Wednesday, November 28, 2007

No Obligation

I am sure you have all noticed: I am having trouble keeping up with my blog reading (and commenting!), never mind regular posting. Life is getting in the way - recent drama aside, it is the birthday/party season, so life is a social whirl, and on top of that I am busily knitting gifts for Christmas.

I declare myself a member:

I have a whole bunch of cool posts planned - some Q&A's with great ladies and everything. I just don't have the energy to get it all formatted and posted right now. I'll be back. Y'know, when I am back.

In the meantime, hope you all have wonderful holidays, festive seasons, down time, and yoga of course.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Learning to Pray

prayer, originally uploaded by kimxtom.

My family and friends have been subject to basically the full gamut of unfortunate events lately: sickness, death, bereavement, financial penury, relationship troubles, and, probably the worst, two terrible accidents in which children were badly hurt.

In the midst of this chaos, my head spinning, I wonder what I can do to help. Apart from some moral support, just about all I can do is pray. And I do that every morning by dedicating my yoga practice to the one who needs it most, and through the day by dedicating my teaching to the one who needs it most. The list is long right now. Todays recipient is my friend's four month old daughter, who was bitten by a dog in the windpipe and rushed to ICU last night. It happened, from what I can gather, in the midst of her six month old cousin's christening celebration. I think my efforts must be paying off, because she was taken off the ventilator this morning, and is looking much better. Well, my efforts and those of the many others who prayed for her through the night and into the morning.

It is amazing how different a yoga practice feels when it is for one who needs, not just a way to stretch out the kinks in your muscles - if you know someone in need of a little help, maybe you could dedicate your practice to them, or, if you have done this in the past, I would love to hear your stories!

I have read about this same practice on some knit blogs - except with knitting - and totally off the topic, I plan to post a list of my favourites for your reading enjoyment. Be patient, all is coming!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Tag, I'm it!

So I have been tagged by Christine - thanks for finding me, Christine!

Tag rules are:
  • Link to the person that tagged you, and post the rules on your blog.
  • Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself.
  • Tag 7 random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs.
  • Let each person know that they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
OK, as usual I am the dead zone girl for tags etc, so I'm gonna ask that if you want to participate, take yourself as tagged - and send me a link!

Now: 7 Random and/or Weird Facts About Me:

Trikonasana parivrtti var

  1. My thumbs are a truly strange shape, yet I have never had an issue with them. My nose is normal, yet I spent my teens thinking it was unsightly. Go figure.
  2. I really, really hate rock music involving screaming guitars. I'll take Johnny Cash any day.
  3. I love early summer in Johannesburg, because of the flowering Jacarandas and Bougainvilleas.
  4. I only discovered what peonies were last week - bought them because they were pretty, and found out their name from a client afterwards.
  5. I call SUV's and MPV's and all those big-ass cars stupid-mobiles. Not politically correct, but then neither are those gas guzzling resource chewers.
  6. As a teenager, I not only dressed super-sluttily (retrospective shudder) but also had five body piercings. I still think the piercings were cool, but would never repeat the clothes. I think I might re-pierce my nose...
  7. If I had been completely honest, I would have studied linguistics at university instead of business.

Hello and Goodbye

It was my hubby's birthday on Saturday, and we had a (pizza) party to celebrate. It was a bittersweet day though, because my aunt had died that morning. So we were celebrating the continuation of one life and mourning the end of another.

Ironically, today was my mom in law's birthday and also my aunt's funeral. So I was once again celebrating the continuation of one life and mourning the end of another. I watched my cousins, only a little older than me, who are now without their mother, and I wondered, what if?

I am so grateful my parents are still with me, and I am so grateful for all those whom I love and who love me. I hope I can remember this all the time, not just on a day like today.

Au revoir, Marion. God keep you, and may the next time be easier.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Yoga Legere

That's (probably bad) French for Yoga Light. By which I mean the lighter side, rather than 'Lite' like less serious, or sugar-free or something. It's been a heavy week for me, and I have been glad of something light. And sweet.

I am, in fact, referring to Hip Tranquil Chick by Kimberly Wilson. This is one yoga book that appeals to me because it gets the basic concepts across without being preachy, and the tone is light, fun, not at all the usual rather heavy textbook stuff I tend towards. It is sometimes such a relief not to have to take things sooooo seriously. Plus there are quick, simple practice sequences - so nice to do when you want to practice at home but don't know what to do. Yes, I have those days too. Don't you?

If you are in SA, your best bets are Loot or Kalahari, regular bookstores don't seem to have it - I tried several.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Q & A with Kimberly Palmer

I first started reading Kim's blog, Good Girl, after she did a guest post over at Hip Tranquil Chick, quite a while ago now. She has since moved on to Creating Ms Perfect, and, from what I can tell, she's doing a pretty good job. I love reading her blog because she explores what it means to be a woman, in the context of our day-to-day lives; how we relate to our husbands and parents, how we feel about careers, and being happy. To this end, she is delving into the wonderful world of self-help books. We did a Q & A, so you can all get to know her a bit better before visiting her fabulous blog!

Why did you start following women's self-help books?

I first became fascinated with women's advice books about 10 years ago, when I found a marriage manual in my grandmother's closet in Bath, England. It was incredible -- it advised wives to always look good for their husbands and to make sure not to share too much "intimacy" or you might tire each other out. Some parts were so different from the advice we get today, but then others sounded so familiar. Then, when I got married, I realized I could use some old-fashioned advice, not just for figuring out marriage stuff, but also for deciding how I was going to feel like I was contributing to the world, and how to be happy -- so that's how "Creating Ms. Perfect" got started. It is basically my quest to figure out what kind of wife and person I want to be with the help of women's advice books.

What's your favorite advice so far?
The most enlightening thing so far has been realizing that's it's okay to embrace cooking and cleaning. I've always avoided those two things because I was raised to be a feminist, and I am, but I realized it's possible to be both a feminist and a lover of the domestic arts.

Which advice did you hate?
I really do not enjoy most of the beauty advice out there. I am a flats-wearing, make-up-avoiding kind of girl. The idea of getting regular manicures, waxes, and spray-on tans makes me cringe.

What does your husband think of you following the marriage advice?
At first, he hated it. Well, he hated the idea of me blogging about it, and of people possibly thinking he wanted me to be a traditional type wife. But then he realized I was having fun with it. And he doesn't mind the occasional well-cooked dinner.

What about your yoga practice? How does it tie in with the advice you have been reading?
Lately, I've been focusing on books on finding meaning in life and identifying your passion. One of the key messages is that it's essential to have quiet time each day to make sure you're in touch with yourself, and in touch with how you're interacting with the world. This is where yoga comes in for me. I practice almost every day -- on busy days only about 15 minutes, but still, even a few sun salutations or child's poses mixed with other restorative positions (my favorite is legs-up-the-wall pose before bed) help me to quiet my mind. It's not that I have any huge revelations during this time, it's just that it somehow clears my head and let's me feel calm and open to whatever is happening in my life.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Zombie Yoga

I am afraid I seem to be feeling silly. Blame this on my husband, who found it!

If you can't view the video, check it out at Boing Boing (because I have NO IDEA how to fix what's broken!)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Shoulderstand Part 2

Some cool pics - thanks, you fabulous Flickr posters:

straighten up, originally uploaded by *trigger hippie*.

21 february 07, originally uploaded by 2achel.

And I know this isn't a real post, but I thought those of you who haven't read the comments from the first shoulderstand post might be interested in some of them - I certainly was:

Karen Beth said...

My arms are not strong enough to do shoulderstand (although I wish they were!) and my teacher never pushed me to do it. I tried it anyway once and also made my neck sore.

It is a student's responsibility also to know their limitations. Any teacher who insists and insists upon them doing what they know they can't isn't a good teacher.

People should listen to their bodies and teachers should respect and know that and never push.


Karen Beth :)

Linda (Sama) said...

"This means I have been remiss in my teacherly duties"

not necessarily, nadine. more likely your students don't "have the bones" to do shoulderstand comfortably. as Paul Grilley says, "yoga is all in the bones."

when I train with him and he wants to show examples of the "winners and losers" (and you have to know him to know that he really doesn't mean you're a loser!) we line up for certain poses and he looks at our bone structure. someone with "winner" bones can do a pose easily, the "losers" can't. the angle of the neck determines who can do a shoulderstand comfortably.

for shoulderstand, he has us drop our chins to our upper chest. now take a ruler or stick, place it on the back of your student's neck going up the back of the head and look at the angle. less of an angle (i.e., the more upright the stick is) the more uncomfortable; more of an angle (in other words, the top of the stick is lower), the more comfortable the student will be in shoulderstand, neck-wise.

and if someone never does shoulderstand, what's the big deal? we're so attached to our bodies, to the "forms" that we are "supposed" to do. why?

Linda (Sama) said...

"The catch is that after class, Mary is a judgemental and mean person."

sounds like those 30 years of yoga study really hasn't done much at all...have they?

all the technical knowledge doesn't mean anything if it doesn't evolve the heart.

Total Health Yoga - Kris said...

I can completly relate to your concerns and questions -- is it appropriate to even introduce certain poses? The issue I find is in most classes there is a wide range of abilities. I don't introduce shoulderstand, handstand, headstand, or hand balances in a beginning class, because even if someone is flexible and strong it's the "awareness" that I stress when starting Yoga (and always). However, in one of my classes that's been going on for a while, we do shoulderstand sometimes--because their are folks really ready for it. In that same class there are folks really not ready. Ah, the dilema! I tell them what to look for (such as the Paul Grilley suggestion for the neck angle) to be sure they are ready. However, I do not play the parent. I literally say, "I'm not going to make you do or not do anything. If you want my recommendation, I will offer it, but I'm not going to make you come down." (I've only insisted once that a woman not go up--she has major neck issues. Regardless she says she does it all the time at home....)
This might not be the best approach, but it's the one I've taken to. Point is, I want to offer more challenging poses to people that can really benefit from them. At the same time, I offer info and guidance. But in the end, people will do what they want. "You can lead the horse to water, but you can't make them drink it." You offered alternatives (legs on wall), but you can't make someone not take it. Perhaps allowing each student to back off (and maybe bruise the ego a bit) 'on their own' is a lesson in and of itself.
Hope I'm not rambling too much....