Originally posted on Confessions of a Hawaiian Princess: One Woman's Journey to Greater Health:
This Wednesday will mark the nine month anniversary of the day I started Bikram. Nine months usually signifies the birth of a some thing. In my case, in this case it’s the realization that I’m capable of making the choice, of taking action to create change and work toward the body I want to have.
I sat down last night to write in my journal thoughts I have about my body in this moment, in this now. I’m tired of feeling my stomach resting on my thighs when I sit down. Mind you it used to be worse when I was heavier, but still…..it’s a feeling I don’t like. I’ve written a bit lately on my facebook page about taking action to change that, but I woke up this morning with the idea that I’d detail my efforts.
By actively and consciously thinking about the movements and efforts I’m undergoing…
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Originally posted on Your Style Journey:
Last Night’s Grammy Awards were pretty great, but the red carpet was even better!!!! I loved so many of the looks and have chosen my top picks to share with you today! From whimsical white to encrusted black, these gowns were my FAV!!!!!
Beyonce in white Michael Costello.
Taylor Swift in Sparkling Gucci.
Kelly Osbourne in Black Badgley Mischka.
Iggy Azalea in sleeveless Elie Saab.
The STAR of this post is Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, without hyperbole, one of the best things I’ve ever read in my life. I’ll do a review of it soon, but I am still swimming in it.
10. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
11. Finding More on the Mat by Michelle Berman
12. Brain Dead In The Burbs And Cooking Your Way Back To Sanity: A Memoir by Laura Edwards Ray
13. When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka
I’ve almost finished Anna Karenina, but after finishing The Goldfinch, have this huge block. What should I read next??
Originally posted on Ashtanga and Other Things - Paul Gold's Blog:
I am very pleased that my previous post, The Despairing Ashtangi, was so well received. I appreciate everyone’s feedback and am glad that people found the post inspiring and supportive. The prevailing theme of the comments was “I’ve sure been there.”
A quick recap if you’re just joining the discussion…
In the practice of Ashtanga Yoga, we have to proceed through series of growth spurts and plateaux. We naturally improve up to a point and then appear to stall. And recall my mention of David Foster Wallace, referring to competitive tennis in his 1996 novel, Infinite Jest. He said, “the only way to get off the plateaus (sic) and climb to the next [level]… is with a whole lot of… repetitive practice and patience and hanging in there.”
Now what becomes of the Ashtangis who are either unwilling or unable to surrender and hang in there? What…
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So here we are. Heavy in the yoga books, but also deep into some seriously great literature. The Adventures of Kavalier & Clay was a stand out for me and one of the best things I have read in ages.
4. This Little Piggy Went to the Liquor Store by AK Turner
5. Mega Yoga by Megan Garcia
6. Ashtanga Yoga: Stories from Beyond the Mat by Jason Stein
7. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
8. The Sister Season by Jennifer Scott
9. Homebody Yoga by Jay Fields
Originally posted on Ashtanga and Other Things - Paul Gold's Blog:
Ashtanga Yoga is a system of increasingly challenging sequences of asanas that are developed and mastered over time through practice. As in any endeavour that is a slow process of growth towards mastery, whether it’s Ashtanga Yoga, running a marathon or becoming fluent in Mandarin (to name a couple of non-yoga examples), we have to proceed through series of growth spurts and plateaux. We naturally improve up to a point and then appear to stall.
To quote a literary hero of mine, David Foster Wallace, referring to competitive tennis in his 1996 novel, Infinite Jest, “the only way to get off the plateaus (sic) and climb to the next [level]… is with a whole lot of… repetitive practice and patience and hanging in there.” (references are tricky as I’m quoting from my iBook copy. With adjustable fonts and sizes, page references are variable and therefore meaningless.)
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For seven of the last eight years, I’ve done a reading challenge on Goodreads.com (last year I skipped because I was just too busy with work). In general, my goal has been some version of reading about 100 books a year (including audio). Some years I’ve had categories, some years I’ve had just a general goal, but this year I’m going for 150. I’ve picked 150 for 2 reasons: (1) my friend Elizabeth read 150 last year and I’m super competitive about such things with my brilliant gal pals; (2) I’m reading a ton of yoga books, memoirs, and food books, all of which I read quickly, and (3) because there are too many books I want to read before I die to remain content to just go whilly-nilly. So here’s to 150 books in 2014 and what I’ve read so far.
1. Forty Days of Yoga
2. In Defense of Food
3. Friday Night Knitting Club
I’m reading three books now, so let’s see where we are on Friday!
Time. Always time.
Thoughts: Breaking out of the mold of having to practice at a certain time – first thing in the morning, immediately after work, in class, shows that I can free up time in different ways, practice in different places – the park, my empty office, my living room, the hall, a guest room. I struggle with a lunch practice, but it can just mean I practice outside in the park or that I do a silent meditative mantra practice in my office. I can even read and blog about
I’m reading Forty Days of Yoga: Breaking Down the Barrier to a Home Practice, which is not groundbreaking but certainly giving me ideas that challenge my notions of a practice!
For the last few days, days 3 and 4, I have focused on different parts of the practice, including diet, incorporating more Ayurvedic methods into my morning routine, having conversations with my teachers, and teachers I admire, such as the incredible Christina Sell (her book really reformed my body image issues, and researching prep poses for things I am working on, such as bakasana or lotus or Upavishta Konasana. Of course I’m still on my mat, doing strap work and long, long muscle holds to build strength and flexibility.
Interestingly, today I just didn’t feel like Ashtanga, but have had a very deep hip and hamstrings practice, using Christina Sell’s bound half lotus with my stretchy strap.
I think the biggest barrier is mental rigidity. The practice doesn’t always have to look or feel a certain way. And for those of us not blessed with natural flexibility, having the mental flexibility to change the practice to stay on the mat when something doesn’t work.
Chanting, and exploring the history of Hindu deities and lore has provided additional inspiration. This card set with mantras is a great way to get started on a practice on days when I’m not quite sure what my practice looks like (read: non-Ashtanga days). I pulled the card for Hanuman, a personal favorite, whose mantra is as follows:
Jitendriyam buddhimatam varistham
Varatmajam vanara yutha mukhyam
Sri-Rama dutam Sirsasana namami
Which means: I bow down in homage to Hanuman, the general of the army of apes and Sri Rama’s messenger, who travels with the speed of the mind and with the force of the wind, for he is the son of the wind god. He has conquered his senses and is the wisest of the wise.
I say this mantra because I am asking for the ability to increase my attitude of love in performing selfless service. Which some days looks a bit like taking time to practice so I can be kind and practice love towards others.
Blocks for home practice will keep coming. The trick is to move to the side and dodge them rather than try to crush them.