Friday, November 30, 2012

Searing Savasana

Something happened in last night's class. Deep in a pigeon pose approached from a different angle, I was able to approach a pose that usually causes me strife by sinking into its layers, breathing into the depths of the muscles, finding tightness. At one point I saw the decorative molding of my Montreal home's front door, so very clearly; I saw the corner down the street, where Elmwood hits Wiseman. Corners, squares, hips. It was such depth even though I found myself with much internal chatter all through class, feeling places of strain and ache and pull more acutely and loudly than before.

And this morning, I woke up in a swirling cloud of energy, I could feel it in my abdomen, in my belly. Light, heat. It's a weird space to enter, uncomfortable, ugly, brambled. And I kept exploring, kept getting nowhere. Breathing into the energy as it surged. A cleaning?

And this evening's yoga class, almost immediately in a trusted space, I dropped into that mindspace of dreams, unfocused darting eyes, a quivering energy. It returned at the end of class in savasana, that pulsing energy, in my forehead, in my chest, in my belly. An energy that is there and existent but non-descript. Going deeper into a room with no space. Call it a searing savasana, call it whatever you want, I just know that the energy becomes fascinating, exploring a depth beyond the body but within it. Unleashing, exploring, this body and this mind are wondrous.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Just a Thought: Take Your Vitamins

Yesterday I forgot and felt a little off-kilter, until I realized why perhaps, I forgot my vitamins! (Or one could also blame the eclipsing full moon?). Amazing how in tune with the subtleties of my body and its shift I have become in this new lifestyle.

With the crossover to veganism, never has it been more important to take my vitamins every day. So important to have your nutritional bases covered.

Not much of a post, just a thought.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Big Guns

It took me by surprise. I was eating dinner with my roommate and we got to talking about our developing yoga practices and she started pointing out muscles that have been changing, and then she turned to me. Look at your muscles, and, for the first time in two or so weeks since I have really poured myself back into my asana practice, I took a look. And bang.

I don't usually post photos of my biceps, but then again, I've never been the guy with the big guns (don't worry I won't become a meathead). I've always been teetering on the edge of satisfied and remiss with regards to my body image, remaining committed to my own regime or non-regime or what have you. I never took to weight training as I thought it was unnatural; I've always believed that to be truly in shape I'd rely solely on my own body and its weight. I grew up eating pretty healthy and leading an active enough lifestyle, running in highschool before finding yoga in college; I've always been lean and slim.

So mid-cleanse at the beginning of this month, something just clicked. With a renewed dedication to founding health for my body, I clicked right back into my yoga practice which had lay fallow for quite a while. Finding a motivating local teacher was definitely another key factor in the equation.

And now, not focusing on the end goal of getting muscles but instead revved about the meditative aspect and the breath/space/strength awareness of the yogic practice in concert with a vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free and alcohol-free lifestyle, I find myself getting results I didn't think possible. BAM. Part of me is still a bit in awe of the transformation. Somehow body conception vs. the actual image of the body haven't always met up at the same point in my life. Regardless, I am definitely superbly in tune with my body more than ever before. And it shows. If it all feels good and this is what happens? I'll take it.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

108 Lessons in These Beads

I used to have a set of mala beads a few years ago. I lived in them, meditated with them, wore them to yoga, showered with them. Eventually through such excessive wear, the chain broke. I found them to be a grounding presence, rosewood beads linked together with red string, a quiet power.

So, finally, I've gotten a new set of beads, which, once again I am living in, unbeknownst to those around me. Somehow I feel more confident with them on - as a bracelet, as a necklace - I'm not quite sure why -- perhaps they bring me out of moments of nervousness and fear, to remind me that I am here, the chain continues, it moves, flexible with the flow of life. 

The funny thing about the mala is that it doesn't fit comfortably anywhere -- it doesn't wrap around my ankle, nor does it wrap around my wrist without a slight dangling chain. But somehow it is perfect that way. Nothing is perfect and nothing should be taken for granted. Awareness always, the beads are moving. And while they are loose and I stay alert to their positionality, these beads don't fall off easily -- thus the cultivation of a quiet faith in life's intrinsically balanced trajectory.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Phantom Vibrations

Do you ever get that tingling sensation in your thigh muscle? Y'know, as if you are getting a phone call? I've come to think that in this day and age, where mobile phones are vibrating in our pockets, our muscles are reacting to the localized sensations. Not sure if this good or bad, ridiculous or just plain commonplace, but, all in all, it is kinda funny. Muscles getting cosmic transmissions...

Friday, November 23, 2012

Adrift in Yoga: Man Leggings?

Half-way through yoga class yesterday, I got to thinking (uh oh, this is sounding a little too Sex & The City) as I looked around the room at all the ladies wearing leggings, doing their lunges. The token male, yet again, I wondered, what if a man wore leggings? Could a man wear leggings? Part of me feels that if you aren't a cyclist, a circus performer or a ballet dancer, you really shouldn't. And also if you aren't a model in some sort of French haute couture fashion show. But then again, who cares? I'm sure spandex-y shorts/leggings are good for flexibility and a man should just wear 'em if he wants to -- perhaps not full on leggings but some sort of shorter short, albeit not short shorts. But then again, everything works on the right person.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

a ripple is a wave

A beautiful piece that crossed my path a week or so ago. Beautifully organic, ornate, sensual and magical.
Jennifer Trask
'Umi' Wall piece
17th/18th/19th century frame fragments, antler, bone (various), graphite slab, 22K and 23.75K green and rose gold leaf, and resin

 Baroque splendor reigns in Jennifer Trask’s unique wall pieces, a combination of her fascination with organic materials such as bone and her fondness for antique found objects. Mimicking the most regal of mirrors, 'Umi', a polished graphite slice, pierced with an antler, is set in seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth-century gold-leafed frame fragments. Evocative of its name ('Umi' means wave in Japanese) the highly stylized leaf forms on the frame resemble waves. Trask drew her inspiration from the water imagery of Hokusai and the contemporary seascapes of Sugimoto.

 Trask’s received her MFA from the prestigious Metalsmithing program at SUNY New Paltz. Her work is part of the collections of the Museum of Arts and Design, NY, Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery, Washington, DC, and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Texas. In 2011 she was named Fellow in Sculpture/Crafts by the New York Foundation in the Arts.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Putting the ass in yoga class

Pardon me for being frank or rude (but I call it being open and honest). After a particular long day of yoga on Sunday, I have never felt my glutes as much as I do now, well, to be fair it is more around my hips, and these hips don't lie! With all the warriors and lunges, pigeons and horse stances, the posterior on any yogi gets quite a bit of attention (both in and outside of class-- and hence the title of this post). I've always known that I have tight hips (full pigeon or cow face pose always being out of reach), but never more so than yesterday and today. The hips seem to be the central axis of most yoga sequences (well, we all knew yoga classes were hip-py...). I found myself wondering why there weren't poses that really pop into those hips and offer a counterbalance to the elongated form. So in an effort for release, I've invented two poses: skiier's pose (where I pretended to be swishing down the slopes, leaning out into each hip with legs parallel & together) and an adapted hero's pose (where I place my hips between my heels so that moving from side to side gets right into the muscular hips). Feeling such a stretch after a rigorous class may just be part of the process of shifting my practice, my consciousness fully aware of parts of my body and trying to streamline the flow. These hips are just being honest, y'know?

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Deeper

The deeper I go in my yoga practice, the more flexible I become. Yet, the more flexible I become, the more I need to keep track of my joints, making sure my shoulders don't go too far. The gift of depth, I have discovered isn't rewarded by an easy ride, a pass go and collect $200, but renewed and extended awareness. This was a realization I made a while ago, the fact that the path doesn't get any easier, just more subtle, delicate and attentive. Awareness of self, of body, is a presence that can happen ALL the time. No sit back and relax. But that doesn't mean that awareness is a chore; although it may seem tiring at first, it really is a wonder. I have discovered that my body is an incredibly responsive being in its own right. Attention, insight, mindfulness can tap into amazing energy.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Re-collect: Spannocchia

It may have been 6 years ago, but I still remember going to Spannocchia, an agricultural estate in Tuscany to volunteer for a stretch of time. I remember my first day, bailing hay and working hard in the field, true sweat, true work. And my strongest memory would have to have been the shower I took that first day. Never in my life have I needed a shower so badly and never has it felt so great to be clean and refreshed as that first day. Above a view, albeit blurred, that I remember of the main house where I stayed with my parents. Ah Toscana, memorie...