Thursday, December 30, 2010
Oh man, another jazz legend dead. I remember this cat growing up in New York with his Jazzmobile giving concerts in the area and in high schools. I do think he had something to do with the jazz revival in DC because of his association with the Kennedy Center. Rest in Jazz brother...
"Billy Taylor, one of the most versatile, influential and revered figures of the jazz world, who left his mark as a pianist, composer, educator and broadcaster and made Washington's Kennedy Center one of the nation's premier concert venues for jazz, died Dec. 28 at a hospital in New York. He was 89 and had a heart attack."
"Dr. Taylor, who grew up in the District and derived his early musical education from local teachers and from jazz shows at the Howard Theater, had a career that spanned nearly 70 years. He collaborated with almost every significant performer in jazz, from Duke Ellington and Charlie Parker to Wynton Marsalis, but he had an even rarer gift for explaining his music and drawing people to it."
From the Washington Post
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
It happened in a Saturday morning yoga class. Exhausted from preparations for the holidays, the yogi was looking forward to a yoga session. During a particular pose, the yogi closed his eyes, felt a calm awareness and was surprised to find he was perfectly aligned (at least in his mind). That had never happened before as he was a novice at yoga.
As he continued to hold the pose, the students around him smiled as they admired his perfect alignment. The teacher stopped teaching the class to study the pose and called other yogis into the studio to show it to them. As word spread, yogis from other studios gathered around to admire it also. All seemed to agree that they had never seen a pose done with such poise.
Those studying the pose suddenly felt themselves became more flexible. They also felt happier; more alive. Wrinkles disappeared; digestion improved; aches and pains were relieved while glass jaws, rope burns, paper cuts, blackheads, spring fever, homesickness, halitosis, corns, bunions, warts, the heebie-jeebies, shyness, unexplained weeping, in-grown toenails and gunshot wounds were all mysteriously cured.
As word of the pose passed from yogi to yogi, it became the number one discussion on yoga blogs and websites. Photos of the pose were scanned, faxed and emailed. It was made into posters and appeared on billboards. It was featured on the six o’clock news. The pose made the cover of Yoga Journal and the magazine renamed itself, “The Pose”, shortly thereafter. Famous yoga stars started making yoga videos, writing yoga books and offering yoga workshops about the pose. The pose began to be referred to as “The Pose”.
Novelists incorporated The Pose into the plots of their books. A famous author penned a pivotal work titled “The Perfect Pose” which went on to become the best selling novel of all time. The novel was made into a movie; the movie was adapted to a one act play; the play was made into a musical which gave way to a major opera called “La Pose”. This made the Italians very happy. Consequently, ancient yoga texts were rewritten to include The Pose. Yoga scholars discussed it in new commentaries on said ancient texts and new scholarly works were written about it.
The Pose enabled people to sleep peacefully through the night (and without snoring), charm cobras, leap buildings in a single bound, acquire untold wealth and speak fluent Sanskrit and Swahili. They also gained the ability to compose complex jazz melodies while walking in the park.
The Pose went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize for physics, a Heisman Trophy, an Oscar for best supporting actress and was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor by the President of the United States. A small pacific island nation changed its name to the Island of Pose, (Subsequently becoming the most prosperous nation on the face of the earth by offering workshops and conferences to teach The Pose to yogis around the world).
Endangered species began to reproduce rapidly, rescuing them from extinction. The lamb lay next to the lion and leprechauns were seen riding on unicorns. The sun always shined; the plants were always watered; the dog was always walked; the hole is the ozone was closed and global warming was stopped in it's tracks.
All creatures on the earth sang along to the Music of the Spheres; Gabriel blew his horn and the Sirens chanted Hallelujah! Energy became unlimited and non-polluting; the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse got off their horses to practice The Pose…and…
As the yogi opened his eyes and came out of the pose, he remarked to himself, “I sure wish I was better at this yoga stuff…”
Happy New Year! This is my hope that the future will always be merry and bright!!
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Alberto Giacometti. Dog. 1951 (cast 1957) MoMA
Flow is the yoga-hipster hangout that is overcrowded but surprisingly affordable. I stopped going here because of the cramped classrooms but they had a Yin class that I wanted to check out. I had to laugh to see that with only a few inches between mats, the teachers did a couple of asanas that impeded on the mat of the yogis next to me (earth to teacher, knock off any spread arm or leg poses in crowded classrooms). In any event, it did bring back a nostalgic glow since I had some history here (See the part about Flow Yoga).
The iconic narrow stairs of many yoga studios in DC.
Ha, ha...if only the classrooms was this, ahum, spacious...
Truth in advertising makes the classrooms more like this...but overall it was a fun class.
Monday, December 27, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the shala
No creatures were stirring, not even Dalai Lama.
The gongs were all hung by the Buddha with care,
In hopes that Patanjali soon would be there.
The yogis were nestled all snug on their mats,
While visions of bliss were dancing like brats.
And teacher in lulus, and I in my speedo (all natural, eco friendly, shade grown and totally organic),
Had just settled our breath for a long winter’s savasana.
When out of our consciousness there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my mat to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I floated like a guru,
Tore open the shutters and exclaimed WHAHOO!
For the moon on the breast looked like new-fallen karma
And gave the lustre of mid-day to an odd looking Krishna.
When, with my wondering ears, I heard wicked sitars
Played on a magic yoga mat by eight tiny yoga stars.
With a little old yogi, all smothered in ghee,
I knew in a moment it must be Pantajali.
More rapid than prana his students they came,
As he chanted, and called them each by name!
"Now John! now, Ramdev! now, Saul and Bikram!
On, Rainbeau! On, Baron! on, Tara and Kathryn!
To the top of the shala! to the top of the hall!
Now levitate! Levitate! Levitate all!"
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
What sounded like yogis aligning each little foot.
As I drew my head in, and was turning around,
When out from the Buddha he came with a bound.
He was all naked from his foot to his head,
And his body all tarnished with the ash of the dead.
A bundle of props he had flung on his back,
And he looked so complete, just opening his pack.
His eyes-focused on dristi! his gaze inwardly found
His forehead had a image, his face was dark brown!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the hair on his head so white as it grow.
The stump of some bhang he held tight in his teeth,
The smoke encircled his head like a mala beneath.
With face painted neat, he held a trident of gold
Munched on some Gogi berries and laughed ho, ho ho!
He was slim, calm and sexy, a righteous old sadhu,
As I laughed when I thought, I’m not even Hindu!
A wink from his third eye and help from his dearies,
He soon gave me lessons how to accomplish the Ashtanga 5th series.
He spoke not a word, but went straight through vinyassa,
And rang all the gongs, as he soon left mi casa.
And laying his finger aside of his third eye,
Into the Buddha he went as he said bye bye!
He sprang up on his mat, and to his stars he said Om,
And away they all flew heading for another yoga home.
But I heard him exclaim, as they flew out in asana,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-savasana!"
Sunday, December 19, 2010
A leaked memo from the executive editor of a leading yoga magazine shows how intense the competition has become to get new yogis to subscribe. It shows the several techniques that yoga magazines use to lure yogis in and retain their subscription. The editor is shown laying into his staff for—among other issues—trying to make it into a serious yoga publication.
Memo to all staff:
It has come to my attention that some of you are trying to make VOGA into a serious yoga magazine. I ask you all to remember our mission statement: “Sell yoga crap and bury Yoga Journal”. To stay competitive within the current climate of pop yoga magazines and yoga blogs, I insist that you adhere to the guidelines established though our research department regarding the American yoga market. Going forward all content will observe the following:
1. The use of the words sex and naked or associated words will be used in all titles regardless of article.
2. The use of sexually suggestive images will be used in all articles regardless of content.
3. Only slim white women will be depicted in the magazine doing yoga (others may be used in before and after photos in weight lose ads or pointing out what they will look like if they don’t buy our magazine).
4. Never make reference to old people, males or anyone of ethnic origin other than Caucasian nor use photos of said people doing yoga. This is why Yoga Journal is kicking our asana.
5. Post all sexually inappropriate images in black and white so if people hammer us for exploiting sex in our ads, we can claim it’s art (men will usually claim this anyway, but it’s the 85 % of women that we get our revenue from and need to keep happy).
6. Reference a celebrity that practices yoga at least twice per issue (there is an endless supply).
7. Create controversy (remember we are here to make $$$ and not to be experts on yoga) by making a statements of being in favor of:
a. The commercialization of yoga
b. Eating meat (and drinking wine). Smoking cigs or pot will also get a rise out of most yogis
c. High end yoga clothes (lululemon) and worthless yoga accessories (ie yoga sox)
d. Music in yoga class (hee hee, everyone has an opinion on this so it is worth its weight in letters to the editor)
e. Partner poses (there is always an abundance of anti-social yoga people who break out in a cold sweat when they hear the words, “Okay, pick a partner for the next pose”)
f. Yoga is a business and has no place in assuring teachers a living (or better still, suggest yoga teachers should not be paid and they should do it just for their love of yoga)
8. Always mention that we have the twice the ads and the slimmest yoga babes with half the yoga articles and half the words then Yoga Journal (They just want a fantasy about looking like the women on the cover and in the ads anyway). Remember we are going after the 12,000,000,000 new yoga newbies who want to buy all that yoga crap our advertisers are pushing.
9. If you are stuck for words or ideas for an article, just cut and paste a post from a yoga blog. They all copy each others ideas anyway so no one will be the wiser.
10. To get the yoga fundamentalists fired up, once every few months, post an article that claims:
a. Yoga is not spiritual
b. Yoga is not for Hindus
c. Yoga is a sport (or just for stretching or exercise)
d. Chanting sucks
e. In other months just claim the opposite so you have the ‘new-school’ yogis in a rage (as I’m sure I don’t have to remind you, the only bad publicity is no publicity)
11. For yoga tribal responses, always post one of the following to get the followers of a particular yoga school riled up and creating buzz by getting reposted to yoga blogs:
a. Hot yoga causes global warming
b. Copywriting yoga styles or routines is anti-yoga
c. Such and such school is not real yoga
d. You don’t need a bandana to practice yoga
12. Most importantly never really talk about Indian yoga (you know the kind they have in India) and for god sakes, don’t mention or use any Sanskrit. We don’t want to scare away our core customers.
Any staff member that ignores these guidelines will be assigned to the t-shirt packing division on the hot side of the room. Additionally, any staff member that I catch calling me a dick behind my back will also be assigned to the t-shirt packing division (yes I’m talking to you MadDawg).
Executive Editor and Publisher
Thursday, December 16, 2010
It's not too late to shop for those last minute Holiday gifts. This selection of unique yoga gifts from the GreatTranscendentalYoga SuperStore is sure to thrill your favorite yogi or enlightened being.
The MeditationYoga Clock
The MeditationYoga clock does nothing. It sits there and just is. With the perennial message, “Be here now,” the clock gently reminds you of what you are supposed to be doing during your meditation session instead of allowing you to simply think about how long you have been sitting there. As the MeditationYoga Clock has no moving parts, it is guaranteed for several lifetimes.
The ThermoChakra Thermometer
This innovative device allows you to check out your chakras to see what state they are in. Coupled with the handy Chakra Healing Guide, you can now balance your own chakras, saving your time and money that you previously paid to the local yoga studio. The ThermoChakra thermometer is available in mouth, underarm, and rectal versions.
The ChakraYoga Gems
No effort is required to receive this gem's power to counteract a weakened receptivity to planetary energies. Our electrical body via the chakras is stimulated or starved by our karmic disposition to planetary radiations, and we need sufficient amounts of planetary nutrition to function well. The ChakraYoga Gems emanate a similar harmonic frequency to the planets that can fulfill the mind and body's subtle electrical requirements, allowing the wearer to function like a truly enlightened yogi. Available in seven exciting chakra colors.
The AhimsaYoga Knives Collection
This full set of kitchen knives that don’t cut and cleavers that don’t chop will allow you to better live non-violently. Features exclusive DoNoHarm cutting surfaces that are rust free and maintains it's dull edges longer than most traditional kitchen knives.
The CrownChakraYoga Camera
This special multifunctional camera takes pictures of your soul, exposing your wants, desires, shortcomings, aspirations, and phony-baloney levels. Can also be used on your next vacation to record dear memories of dying oceans, environmentally stressed beach resorts, and evil incarnations of spirits masquerading as drunken college students.
The Yoga Partner
Never be without a yoga partner again. This blow-up, life-size yogi or yogini is the perfect yoga companion for your yoga practice. With its durable construction, it can be safely tucked inside your luggage or rolled around your yoga mat for easy transport to your next yoga class. The Yoga Partner is especially designed to lie in Corpse Pose.
The Rockum/Sockum Yogis Action Game
A great game for younger children to observe two yogi players doing Sun Salutations, watch them giggle with glee as the yogis start to wobble and bobble from exhaustion. The yogi who hasn’t fallen to the yoga mat is the winner in this interactive yoga action game.
The Light On/Light Off Yoga Lighter
A fave new addition to the GreatTranscendentalYoga Superstore, this lighter is shaped to resemble famous yoga stars glowing with inner light while sitting in Lotus. Perfect for lighting incense and candles at home or at your favorite yoga studio.
The Christmas Dashboard GiggleOn Ornament
This dashboard ornament has special trademarked OmVibes infused within and without to make your driving in the crazy holiday buying season a gleeful experience. Able to counteract all manners of road rage and inconsiderate driving behavior. Especially calming when installed prior to driving to dysfunctional family holiday gatherings.
(PS this is a personal decor fashioned by a yoga elf at the Giggle On blog and unfortunately is one of a kind and not for sale but couldn't resist including because it cracked me up :)
Monday, December 13, 2010
Rules: Each time the teacher says one of the words on your bingo card, place a mala bead on the spot. Once a line is completed, chant a spirited Om; you WON!
Complete set of cards to hand out to the entire class be purchased at the GreatTranscendtalYoga Super Store Perfect holiday gift for that special yogi.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
And here are some secrets from Y Is For Yogini minus the graphics.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Thursday, December 09, 2010
I don't usually read Buddhist blogs because, quite frankly, they are too heady for me. Too many are bogged down in mental gymnastics and historical hair-splitting which is kind of boring for a non-Buddhist such as myself (It’s kind of funny that for a practice that is in essence so simple, meditation, generates so much chatter. Seems the yoga world has been getting this way in the last couple of years). Recently I came across a Buddhist blog that cracked me up and was definitely in the YogaDawg camp with its sense of humor. It actually explains things very well.
WARNING: If you in the least bit sensitive to mocking or lack a sense of humor in discussing Buddhism, don't click on the link below. You have been warned.
This particular post explains the dangers of meditation which I experienced in my yoga practice with coming face to face with stuff about myself that I rather not have.
By the way, there is another blog that I have always read because it more like the YogaDork of the Buddhist blog space. Worst Horse
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
Sunday, December 05, 2010
Saturday, December 04, 2010
Alberto Giacometti. Dog. 1951 (cast 1957) MoMA
This is Circle Yoga which had a gentle yoga class which I thought I would check out. Anne Cushman (of Enlightenment for Idiots fame) did a couple of workshops here but I never got to take one.
Their website Circle Yoga
And if you happen to see a YogaDawg on a bright orange yoga rug, tap him on his dristi and say hi…he doesn't bite.