Posts Tagged ‘yoga’
PBS visits Boundless Yoga
Thank you, PBS, for visiting our 10:45 Boundless Yoga class last Saturday!
Technology has become a second job we didn’t know we had, ****Alice****said to the March Hare.
While the recent article “The Joy of Quiet” by Pico Iyer in the NY Times is what inspired this particular rant, the conversation about technology’s obfuscation of our lives, the way we communicate, and how we spend our free time has been rolling out of my mouth for years now. I read the article just before leaving for yoga, went downstairs and heard my housemate talking to his friend about it. It was spreading fast. After class, I talked to Erin Duncan about it, she had read it, and admitted to having posted it on her facebook profile, ironically but understandably falling into the technology loop the article discusses. But if we are going to spread the spirit of technological restraint, social media is the fastest way to do it. ****
There has been a noticeable rise in the discussion of technology versus our lives. A couple weeks ago I saw an advertisement in a newspaper: “Introducing the ‘de-tech’ detox, a holiday without modern gadgets”. Since when did a vacation have modern gadgets? Since when did we feel we had to pay someone at a resort to “gently remind” us, as stated in the ad, to leave our blackberries in the room that does *not*, at extra cost, come with a TV. Pico Iyer mentions Yoga and Tai Chi as activities people are genuinely becoming interested in, as opposed to them being new age fads. The rather long and silly Jan 5th NY Times article “How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body” does state: “yoga’s exploding popularity — the number of Americans doing yoga has risen from about 4 million in 2001 to what some estimate to be as many as 20 million in 2011”. I see this meteoric rise coinciding with that of social media and the increasing ease with which to access it. We are falling down a rabbit hole of technology and yoga is one of the hanging roots that people are grasping for, to slow their inevitable descent into a curious and nonsensical Wonderland. ****
A friend confessed he could no longer read beginning-to-end two paragraphs on a computer, without at least one quick check of something unrelated; facebook, a link to a photo, a fragment of a video, anything. He says he has never felt so lacking in attention. You have too many choices, thus nothing feels like the best use of your time. Or you try to do multiple things at one time, or you choose one thing to do, but afterward feel regret because maybe you could have chosen something else. I think this angst can be called ‘fragmentation’.
No one can deny the usefulness of cell phones, but they also got an early start on warping our lives. Text messaging in particular, they have destroyed our sense of commitment. Before cell phones, when you made a date you had two choices. You showed up at the time and place you agreed on, or you stood someone up. Now, there is no expectation that anything will occur the way it was agreed upon, if there was any real agreement to begin with (which is becoming increasingly common). You don’t try too hard to be
on time, because you can always text them with updates on where you are, and somehow that makes up for it. You can cancel at just about anytime, you can offer a change of venue or activity, and things can spiral into a shootout of text messages and phone calls and you finally meet, harried, at some completely different place with a whole new evening. That’s not ‘spontaneity’, and I don’t consider that fun. That’s stress, and a deterioration of trust and solidity. I recall a chapter in the book “American Psycho” where a handful of late 20’s friends, all at their respective homes talking via a 3 or 4 or 5 way phone call, quibble indecisively about where to go out to eat that night, where to meet up, what to eat, who else should join . . . restaurant reservations are made, cancelled, and the absurdly long chapter ends mid sentence with no conclusion. This satire took place in the late 80’s. Now imagine the same thing with people moving around talking on iphones while using google and yelp to find restaurants. Come to think of it, that doesn’t seem all that
absurd or even uncommon these days. Makes me think of when you stare straight down on an anthill and try to make sense of what individual ants are doing.
When most celebrities and many major politicians throughout the world have twitter accounts that people regularly follow to get news and develop their opinions, there is no real voice of moderation for the use of technology. Have you ever heard a celebrity or politician tell people not to follow them on twitter, to leave facebook alone and go play soccer? No, because social media connects them to fans, viewers, customers, and eventually money and votes. All drenched in increasingly provocative and manipulative
advertisements. People are wandering this bizarre landscape of Wonderland, some as mad as the Hatter, others, like ****Alice****, increasingly fearful and looking for an escape. This technology is no longer just a fun way to post a humorous observation to all your friends and family at once, but a crappy part time job you didn’t realize you had: tag these photos, reply to this email, tweet that joke, accept this friend request, text that person, research these restaurants for happy hour, rearrange that Itunes play list,
check this daily comic strip, respond to that wall post, sign up for online dating, reply to this text, “no I wanna go 2 that other club”…****
Social media like Facebook is a breakthrough for keeping in touch with people, especially for someone who has moved many times such as myself. But when I really think of social media, I think of sitting alone in my room, looking at friends who I can’t possibly see anytime soon, and frustratingly inane comments by acquaintances I don’t care to see again. You may have access to 1,000 ‘friends’ profiles, but when you go to Boundless, you have a handful of real people who all want to be there, are carrying no cell
phones, and are as interested in an hour of quiet as you are. An artist friend of mine derided yoga as “selfish” and I understand the misconception with its emphasis on turning in, focusing on your own breath, your own body, closing your eyes, blocking all else out, but it’s the idea that you are focusing, however internally, *with* others. If private lessons cost aslittle as regular classes, how many of you would regularly attend those over a Monday night class with Erin Duncan and other Yogi’s? How successful is your private practice at home, alone in your room?
There will be many more life altering inventions, the likes of which neither Philip K Dick novels nor Spielberg adaptations like Minority Report can predict, and advertisements will continue to encroach on our attention,and we will have more ways to communicate and less to say, but we will always have one last place to retreat, or should I say, *wake up*: the breath.
lil convo on FB re: yoga
Not taking sides on this one, but thought you’d find it…. interestinghttp://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2012/01/12/is-yoga-for-narcissists/
Is Yoga for Narcissists? – Room for Debate
How can we reconcile a spiritual practice with a fitness trend in a culture that already emphasizes the individual over the community?· Share
learn to turn it upside down with carol!
Carol teaches Level 1-2 yoga tonite at 6:30. Check her out! Her class will spend the next six weeks working toward handstand. This week she will focus on the steadiness and ease needed to “kick up” (think lots of hamstring work, three-legged dog, chatturangas). In her own practice lately, she is focusing on the whole concept of steadiness and ease, which she learned from Kim:) Oh, and also forgiveness when she is frustrated in a pose! And clearly, she is loving handstand right now. Love love love. Her nemesis of the moment? Paschimottanasana. Reserve a space online now as Carol’s class is quickly becoming one of the most popular slots on the schedule.
how yoga ruined my life
Tons of you i’m sure have seen the much talked about article in the NYT .. it’s called “how yoga can wreck your life” and if you ask me, its introductory image speaks as loud as any of its words. (it’s three actors doing yoga poses in costumes with silly faces and bad form.) Still, i found some portion of the message valid.
First, i’ll jump on the ship most respectable yoga teachers will ride and say that if you buy into any of this B.S. you’re aligning yourself with a body of teaching that is frankly low-quality, piss-poor, and hardly yoga at all. Then, i’ll tell you about the validity i noted in his message.
The oddest thing about the article to me is that the main guy they’re talking about is blabbing on about “yoga” as if it is a “thing out there.” A thing that can come and get you while you aren’t paying attention and oh my goodness! “wreck your body.” This is a blatant way that people who have not claimed their personal agency in the world present their problems. It’s called having a victim mentality. Google it.
Before you decide to lock yourself in your house and hide from the yoga monster, let me clarify a few points. Yoga is a practice. Therefore, it requires a practicer. That would be you. Or me. Or whomever is practicing at that moment. In its most essential form, it’s all of us. Practicing yoga. That means, we are the dictators of whether or not yoga “wrecks our bodies.” If something feels like it is “wrecking you,” might i suggest you stop doing that thing? This is not rocket science, but it is worth saying twice. If any practice is wrecking your body, you should stop doing it or change your approach. That’s called having personal agency and ruling your own body. You are the boss. Asana and yoga are vast.
The squirrely part emerges when you examine the nature of any student-teacher relationship and observe that there is a possibility for any student to defer to their teacher’s instruction to such a degree that they carry on forth despite signals in their mind-body that are saying RED ALERT! I’M BEING WRECKED. I will clarify first that at Boundless Yoga, our teachers honor YOU. You are the practitioner, and you are the absolute 100% boss of your body at any given moment in class. Our teachers are just that. Teachers. And they can and will offer you the highest quality, very best, information they have at any given moment.
So – in short. I don’t think this guy’s imaginary yoga monster is going to come to your house and wreck your body, but as you may recall, I did say i felt some of his message was valid. strongly so . It’s this. asana is not a panacea. I firmly believe with my entire body that yoga is a MIRACLE. but the idea that asana is a cure-all for everything — that is a viewpoint that can be taken to an extreme and could hurt you. Believing that asana is the path to resolving all of your ailments is something that could cause you harm. The practice of yoga has eight limbs, and asana is only one limb. Further, your dharma and your karma both shape what the correct action for your unique body is at any given moment. I think this article is cool – bc it’s timely — bc more people are embracing the mystery and the miracle that asana is in 2012. And as they do, like any wonderful creation, it’s possible to over-indulge ones-self. Remember to maintain a sense of balance in your world, in your mind, and in your relationships – especially with your teachers. Then you will not need to fear that the yoga monster is coming to get you. Rawr.
kim weeks is back on saturdays!
So, as many of you, Kim has been teaching Seeing Bodies on Saturday mornings, which has been incredible. This week, she returns to teaching the Saturday morning Open level class at 10:45, and to teaching the Level 3 Yoga class on Thursday evening. I am so thrilled to share this news with you all and to welcome her bright energy back to the studio. Anyone who studies with Kim knows she provides a beautiful, clear direct line to the teaching your body needs that day. Her ability to communicate specific body needs to an individual and a group is unparalleled. I’m writing to remind you to take advantage of the chance to study with her. Sign up now online to reserve a space in one of her classes, and let me know how it goes! Can’t wait to hear about it. namaste, kelly
Fostering Transformation in 2012
It’s my honor to teach the last Boundless class of the year on Saturday December 31! Lets shed the old & ring in the new – with new excitement, new intention, & reinvigorated community. While there’s nothing hallowed about January 1 itself – Chinese will ring in the Year of the Dragon on January 23; most Indians celebrate Diwali in Oct/Nov – we can capitalize on the collective energy of New Year’s celebrations to heighten our practice.
At Boundless, our mission, Foster Transformation, might read like a continual New Years Resolution. The manifestations of our transformation are as unique as we are – in style and speed. Sometimes transformation comes quickly, other times slowly; transformation can be an effortless gift or require our deep dedication. Yet we can be assured of one thing: yoga will transform us, our body, our perspective and our relationships.
In yoga, we work with resolve through the notion of sankalpa, translated as “intention” or “will.” Yoga philosophy recognizes that we carve habits, pathways, channels through our actions, samskaras. Samskaras are deep traces of our past & patterns, unconscious and/or habitual motivators. Through sankalpa – active intention – we marshal our inner energetic resources to redirect samskaras, to lessen the pull unwanted patterns. We direct our energy so we can live an intentional life true to ourselves and our potential. Awash in sankalpa, the chasms of these samskaras are smoothed.
What can you leave behind in 2011, and what will you foster in 2012?
Tree Pose: What’s in a Name?
Vrksasana, better known as tree pose, is everywhere these days. If you read any article about yoga online or in the paper, chances are it will be accompanied by a stock photo of a beautiful, smiling woman with one foot placed delicately on her inner thigh or calf. The asana has basically become a visual stand-in for yoga itself. I was in a department store recently that had tree-pose-shaped mannequins, each one outfitted in the latest high-end yoga apparel. Most people encounter Vrksasana fairly early in their yoga practice. It is probably the simplest balancing pose to learn as a beginner, and it can be easily modified based on a person’s ability level. At first, tree pose can be challenging even for people who are otherwise very physically fit. Balance is something that is rarely developed outside of a yoga practice, and it takes time to learn how to “stick” Vrksasana without flailing around (hint: the foot needs to press into the leg just as much as the leg presses back into the foot). Eventually, though, most people get the hang of it, and the time comes to move on to more “advanced” balancing poses.
For more experienced students, Vrksasana often seems like a distant memory from their days as a beginner rather than a regular part of their practice. I have seen students in my classes roll their eyes a little when I say we’re going to do this pose (and I must admit that at one point I was doing some of that eye-rolling myself). But like most of the other “basic” standing poses, Vrksasana is not as simple as it seems at first glance. Thanks to Kim and Winnie, I’ve been looking at this pose a lot more closely in the last couple of months. What I’ve discovered is that it isn’t just about putting your foot on your leg and trying to stand still for as long as you can. For me, this pose is all about what’s going on in that standing leg (you know, the one you’re usually not thinking about while you’re yanking your foot higher up onto your thigh). As the arches of the standing foot stretch and lift away from the floor, the kneecap of the standing leg lifts as well, and the thighbone moves back into the hamstring and grounds into the pelvis. From this solid and firm foundation comes the sensation that one is drawing energy up from the ground and into the leg, allowing the torso to lift effortlessly as the arms go up and over the head. It is at this point that one begins to understand why it is called tree pose: just as a tree pulls energy up from its roots, so too does the body achieve a sense of lift and lengthening from its relationship to the earth. Too often people are so focused on balancing and having their foot as high as possible on the leg that they let the standing leg bend and sag, eliminating any upwards movement of energy in the body as they struggle to hold their weight up and keep from collapsing towards the floor. They may look a lot like the women in the newspaper, but the true intention of the pose just isn’t there. So the next time you’re in Vrksasana, think about how you can go beyond your old conception of it as just a “beginning” balancing pose or a diversion for models and mannequins. You may think you have tree pose mastered, but I promise you that there is still room for a lot more growth (pun fully intended).
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yoga is on tonight.
Wow. What do you do after the ground shifts beneath your feet? Find out tonight at studio.
fyi: Our phone is out after today’s earthquake, so Contact Us Here if you need anything.
All of tonight’s yoga classes are on!! Come practice with your favorite Boundless teacher tonight.