Space

…The final frontier. Hahahaha old dork, sorry. I have ended up commenting on more than one site singing the praises of the Kon Mari method. Sometime in December almost every friend in my circle (local & cyber) simultaneously decided to check out this book:

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After finishing it round the first week of January, I still had not developed the nerve to do things exactly as she wanted me to, until now. I had to buy a new tank of gas just from making trips to the goodwill and to the dump. Mostly to the dump. I also realized that I had been used in the past as a dumping ground for well meaning friends and family, who once heard me say I loved pitchers, owls, images of Buddha Shakyamuni, or know that I practice yoga give me everything they find with with the OM symbol. Some of the stuff was in the category of “this is sterling silver/Limoges/100+ years old whatever, and I don’t want it! So I need you to keep it so I can feel okay about it” Let’s be mindful of what we give each other, lest it becomes a well intentioned burden! This book is longer than it needs to be, but you know what? As I was reading it I finally understood why the inhalation and exhalation/ creating sound obsession when doing asana. We are making room for the shape to take form!  If you practice in front of a teacher, they are holding space so you can in turn, create space within yourself to create the movement. Oh, and I wont lie, Marie is okay with taking to inanimate objects and she actually encourages it. I have been mortified since childhood thinking that I was being creepy.

Asana & Geometry

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.

Some Thank You Internet

Or rather thanks to the people who use the internet for good. More specifically, thanks to yogis who use the internet for good. Here are a few things that made a huge difference to my practice and therefore my days which is really the reason to have such a thing as a practice.

I know someone told me  the reason for having a lit candle in the room during practice, but I forget who and I forget why. None the less, Having one in front of you and focusing your attention on the flame, distracts you from the throbbing in your thumb which you almost sliced the top off cleaning the husband’s junk drawer where he kept an exacto knife. Who knew, throbbing thumb leads to a very meditative practice because you decided to focus your drishti on the flame of a candle. Tip: if you have long hair, please set such candle farther from your mat than you’d think. So thanks to the person who explained about fire in the room even if I forgot.

I forgot how long it has been since I get a regular good night’s sleep for many more than just one reason. One of those reasons though is noise. My beloved acquired the behavior of snoring loudly in the recent past, I live by route 106 which means every truck that comes into town has to pass by my bedroom window, and my house, which is 144 years old shakes every time the Dunkin Doughnuts truck or the Pain Quotidien truck chugs up the hill to replenish the treats. Well, I mentioned to the snoring exacto knife owner that Claudia Azula Altucher kept singing the praises of those horribly expensive Bose noise cancelling headphones, and I might succumb  out of desperation after reading that lack of sleep keeps you obese and obesity gives you cancer. I just got them delivered to my front door because I do not know anybody more generous that the exacto knife owner. You actually have to be careful around him when saying something is pretty, or nice. He just gets it for you. Thankfully he is not a good listener or we would be broke broke broke. SO thank you Claudia and Ray.

Finally, Thank you to  all the people that take the time to share what they are learning when they go on retreat or to a workshop/training. I know you are tired after a full day, so when for example Peg Mulqueen from Ashtanga Dispatch shares a clip of David Robson teaching Transitions (jumpback-jumpthroughs) on facebook, you suddenly realize how many weird ticks, complications, and obstacles you have tacked on to “your” method, and immediately try it his way and swhoosh! Off you go. Thanks Peg/Ashtanga Dispatch.

Uncovering Externalism

“I was, in short, what I’d call an externalist — a person who’ll exercise great care over what he puts into his body and never think about what he puts into his mind. Who will dwell at length on everything he can see, in order to distract himself from the fact that it’s everything he can’t see on which his well-being depends. Who will fill his head with so much junk that he can’t remember that wolfing down Buffalo wings is not the problem, but a symptom.”

Pico Iyer

I lifted this from the Sunday Review in the NYT . worth the entire read for those of us who judge the quality of our day entirely on the quality of the care we give our physical form.  I think he is plugging his book but whatever. I’ll take a look.

I also caught Yoko’s full page add reprinting an entry from July 2014 entitled Uncover -from her imaginepeace.com/archives/20557 site. It very gently examines the conceits of considering ourselves ones who discover vs. being ones who simply uncover what has always been there.

Just wanted to share that both pieces will influence the way in which I approach my practice after this moon day.

Also, I understand that the series called Black Mirror is ground breaking like the critics like to say. I however will say that I was able to watch only the first episode and do not know what to do with myself right now. I will never look at at youtube, twitter or social media in general in the same way as I did  before yesterday. I have left a comment/warning about the possible intensity of your reaction to this series in all  social media I partake off except instagram. Not sure why, since my husband warned me that I might be overwhelmed by it and I did not listen to him.

WOWL

Acronym for What Occurs When Learning! LOL (I crack myself up, sorry). I would pronounce it to rhyme with howl.

I used to teach reading to first graders. I am boldly going to say that the steps for learning what reading is for, are interchangeable with learning what yoga is for.

In the beginning you are perfect and capable and enough. You cannot yet read. You are still all those things but acquiring the skill of being able to read moves you from one situation to another. It is fair to say you are not the same. You have changed. If I want to get prosaic, I can say you have transcended ignorance on certain levels. And if you were illiterate as an adult, you can certainly use the word liberation to describe the experience.

Now that you can read symbols you use this to access information, to communicate, to change,  to grow,  to travel both literally and metaphorically. In other words, what you read and how much you read, transforms you. It changes you. More than once.

Now that you are a consistent reader, some reading is easy, some boring, some delightful. Other types of reading are difficult to understand, They may be emotionally draining or painful to read. But you don’t stop reading do you? Or, invent a new way of reading so it is not so hard to read the science books or Finnegan’s Wake. You do your best to understand what you choose to read. We select what we read like most of our actions, we need something and as our skills and comprehension grow, we enjoy finding it! And you not for one nanosecond regret having learned how to read.

 

Dreams

I’ve had very light practices (three As, two Bs, standing, and closing) since last Wednesday. Add some of the same today because we lollygagged in Portland yesterday and arrived home really late. What has been quite remarkable during this time, is that I have remembered an almost serial yoga dream that I seem to resume every night. The dream is a constantly interrupted practice at my regular shala (which of course in the dream looks nothing like the non-dream time shala) and I keep getting asked to move for one more to a hard to find room, or to answer the phone (?), or a new person is asking me a million questions, and last time it involved a bus ride to fetch some mats. When I return to my practice, each time, I am practically weightless each time I do a chaturanga or a jump back. I marvel at how it feels and am at times aware that it is a dream because of  how easy and powerful it feels. It is almost like discovering how to negotiate or rather collaborate with gravity,instead of opposing it. Of course whatever dream state discovery I have made has yet to travel into the waking state, but it is a vivid memory, which again reminds me of being a child and wondering if what happened in my pleasant dreams can be replicated.