‘Reasons to love Ashtanga yoga’

I’m probably not a good one to comment on these, although I can agree with this assessment from this piece in the Times of India (although it may have originated at the Huffington Post India): “Ashtanga is not a practice for the faint-hearted.”

It goes on to list not quite a handful of reasons “to love this practice.” Here they are; click this link for the full explanation of them:

Dedication. Strength. Letting Go. Mirror Effect.

Kudos to the piece for getting this part right: “consisting of six series, and each series contains its own sequence of asanas.” You may recall that can be easy to mess up.

Posted by Steve

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Why I love LA, or a yogi defends his town

Earlier this week, there was a bit of coverage about how Vancouver is the third worst-dressed city in the world because so many women there wear yoga pants. All. The. Time.

I wouldn’t be surprised if you saw the story or some reaction to it.

This isn’t another one, don’t worry. But it is a reaction to another piece I suspect you’ll be seeing or hearing about during the next 48 or so hours.

It’s Maha Yoga’s Steve Ross on spirituality in Los Angeles. And, I’m going to have to be straight-forward about it: He comes off as hating LA.

(If you want, the link to the Huffington Post piece is here.)

I don’t know Ross, so I’m not going to judge. Maybe he was trying to be light-hearted and a little sarcastic; my reading is he didn’t get his tone quite right. Judging by the comments on the piece, I’m putting it mildly.

But it got me thinking about all the stereotypes of Los Angeles. Lots are true. You can ignore the stereotypes, or embrace them, or play with them. If you let them get to you, that’s on you.

But their existence surely doesn’t mean LA isn’t a fabulous place to live, work, play and, yes, do yoga.

So, here’s my (not complete) list of why I love LA.

1. There’s everything you could imagine to do. Museums, beaches, hiking, shopping (ah… the stereotype rises!), concerts, restaurants, bars, you name it and you probably can find it. (Really, in how many cities in the U.S. or world is that true? A couple handful, maybe?)

2. The food. Again, every imaginable cuisine. South Asian, South American, deli, street food, vegetarian, raw, even pizza. (One caveat: I still haven’t found Mexican food here that rivals what’s everywhere in Texas. I’m open to suggestions!)

3. If you know what you’re doing and time it right, you can get just about anywhere in a decent amount of time. I can get out to the Norton Simon Museum or the Huntington Library in 30 minutes from the South Bay. I just have to go on a weekend morning. When there’s no basketball, football or baseball game downtown.

4. It’s a city of hidden delights. Korean spas? Check. Secluded beaches? Yep. Radio and music that matter? Uh-huh. Cutting-edge art? Got it. Interesting architecture? Yes.

5. It’s open. I mean that in a few ways. In general, it’s a pretty tolerant place, to be sure. But it also is open, space-wise. And, yeah, I realize a lot of the housing is squeezed on top of itself, but I mean there’s sky to be seen, mountains to be seen, the hills from Palos Verde to Culver City to Hollywood to be seen.

6. It’s a heck of a lot cleaner than when I was a kid. I shudder to think of the stuff I used to surf in; we’d purposefully go out during or right after rains to get glassy conditions. In other words, environmental concerns are important. Gone, really, are the true days of smog.

7. Since I mentioned it, the surf. Although maybe the surf down toward the San Diego county line, or up toward the Ventura one. And toss in that you can snowboard and surf in a single day, if you want.

8. This:

The Manhattan Beach pier, at sunset. Definitely something to love.

Pretty much where I grew up. Maybe a quarter of a mile to your right, if you’re a stickler for details. Probably related to No. 7

9. It’s easy to ignore people. It’s LA, after all, it’s what we do. (That’s for all the people haters out there! Chill out.)

10. (Since we’re an Ashtanga and yoga blog…) You can find any kind of yoga that suits your needs.

And, last:

11. Because the city is so big, there are plenty of places to hide, which I’ll need because I think Bobbie’s going to be peeved I thought of this list idea, because — despite her being the non-native Angeleno, she probably loves LA more than I do.

It all comes down to LA’s being one funky stew of cultures and people, right? I’d put it up against any city.

What did I miss? Feel free to add. I know I didn’t say, “the weather,” “the weather” or… “the weather.”

Posted by Steve