The sliding scale

By on Feb 11, 2013 in The Unruly Ascetic, Uncategorized

On a scale from ascetic to heroin addict, some consider me an aspiring yogi. The “unruly” is the important part of my label as an ascetic and as Sharath would remind me, I’m not a big yogi.  Most people consider my life as a traveling student of ashtanga yoga to be pretty disciplined, practicing in the wee hours (debatable middle of the night), ethical vegetarianism, and a steady, if not absolute avoidance of seriously mood altering substances (coffee doesn’t count, no coffee: no prana).  To some, my self administered discipline is borderline excessive.  But to others, I’m a far cry from the potential asceticism life offers. The productive window of behavior on that scale of discipline to chaos is a challenge to gauge.  It is in this challenge, this constant daily struggle to determine what actions fuel my growth and which ones box me...

Welcome, Madame.

By on Dec 22, 2012 in The Unruly Ascetic, Uncategorized

This will be my first attempt at bogging on an iPad mini.  Thus far it is a success. I fear that I will have to abandon my fondness for emotional capitalization (or lack of capitalization) with the autocorrect that remains necessary as I get used to this tiny, touch sensitive key board.(I also fear that the inconvenience of accessing the parentheses will cause me to reduce the amount that I uses them, with debatable effect)INDIA!Yes, I have returned. I arrived a week or so ago to Mysore, eager to practice and see some much missed faces.  And when the most-missed face looked at me like a nutter and said “no, not possible” to my request to practice for one week, I promptly decided to abandon all the missed  faced and bugger off to Hampi for a bit of a preemptive holiday.As it turns out, Hampi is lovely.  Covered in cool rocks and hippie cafes, I am...

…but don’t get crazy.

By on Nov 21, 2012 in The Unruly Ascetic, Uncategorized

wait, I said what? what was that about starting new things and being inspired to make the most out of my last few weeks?  let’s not misunderstand, now. Yes, I am feeling inspired these days.  Yes, I am really diving headlong into some new(ish) activities and attitudes in the hopes of setting up a behavior pattern that I will carry with me when I leave this place and this daily structure. Yes, I am welcoming new ideas and giving them each a pretty thorough try (or at least a solid consideration). but these are activites.  these are hobbies or interests, or even ways of approaching free time (and sometimes not so free time).  these new(ish) things are energetic and attitudinal. or maybe they are as concrete as the world’s tiniest guitar. but they are dependent on me. and me alone. I am not, even remotely, interested in starting something new, in being...

on a scale from one to fun…

By on Nov 14, 2012 in The Unruly Ascetic, Uncategorized

It isn’t supposed to be fun. I have had kind of a lot of “making it fun” references to practice lately.  I find that for my friends and yoga peers, I am happy to encourage them to do what is necessary to “make practice fun.”  I generally like the old adage, “if you’re not having fun, then you’re doing it wrong.”  But I realized, during my practice today (which was not particularly fun), that I encourage fun for my friends.  I encourage fun for those struggling practitioners who are not “my” students. When I am faced with a fellow practitioner who is genuinely looking to me as a mentor, I never ask them if they are having fun.  I never encourage them to modify the practice or change their approach for the sake of fun.  Maybe I encourage change for realistic daily maintenance, or to be...

be cool.

By on Nov 9, 2012 in The Unruly Ascetic, Uncategorized

The crazy is trying to creep back in. One thing that’s hard about leaving for months at a time is that feeling that there is a lot to do. that sense of “maybe I’ll never be back!” that desire to squeeze in one last thing and to count down the opportunities to fit it in.and it all has potential to make me a little crazy.  As much as I want to just carry on, knowing that I won’t really remember or care if I got to do every little thing on my yearly America bucket list, things usually can’t help but get a little bit frantic. More than ever before, I am motivated toward being and doing and seeing in a more active way.  Rather than wanting to repeat beloved activities and have one last visit with old friends, I want to grab the last chance to do something new, to start a new habit, to build a new pattern. and all these new activities and...

try less hard. you do.

By on Nov 2, 2012 in The Unruly Ascetic, Uncategorized

PAAAAAAAAIN. is opening?  or sometimes it’s just pain.  this yoga business is hard and it keeps getting harder.  I was really enjoying those lovely few weeks where practice felt good, steady, consistent, managable.  and now it’s back to a whole slew of stuff I can’t do and weird phantom pains that I resign myself to. But it’s not so bad. Muscle soreness, even at its most intense, is not really pain in the problematic sense.  Maybe it’ll make you (me) want to be lazy or take an extra day off.  and maybe it will inspire you (me) to take Kino’s advice and practice anyway.  but differently.  to try a new approach.Believe it or not, even the ever baller Kino MacGregor says we don’t have to throw down every day.  Sometimes just going through practice, doing each pose once, for 5 breaths, and moving along...