Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Good Necklace

I am tired of posting about my ailments! We may come back to them, we may not (and won't everyone be relieved if we don't?)

To enliven things around here, I have an interesting post originally published at Textiles and Bicycles, by the lovely Monica Bansal. She is a knitter, sewer, Iyengar yoga practitioner, and really passionate about doing what's right in the world. At some point, don't we as the yoga community (and indeed as humans) all need to think more about our influence on the world?

This is what Monica says in the intro to her blog:

Here I share my projects, thoughts, and rants on two of my greatest interests: art & craft and urbanism. Both are intertwined by underlying principles of environmentalism and respect for life–in all forms.

I knit and sew because it’s amazing. It’s fulfilling. It makes me a part of the group of people I respect the most: the artisan, the maker of the necessary.

I ride my bicycle everywhere because it’s fast, healthy, and it hurts no one (except possible me) by doing so.

I feel really strongly about these two aspects of my life because they carry with them ideas that have the potential to transform our culture with a real ethical shift: buy less and make more, drive less and bike (or walk) more, waste less and share more, sit less and move more, and this could go on (and will)….

I enjoy the rigour of her thinking and she gave me permission to share this with you:

I like the idea of seeing something in a catalogue and figuring out how to make it instead of buying the thing, which in this case is almost definitely made in China. The China thing is even more important to me these days as the Chinese government trashes the Dalai Lama. It seems shocking that this would be an advisable political move for them considering the worldwide, deserved adoration for him, but apparently invoking the strong nationalist identity of the Chinese is working among the domestic populace and they do in fact seem to agree with the government. That a group of people can be condemned for peaceful protest in the face of persistent human rights abuses against them is something I simply cannot understand.

Unfortunately as a normal American without much political power my identity is little more than consumer, so the power of the purse will be my vehicle for expressing myself.

I have never really made a “nice” necklace so this kind of proves it’s more possible for most (if not all) of us to substitute our ready-made purchases with home- and handmade stuff (not to mention I saved more than $50). And I learned from a coworker the other day that fabrics sold in the US are almost always made in the US because of tariff laws, which do not apply to ready-made clothing. I haven’t checked this statement out, but it sounds like I’ll be sewing a lot more than I have been.

The necklace in question? See it here.

Edited: The China/Dalai Lama issue? IF you feel strongly, add your name to the growing list of objectors here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Today is OK

Change is scary. Big Change is Big Scary. I am very very tired right now, and I feel like a bad yogi. I am anything but calm and centered, and to add insult to...injury, I can't even really do asana since my back is in such a bad way. Sigh.

So I thought I would share words from those wiser than me today. This is from the lovely Stella at Shiny Yoga:

In my teacher training a few years back, my teacher shared with us a story about how another teacher she knew, who was a smoker. She told us about the struggle this teacher would have - espousing all healthiness and light and love to her students on the mat, but then she'd leave class and light up a cigarette and feel completely torn.

It brings up the question, how 'yogi' is 'yogi'? And truth be told, it's something I struggle with a lot - and I'm sure a lot of you do too. Case in point, I am currently on my first holiday in 2 years. Yes - 2 years! So of course I've got the flu as I'm run down, my depression has flared up as I've not been giving myself enough time and love, and I've had lots of injuries over the last 2 months. But I'm always sharing stories of rest and listening to your bodies when I'm leading a yoga class. So now - I'm a wee bit torn.

But I'm turning a new leaf and in the new year, my mantra is from the lovely and ever-inspiring Pema Chodron and it is to : Start Where You Are.

You can get bogged down in wishing your life was this way or another. You can look back at the end of the year and beat yourself up because your resolutions didn't occur. Or you can start where you are - take lessons from what you know, realise you did what you could, and dust off your battered heart, give it some love and begin again.

And now read this article from Be Three about swaha - so be it, or I offer it up. It's ok to be with the bad stuff, these wise people say - and the teachings do tell us that difficult feelings are not the cause of suffering, our aversion to them is. All the same, is it too much to ask that the difficult feelings go away for a while? Little trip to Hawai for them perhaps?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


The chiropractor has forbidden me to do anything except lie around with my legs raised and visit him, so I am flat on my back with laptop on lap. More on my injury and What I Have Learned at some future time, but for now, look what I found via YogaGumbo:

Humorous Pictures

I Duz Yoga Ta Relax

More at

Monday, March 17, 2008

Sore Back and a Someone

My body, mind and soul are not One at the moment. In fact, the derangement is so bad that I dropped my wallet in a shopping mall on Friday morning. Silly thing to do, especially in South Africa. As a result, I had to cancel all my appointments for the day, and rush back to the mall to see if I could find it (ha!) or failing that, cancel all my cards.

Do you know, an Anonymous Someone had found my wallet, and handed it to security. Untampered-with. In crime-ridden Johannesburg! Amazing. Thank you, Anonymous Someone. I wish I knew who you were, so I could thank you properly.

And my back hurts. Well, my sacro-iliac joint on the right side hurts, actually. Right about the same place as this elephant's muladhara (root) chakra:

Chakra 1 - Muladhara, originally uploaded by venenum..

Is this not an awesome picture? Anyway, I am off to the chiropractor tomorrow to be put to rights, but thought I would share with you what this article on has to say about root chakra deficiency (it's actually worth reading the whole article):

Circumstances that pull up our roots and cause a first chakra deficiency ... include traveling, relocation, feeling fearful, and big changes in our body, family, finances, and business. Some people, often those with busy minds and active imaginations, don't need special challenges to become deficient in this chakra; they feel ungrounded most of the time, living more in the head than in the body.

We experience deficiencies in this chakra as "survival crises." However mild or severe—whether you've been evicted, gone bankrupt, or just have the flu-these crises usually demand a lot of immediate attention. On the other hand, signs of excessiveness in the first chakra include greed, hoarding of possessions or money, or attempting to ground yourself by gaining a lot of excess weight.

Hmmm. Wonder why my back hurts? Good thing I know a little about how to go about correcting it. Yes, bring on the standing poses. And the standing balances: if you haven't already, check out the results of the balance pose poll here.

Monday, March 03, 2008

What's your favourite?

Ah, it seems there are some among us who like eagle pose (yes Shula, garudhasana!) The 'back breathers' among us,seem to have no problem compressing the front of their lungs, while those of use who only breathe into the front of our lungs, well, we like Other Poses more.

As the ever erudite Katnip says,
We can’t see the back of the body. Its harder to feel. Its like the dark side of the moon. Is it really there? From the symbolic perspective, its our shadow side. Kind of scary to breathe into the shadow side -huh?

Now I am really curious: since the March theme for WoYoPracMo is Grounding, standing balances seem rather appropriate. For me anyway. I know what my faves are, but what are yours?

To quote YogaMum:

For March, I invite you to think about the theme of "Grounding" and apply it to your yoga practice. In late winter, plants send down roots, to establish a deep foundation that will support blossoming and growth in the spring. We can do this kind of grounding in our yoga practices as well -- whether by concentrating on the rooting aspects of the physical asanas (working on the foundation of standing poses, for example) or by thinking about what we might need in our lives to "ground" and stabilize our practice. For myself, February was a bit of an unsettled month, and I look forward to spending some time reestablishing the roots of my practice.

I feel the same: this move to Melbourne has me feeling like the rug has been pulled out from under my feet. In a good way, but bumpy and unbalanced nonetheless.

I'm looking forward to the poll results - some ideas for my practice and teaching! As always, I love hearing what you think, most especially if you think differently to me: it reminds me why there are so many permutations of yoga - because everyone requires their own uniques solution!