With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

By on Jul 21, 2016 in The Unruly Ascetic

Here I am in Mysore and the birds are chirpin’ for some blog posts.  Everyone is dying to know all of the secret information Sharath confers on us during these elite and occult daily conferences.  As it turns out, he doesn’t want us spouting knowledge on the internets (who knew!?) so I’ll spare you the details.  Long story short: teach because you want to learn and be nice about it. In other news, I’ve been thinking and dialoguing (with authorized future Gurus as well as mama-shala acolytes who are admirably mature and dedicated despite the second class status some ashtanga jerks impose on them) on the topic of personal and collective responsibility as it applies with the Mysore community, in the larger community, and in terms of Authorizations. There is something of an epidemic in Mysore during the regular season, as I have noted before, students are making a habit of prioritizing...

Open Letter to the open ear.

By on Apr 25, 2016 in The Unruly Ascetic

You shouldn’t be hot headed unless you want to rock the boat. Mixing metaphors (or whatever), sue me. I have a friend who really inspires me in how chill he is.  I don’t mean he’s lazy or unmotivated.  He is an impressively successful artist and works his tattooed tail off.  He’s just steady by nature. When problems arise he keeps a level head and handles challenges reasonably and responsibly.  He’s not one to rock the boat and I respect anyone who can be diplomatic and altruistic enough to think that way. Some people are earth shakers.  Their blood runs hot and they cry foul and will capsize the whole damn ship to prove a point.  I respect these people too, particularly when they are willing to risk their own life or livelihood for the sake of justice.  People like this often vibrate at such a high frequency that they live slightly manic lives.  Largely I think this is a necessary...

Podcasting with Peg

By on Apr 22, 2016 in The Unruly Ascetic

Who likes listening to the sound of their own voice? I think I am one of only a few people who actually prefers my recorded voice to the one I hear between my ears. This podcast was really fun to record, mostly because Peg encourages me to ramble on until I get to my point and also to says what I think, no matter how undiplomatic or controversial. I can’t say whether I’m reasonable or outrageous. I always feel like I say obvious things and am a bit surprised and confused by the responses. Generally people have been very sweet and supportive in their contact following this, but certainly not everyone. There are a few lurkers on the internet that like to use anything I write or say as proof of my immaturity, frivolity, and lack of respect for the solemnity of the practice. Well, anyone who knows me in real life can probably tell you that if something requires austere...

What makes a model student?

By on Mar 10, 2016 in The Unruly Ascetic

Someone asked me a while back what makes a model student.  I provided an answer that got lost in the ether. I remember thinking that since it didn’t show up in the publication it was requested for, I must have been to harsh or dictatorial.  I can be unintentionally difficult or abrasive at times and assumed that was the case with this piece. The topic came up again recently and I was interested in touching base with the answer I gave a few months ago and I think it must have fallen through the cracks because I didn’t cringe and hate my big mouth when I read it. So here’s my answer: Oh Good Lord Ganesha. This question scares me just looking at it. The answer to this question will be intensely personal for any teacher who addresses it.  We are all human and as a result we have quirks and foibles that will annoy one person and endear another. I am sure that my answer...

Fear is the mind-killer.

By on Feb 27, 2016 in The Unruly Ascetic

“The only this we have to fear is fear itself.” -FDR Why is it that so many women are drawn to Ashtanga these days?  As a practice that has been historically and/or critically linked to the youthful masculine, why is that women are moving into the upper echelon of teachers and practitioners at a much steeper rate than men? Feminism? Women’s lib? The straightforward stubbornness that women can do everything men can do and sheer determination to prove it? Maybe we can make the gender-balance assertion for the general population, but not for the individual. I don’t think there are a lot of individual women who take up the practice for the sake of proving gender equality, just as women become doctors and lawyers and executives for the same reasons men do: it interests them. I don’t personally know any individual woman who will say directly that they began practice because they...

Social Media and the Wickedness of Minds

By on Dec 6, 2015 in The Unruly Ascetic

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