You guys, I know there is funeral in Charleston today, and my president made me so proud that he was there representing us. But as I am solemn, I am also so darn HAPPY that we have had positive news for 2 days in a row. Racist symbols coming down, ACA is not repealed, and my gay family members, and my gay friends who truth be told I love more than my gay family members, have full rights. Happy rest day & Namaste.
The older you get the more you realize that honesty and sincerity are essential to mental health and clarity. If you see my Facebook page, you will notice that I am overly fascinated/obsessed/perturbed by the Rachel Dolezal story. Not to mention how surprised I am by the turns that the comments and opinions take on the matter. For instance, I can tell who does and does not interact with black women friends on social media who are weighing in on the matter. It is like two different planets out there. But back to Satya-truthfulness. If we want business practices and work in general to change, we have to start challenging the way communication takes place in that arena.
I subscribe to Danielle La Porte’s newsletter/blog thing. If you don’t know her, look her up and you will either love her or want to choke her with your bare hands. She sent a piece this morning entitled: The Risky Business Of Being Sincere in Business which I cannot share because her link is broken. Minus the very engaging personal examples she shares, here is the gist:
Nothing is more Biz Legit than the truth, so usually go with that,
.Sincerity is a form of power.
If we were all more human in our work communications, work would be more humane.
To bring it a little more toward the “yoga biz”, a teacher’s bio has red flags when I read that they “have studied with many masters” and “have travelled all over India” and are “inspired” (not took workshops or learned from) by well known established western teachers. Just tell me who taught you and why you think you can teach.
There is a dry board at the entrance of our shala where there is always an inspirational quote or passage from a yoga text or another book containing Dharma. Today’s quote was from the Gita highlighting action without concern for results, so I went in vowing to not fret about the end result of each asana and just do. Intentions got highjacked as the often do and I ended up noticing/listing/enumerating every single tick corresponding to every asana which I have accumulated through the years. Here in no particular order but definitely abridged and abbreviated:
-rock back and forth in chaturanga to find the base before lowering.
-reach up before extending my arm over in UPP A.
-walk my feet back in a bit after rising up from prasarita D so I won’t topple and I can walk myself back to the front of the mat.
– wipe snot and sweat from my nose before attempting Ardha Baddha P. (every day with out fail)
-widen my stance to accommodate my rear size in warrior poses.
-squeeze my knees together with my hands before reaching up to Utkatasana
-rearrange my belly fat so I can fit my heel and hopefully bind in Ardha Baddha PP.
-hold my left thigh so it does not go forward again in Janu B.
-holding my legs in the 3rd Navasana then let go again for the last two.
Too many to count from here to closing.
-having to look up at the ceiling first to get into Padmasana.
Awareness is the first step to change they say.
It seems that we start bawling “it’s not okay!” the moment we exit the womb, but fortunately some of us will bump into asana or some pointers like this one at one time or another.
I really feel bad for anyone who dropped serious cash on something like Anusara or Bikram and now has to erase that brand tattoo from their CV (and hopefully not from their body parts). I was confronted today with a post from my friend Claudia Azula Altucher where she calls out Kashtub Desikachar’s “discreet” effort to re-enter yoga academics. Interesting that I started a once a week chanting lesson with a teacher who is a student of Sonia Nelson who is a student of what the flyer says “The Desikachar Family”. I read now in the flyer that she recently returned from a two week intensive course at the Sannidihi Krishnamacharya Yoga Center. So here is the thing: It was an excellent class that I took on Monday. The person teaching me is a knowledgeable, experienced, and respected member of my local yoga community because she has earned it. However, I am very riled up by the Indian government’s choice to ban the Documentary India’s Daughter, and the thought of anybody being still okay with heading over to train at a center that is harboring a predator bugs me to no end. Do I have the right to call someone on where they choose to receive training? No. Absolutely not. I see a lot of online trolling in the yoga community disguised as activism and it is tone deaf and counterproductive. But taking a stand as women in this case is absolutely necessary. Claudia told Kashtub to stop using his grandfather’s good name to hide that he has lost his credentials/credibility to teach. And I am going to have to forgo this convenient well taught class because I realize that the recent training that the person teaching me received, is a type of condoning or ignoring an ethics breach that betrays us women. Sermon over. Okay no. Vedic Chanting, which is chanting knowledge of the highest order should have someone other than the predator who is going to give the 2015 training, promoting it and teaching it. Sermon Over.
So useful to read and re evaluate again what you think you already know. This started by wanting to refresh a little knowledge before traveling to India in October, but it has turned into listening to other smaller booklets, pamphlets, links and articles I have saved. I know I am not the only one who has found daily practice incredibly hard this winter. Repeating to myself you only have to do 3 As and 3 Bs has saved me from not practicing. Goodness knows what stories I would be telling you and myself for not practicing if I had to still get my ass to work outside the house in this weather. It is not just the cold and the bad driving conditions and the lack of sunlight that is throwing curve balls at me ( I don’t even know what that means. Trick balls? I never chased or caught balls well anyway). It is realizing that I am at the intersection where progress in asana is defined by the poses I get to keep instead of the poses I might be given in the future. You know how we all see ourselves as the same kid/teen/20 year old in our heads? I always thought if I loose weight, and never drink again, and take glucosamine, and amp up my pranayama and suck up my bandhas while I fold the laundry the impossible poses will be accessible to me. But no. I know there is a lady in Kentucky who started in her late 50s and received authorization in her 60’s. I am going to guess she was not talking about how Winstons and Kents tasted awful compared to Marlboro reds and Camel filters at age 12. I am not saying I cannot be like her because I did that. I cannot be like her because the samaskaras I have to work keep being those kinds to this day. I listed to Claudia interview Matthew Sweeney yesterday and he had an interesting take on access to Mula Bandha. He said resolving certain aspects related to appetite and other root chakra “issues” is a precondition to finding it. Makes sense to me. I also saw an FB post today on my feed where David Garrigues shuts down the fantasy that you surely one day drop back or lower yourself to chaturanga like what you see on youtube if you started at 45. I thanked him for making that realization available to me. I was glad when I asked myself if I wanted to continue practicing ashtanga if I was not going to make asana progress and I (mentally) shrugged and said sure. I now know for sure that standing on the mat makes what my cyber friend David Cain describes as “the sky has fallen a million times already” an occurrence instead of a disaster. He follows with the following advice: Being overwhelmed comes from a breakdown of your thoughts NOT the breakdown of your PRACTICE( okay he said your life). He finishes by saying “Things change pretty quickly when you start DOING things instead of thinking so much”. I’m also pretty sure that in my case it still means asana because he also mentions that “it is most tempting to not do things when you most need to do things.” So between re reading a post he wrote on Raptitude back in 2013 and the house recommendations from AY Ann Arbor’s Angela Jamison, I get to hang in there until spring!
…Is not something you can call me. Even though after thousands of years of evolution, my nervous system still cannot tell the difference between being torn apart by a saber toothed tiger instead of just visiting my parents for 72 hours, I continue to choose freeze instead of flee. I am making peace with this choice instead of being constantly disappointed by it. They say our identities are a result of a finely crafted cocktail of biology and culture. My bartenders raised me in a culture where the recipe was a loose variation of impress others but don’t make it look hard, and never change. It was so confusing that a promptly (before I turned 10 even) lost any desire or imperative to be anything in particular. I did not know the term fuck it then, but I was saying exactly that. These days I believe it is called surrender, and all of a sudden it is a good thing. I marvel at all these type A pals of mine, with which I get along with stupendously I might add, trying to ease up and coast, and I wish we could barter. I could use some type A and they could use some FTS and walk away. Calmly. Because that is the trick. You cannot be all hyper and guilty and over explainy about walking away. It is shudder for a sec, and then sit an listen to the judgements with blocking aids at first but later it really becomes equanimity, I promise. So how is this about yoga you might ask. Well in the case of yours truly here, the only way to practice and be friends with people who are mostly yoga teachers or should be, is being comfortable with not having or not being. Yesterday I had many maintenance related tasks to do in order to have an up to date and organized existence. I ditched it all to read, and later on make this:
It was only fun because I sincerely said FTS to chores, to following the convoluted geometric directions I found on line, and used markers so I would not have to clean up. Maybe not even remotely related, but some of you might want to read that Patty Smith interview on Medium. and this too, because it was what sort of got me going on about calmly performing FTS with sincerity and devotion.