Why would she have so much cayenne you ask? I live 10 minutes away from Pennzey’s spices, and It is cheaper to buy the big bags.
There is some disagreement on spelling and pronunciation, but absolutely none on definition or meaning. I found this on Facebook (No,really??) http://ashtangapictureproject.com/body-dysmophia-yoga-community/
I can tell you why it still is a thing. Because we still look at body parts like if we could purchase/shop/barter/work/ for them. When I say we, I really mean women. And as consumers of this meat market, we can stop shopping anytime. Really. Keep analyzing Kathy’s tush, and at Kino’s abs, while dreaming of Peg’s bicep’s, and Laruga’s legs (ALL THESE ARBITRARY STREAM OF THOUGHT BTW) and be confident that your dysmorphia will be well nourished. I know you look at David Robson’s, practice, and you check David Garrigue’s videos. DO not get me started on Matthew Sweeney. You look at their practice don’t you? Hehehe. You look at what their bodies can do, not what their bodies look like while doing it, right? Try looking at KIno and at Laruga with the same respect. Rant over.