10 Nov
2010

My new Manduka

Yes, I followed the “in” crowd and all the cool kids like schools of fish in the ocean and the blue angels into the ground. I did what everyone else was doing when I bought the much loved and equally vilified Manduka PRO Black mat. The yoga must-have of the last three seasons. Anyone who’s anyone in the yoga world has to have a Manduka! So yes, I went and got one, and I have to say that I love it! Well, as much as you can love a yoga mat anyway.

First, although I researched on Manduka’s website, I ended up buying from Amazon. As in most cases, it’s cheaper, more convenient, and returns are hassle-free. I bought the package which included a 71″ black mat and matching graphite colored yoga bag. (You almost have to pony up for the bag, since the mat is too big for a standard sized bag.) The package for the mat and bag was only $114 on Amazon vs. $135 on Manduka’s site.

When it arrived, it was like Christmas! I hadn’t practiced on a real mat in months. My first impressions: it’s f’ing huge and heavy, sort of like the armored tank of yoga mats. But the color was cool, no dippy purple tie dyed bullshit. This is punk rock yoga, baby, right down to the metal divets on the gun metal graphite bag.

Rolling out and using the mat for the first time, it was definitely thick and comfy on my paws but I have to say that it is a bit slippy at first. I read many reviews that alluded to this but I’m going to press on, because I hear that after a couple months of regular use it’s a non-issue

The only real downside is that it’s not eco-friendly, but it definitely seems durable like it could last through nuclear fallout. And the Manduka PRO series guarantees their mats for a lifetime which is really respectable and means they make quality product (not Chinese crap). So, in effect, although it’s not made of recyclable materials, I won’t need to replace it every few years and throw it in a landfill like we do with way too many goods these days.

So far, I’m really pretty darn happy with my mat but please kill me if I ever say “my Manduka” like a name-dropping fool and go on to talk about it like it’s jesus and my best friend rolled into one. Really, only assholes personify inanimate objects. (I’m betting Manduka will not be putting that quote on their site)

My overall rating is 4.4 out of 5 stars.

Pros: quality, durability, comfort, cool factor, lifetime guarantee

Cons: heavy, expensive, not eco-friendly

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9 Nov
2010

To Invert or To Not Invert?

That is the question.

Chances are, if you are female and a yoga enthusiast, you’ve pondered this very question.

As it is that time of month for me (or more accurately that time of quarter thanks to the miracles of Seasonique) I thought it germaine to write a bit about mentration and inversion poses.

There seems to be two camps on the subject. Those that believe it is definitely not recommended, even bordering on unhealthy since it effects the natural direction of your flow. Not your vinyasa flow. The other one. Uh huh, you with me?

The other side thinks that you shouldn’t have to change your practice just because pesky Aunt Flo is visiting for the week.

I’m sort of on the fence on this one. Although, medically speaking, there is no reason not to invert, I find that I prefer a slower, more restorative practice. I’m usually crampy and cranky and would like nothing more than a hot bath, a valium, and some corpse pose for half the day. But seriously, I will gladly do poses that produce some of the same benefits of improving circulation, like legs up the wall pose, instead of full blown shoulderstand or headstand.

How about ya’ll – do you say inversions are a no-no or it’s a myth and bottoms up?

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28 Oct
2010

5 seconds of Crow

With all this travel and upheavel of routine, I haven’t been practicing regularly. I’m lucky to get one or two quick asana practices in per week. So imagine my surprise, when yesterday I tried Crow Pose and managed to balance for the first time!

A regular part of my routine is malasana, or garland pose, a wide squat that is a good hip opener.

And then I inevitably try (and fail) the arm balance Crow Pose. I guess there is something to practice makes perfect. It was really exhilirating to be perched up on my forearms in a strong balance. All until my mind got in the way and I realized my head was balanced mere inches from crashing into the floor. No-mind don’t fail me now!

I can’t wait to try it again…little successes are so motivating.

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27 Oct
2010

What is Oxybenzone?

Oxybenzone is a potential hormone disrupter found in many popular sunscreens.

Scientists who have researched this sunscreen chemical advise: “It would be prudent not to apply oxybenzone to large surface areas of skin for extended and repeated periods of time, unless no alternative protection is available. There may be an additional concern for young children who have less well developed processes of elimination, and have a larger surface area per body weight than adults, with respect to systemic availability of a topically applied dose” (Hayden 1997).

Oxybenzone is readily absorbed through the skin; government studies have detected the compound in 97 percent of the population (Calafat 2008). In rodents, it mimics estrogen and increases the weight of the uterus (Schlumpf 2004). In people, higher maternal exposures to oxybenzone have been linked to decreased birth weight in girls (Wolff 2008).

EWG advises consumers to avoid sunscreens containing oxybenzone. Plenty of safer products are available, find one here.

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8 Oct
2010

Farewell Neutrogena

I’m sorry to say this, my love, but it’s over. When we met three years ago, I really thought you were the one. You smelled so good. You covered my baby skin so tenderly. You went on so smoothly and never were greasy. I couldn’t sweat you off if I wanted to.

But all that has changed…

I wasn’t looking to leave you, Neutrogena. Do you believe me? It just kind of happened one day. When I was browsing the sunscreen report on EWG, and I found out your dirty little secret. You didn’t tell me you were full of Oxybenzone. Did you think I wouldn’t find out? How could YOU?!

Now that it’s over, I’ve decided to move on. I’m with Alba now. He’s a real nice sunscreen. He’s good for me. He’s chock full of minerals.

But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t still think about you. Even now, as I’m going out on a hike, I wish you were with me, but I know in my heart that it’s not meant to be.

So, I guess that’s it. Farewell, Neutrogena. I loved you so…

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6 Oct
2010

100 days later…

Well it’s been 100 days now that I’ve been on this crazy mission. And in that very short span of time my gusto has waned. Big surprise there. It’s not that I haven’t enjoyed doing yoga when I can find the time and eek out some space between hotel beds, it’s just been so hectic that I can’t find any stability, no solid ground to stand my weary head on.

Let me count the places we have been and the places yet to go so you get an idea of what life is like in my neck of the woods:

1. Ron’s condo in San Bruno, CA
2. Construction Zone in Corte Madera, CA
3. Ron’s cousins house in Sausalito, CA
4. My brothers house in San Diego, CA
5. My friend Vanessa’s condo in Beverley Hills, CA
6. My uncles campsite in Arroyo Grande, CA
7. The Travelodge on Lombard St, San Francisco
8. My friend Tina’s place in Mill Valley, CA
9. A divey motel in Ashland, OR
10. Ron’s brother’s house in Damascus, OR <– we are here
11. Some random motel in Idaho
12. Ron’s mom’s house in Logan, Utah
13. A hotel in downtown San Francisco
14. My dad’s house in Oklahoma
15. Another hotel in mid-town Manhattan
…and maybe just maybe if we are lucky, back to Oregon.

Phew! You tired yet? I’ve done as much traveling these last few months as we did on our trip around the world. Vagabond much? Yes, indeedy.

Once we are back to Damascus, we hope to stop for a spell, get off the careening carousel around the country and begin house searching and find a place to call home permanently.

Then I can roll out my mat and leave it there. Ah, that would be blissful. Om shanti.

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18 Sep
2010

Yoga according to Dharma Mittra

I thought I would delve a little deeper into the man behind the 908 Asanas poster, and the inspiration for this blog. Dharma Mittra is a veritable yogi legend and currently heads up Dharma Yoga in New York.

In the video below, Dharma Mittra explains the true purpose of the asanas:
“The asana is to bring radiant health. To stimulate the glands, it often goes beyond the physical going to the mental and the astral body. Because every pose there is a way, a place to concentrate, to stimulate the glands or the psychic centers in your body.”

“So by doing yoga, one develops radiant health. physical power, and to become free of all disease. And then he may easily succeed in meditation.”

“It’s not important to put legs behind the head, all these fancy poses. The most important pose, the king of the pose, requires no flexibility: headstand. And the mother of all the poses – savganasana: shoulder stand. The cobra pose. The spinal twist. These are the main poses, and one pose for meditation.”

Dharma prescribes three hours of meditation daily, done comfortably and easily. Wow! There’s nothing comfortable and easy about focusing on your breath for three hours. Meditation seems often like a mix of boredom, distraction, flights of fancy, a sore butt and legs that fall asleep after ten minutes.

This is a good reminder not to be so caught up in attaining the perfect pose. I admit that I have been neglecting meditation lately, even skimping on Savasana, in favor of flexibility gains, and in doing so seem to be missing the point entirely.

Thanks Dharma for bringing my attention back to the true meaning of yoga!

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15 Sep
2010

Yoga Pose of the Day – Funny Ha Ha


Reverse Warrior Pose


This just cracks me up every time!

Photo reprinted without permission from Hipster Yoga, who reprinted without permission from Look at this fucking hipster, whose original post was noticed by Yoga Poseur who in turn outed Hipster Yoga over the flagrant theft, making waves in the blogosphere.

Dramarama. I wonder if the secret police will catch me?

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5 Sep
2010

The Proper Order of Starbursts

Starburst fruit chews are eaten in this mouth-hold in an exacting and optimized order honed over decades. First comes orange, my absolute least favorite. I mean let’s be honest, is this anyone’s favorite? Let’s get it out of the way, and move on.

Then comes yellow, that is as you would expect light and lemon-y.

Next can be a toss up based on general whim, but usually it is red, that waxy cherry flavor that is soothingly artificial and takes you back to days of youth gone by.

Last, and the best by all accounts, the one you are waiting four chews for is the pink one. Mmmm…strawberry joy.

Like life, the pink one only tastes so good by contrast. By the variety and quality and relative enjoyment of what preceeded it. A whole package of pink ones would be no good at all. It would be satisfactory, then boring, then out-right sickening. Too much of a good thing.

No. Give me the oranges and the yellows first please. Let me alternate reds and pinks and then eat another orange so I can enjoy that last pink one. Let me choose how I intermingle the ups and downs of my tastebuds and I will do what I do as a matter of course to buffer my existence against scarcity. How I save up the best and hoard it to the last bite.

Make no mistake, I dream in pink. I covet it. I crave it. But I can’t eat a whole twenty chew package, and frankly wouldn’t want to. This is why happiness is so elusive. It’s meant to be that way. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be so damn sweet those five seconds you have it.

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4 Sep
2010

On the move…

..again. Ron and I are down in San Diego now visiting my brother and his family. Every new location throws me and my practice into upheaval for a week or so as I try to settle down and get grounded again.

Now that I’m working pretty much full time (albeit remotely and with no commute now) I’m choosing instead to take long morning walks before the start of the day more often than not. Getting some exercise and mental space has been key in handling the transition back into the corporate world. Besides, it’s tough to find a private spot to practice where I won’t wake Ron or the baby, or be in the living room amidst the daily hubbub.

So I’ve been practicing on the carpeted floor of the guest room. It’s not ideal but really it’s not that bad. I’m sure I can turn any little aberration in my life into an excuse for not doing what I should. I really need to find a routine again and get my groove back. My stats are suffering – my minutes per day have slipped perilously low to 28! Not to mention, this is my first post in two weeks and it isn’t funny or insightful or enlightening at all.

Sorry, I suck right now.

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My Practice Stats

Days so far - 136
Hours practiced - 47.6
Average Min/Day - 21
Asanas learned - 138/908
Asanas mastered - 0/908

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WHAT I'M READING

Light on Yoga: The Bible of Modern Yoga... The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity [10th Anniversary Edition]


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