Monday, August 31, 2009

French Toast, live from the French Concession

Well I've snuck onto Blogger despite the Chinese government's best efforts and now I realize I have nothing much to say. But, hi, anyway.
My attempts at teaching yoga in Shanghai have thus far been thwarted by some pretty serious sickness that kept me in bed or on the couch for at least two weeks with a high fever and gnarly cough. Gross. As is the way of the universe, the day that I reached the highest fever was the day I had scheduled to teach a trial class at a studio in Pudong. Alas, alas.

Much more of a 'scene' here in than in Beijing. More foreigners, more yoga studios, more Starbucks. Shanghai is a more economically developed city, and is way more Western. I am lucky here to have options with yoga studios, but even on the days when I've felt well enough to practice, I don't. Why is that?

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Crib Is Coming

I've been doing a few of Kira's online classes, in the comfort of my own home.  The dog lays his big head on the mat while I catapult over him from lunge into warrior 3 and back again.  

I'm so excited because now you can watch a lot of fantastic clips from the Ojai Yoga Crib online.  Now we can all enjoy inspiration from the Crib year-round.  The Crib has a way of making me want to live on the yoga mat 24/7.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Yogini as Muse

How can you not love this lovely song if you are a girl who does yoga?  "Dogs" by Damien Rice.

The lyrics:

She lives with an orange tree
The girl that does yoga
She picks the dead ones from the ground
When we come over

And she gives
I get
Without giving anything to me

Like a morning sun
Like a morning
Like a morning sun
Good good morning sun

The girl that does yoga

He lives in a little house
On the side of a little hill
Picks the litter from the ground
Litter little brother spills

He gives
I get
Without giving anything to me

And the dogs they run
And the dogs they
And the dogs they run
In the good good morning sun

Side of a little hill
The litter little brother spills
The side of a little hill

Oh and she's always dressed in white
She's like an angel and she burns my eyes
Oh and she turns she pulls a smile
We drive her round and she drives us wild
Oh and she moves like a little girl
I become a child and she moves my world
And she gets splashed in pain and turns away and leaves me standing

She lives with an orange tree
The girl that does yoga
Got a wolf to keep her warm
When he comes over

She gives
He gets
Without giving anything to see

And the day ends
And the day it
And the day ends
And there's no need for me

The girls that does yoga
When we come over
The girls that does yoga

Friday, August 14, 2009

Music After Meditation

You end up looking at your feet a lot when you do yoga so they might as well be as gorgeous as possible (which is difficult for my summer-weary, chaco-sportin' toes).  Oh, and that's my hand and foot in half-moon (ardha chandrasana) with their new "dress to empress" coat of paint.

I sat for a long time.  I think sitting is what was missing from my practice yesterday.  I get so addicted to listening to my music that I can't turn it off.  Yesterday I was listening to Radiohead's concert at the Santa Barbara Bowl from last fall and it wasn't very easy to really focus on my practice.  Today I was more disciplined about shutting off the music, and as soon as it got quiet, I got quiet (relatively).  From now on, no music until after meditation!  Just like no dessert until after dinner (not that I follow that rule either).  

I like a very simple sitting practice.  I was taught to meditate at a zen center, and the instructions were simple.  Count your breath.  When you get to 10, start over.  I can never forget that, and I never get stressed trying to do it 'right.'  

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Savasana and Cuddling

I should have known better than to state how strong my practice was getting.  It changes too much.  Today I could barely do anything.  I kept changing my pace and approach because I didn't know what I wanted.  I thought maybe I could force myself into a fast vinyasa type sequence, but it was impossible today.  I got lightheaded then I kept yawning.  There's also a weird shoulder thing that takes lots of creativity to get to.  Ended up on floor a lot.  

Having the dog around makes me feel better about a lazy practice.  He watches me warily out of the corner of his eye while I do my more active practice but as soon as I get into savasana he trots over and lays next to me.  All he wants to do is either savasana or cuddle.  Preferably both at the same time.  So we did.  For him.  

Above: Benny checking on me before going into his savasana.

Above: Yoga first, then dinner!  Benny presses on alone long after I've returned to the physical realm.  

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Leaving my lazy ways behind

I'm embracing the vinyasa.  It helps realign and unkink my whole body between poses, and it keeps my practice a little more challenging.  My tendency towards yoga laziness (read: yin) has been replaced with a slightly faster-moving practice that burns away everything I don't need--all that worry, frustration, and anxiety stuff.  The sanskrit for the burning off of these feelings is tejas, from what I understand.  

Don't be too impressed: my chosen version of the vinyasa is a push-up with my knees down, cobra instead of upward-facing dog, and then I don't lower down after cobra, saving myself some muscular effort when I then push back into downward-facing dog.  

I'm still proud.  And it is nice to just keep moving...anytime there's less room for thinking and more reason for the breath and body to connect, that's a good thing.

Monday, August 10, 2009


I'm still practicing.  There's my mat--proof that space for yoga can be found anywhere.