Timji on the hype around 11/11/11

You didn’t think Tim Miller wouldn’t notice all the hype about this Friday’s date, did you? (For those missing out, it’s 11/11/11.)

He covers it in this week’s Tuesdays with Timji:

While investigating the phenomenon of 11/11/11 I came across a new word—apophenia. Apophenia is defined as “the unmotivated seeing of connections accompanied by a specific experience of abnormal meaningfulness.” It is common in cases of paranoid schizophrenia and other psychoses. I would prefer to believe in the opening of an angelic portal rather than a demonic one on 11/11/11, so I won’t be going to see the movie. Human beings have an enormous, though largely untapped, potential to transform the quality of their own lives and to change the current circumstances on Planet Earth by virtue of what they choose to place their attention on. On Friday I’ll be meditating on Angels.

That’s just a taste. And I’ll say there is more from the post not about 11/11/11 that is much better. After all, this date is based on one European-based calendar that isn’t especially old. Meaning, from my view: Lots of silly hype. But what else is new?

Posted by Steve

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Eddie Stern performs a Ganesha puja

Sorry for two video posts in a row, but I thought this one was interesting. (And I love, love — like high school relationship love — Bobbie’s from earlier.)

Here’s Eddie Stern talked about mother nature, during a Ganesha puja, in Portugal. When I found it, it had only 30-something views. So I figure not too many of you have seen it as it is from just a few weeks ago.

If you want, when he mentions taking a minute for a silent prayer, feel free to do so.

Posted by Steve

A response to everyone with Ashtanga ‘secrets’

It feels like every couple of weeks, something on the Internet pops up in the vein of “look at me and what I’m doing that I shouldn’t.”

One day it is someone trying to shock readers with all the bad things they do; another, it’s the things they hate about Ashtanga; another, it’s about talking back to a teacher; another, it’s about how they purposefully aren’t doing the practice as it’s supposed to be done.

What they share in common is they are all so self-involved in a medium — blogging — that inherently is so self-involved. (“Hi, Steve,” I say to myself at this point.)

Guruji, via Yoga Journal

What annoys me, of course, is that they are supposed to annoy me — and I let them. I don’t, however, read them. As soon as I figure out that the person is doing little more than trolling for eyeballs — something anyone with a blog is doing, but there’s an obvious line, right? — I am out of there, not likely to return.

This morning, when yet another of these popped up as I looked around the Internet for some Ashtanga or yoga news, I realized I’d heard an answer to them.

Bobbie’s mentioned this before; but I suppose I’m a slow learner, and how it applies to us all just hit me.

Bobbie described her conversation with our teacher in Los Angeles, Jörgen Christiansson, like this:

 I tell Jörgen I’m not sure I want to begin second again. He tells me, ”You are not doing the practice. Guruji is,” and he points out, “Practice without attachment to results.” Jörgen is paraphrasing Krishna, I realize.

What I can add is, Jörgen was pointing at a photo of Guruji at that moment.

So all of these people who feel like they are pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes, who are getting an ego trip out of pointing out how “bad” they are, really are — truly are — missing the point. But they are probably getting nice traffic at their blogs, so they’ve got that going for them.

Someone who I think isn’t, by the way, is our pal Rose at yogarose.net. She just took a weekend workshop from Tim Miller. And you know what that always means: shifts in awareness.

Posted by Steve

Kino’s lesson on Bujapidasana: You stop when you are done

Bobbie earlier made fun of me for making a list, given you can’t swing an LOLcat around the Internet without hitting a bunch of yoga blog lists.

So, I’m going to do another. In fact, two more.

Three months ago, if you had asked me which five yoga teachers I most wanted to practice with, but never had, I would have answered:

5. Bryan Kest

4. Shiva Rea

3. Seane Corn

2. Bikram (Gotta get some use out of my bikinis, right?)

1. Richard Freeman

Today, the list looks more like this:

5. Bryan Kest

4. Seane Corn

3. Eddie Stern

2. Kino MacGregor

1. Richard Freeman

Subtle difference, I know, but an important one. This blog has me paying much more attention to the various Western Ashtangi teachers, and two really have entered my consciousness. Probably pretty clear from the second list: Eddie and Kino (I’m going to default to their first names).

Eddie we’ve talked about, and had others talk about him. And I highlighted Kino twice, once in relation to Freeman.

But reading her writing (not to mention seeing her practice via video), it’s clear that Kino deserves some more attention. She’s not only got game, she’s got the coaching staff with which to back the game up.

I’d certainly heard of Kino before a few months ago, but as I dove deeper into tracking (for you!) Ashtanga happenings, one of my first re-introductions to her was some stupid debate online that boiled down to: She’s pretty and she wears little shorts and tops. (I mentioned it before.) Fact of the matter is, she knows her yoga, in the widest sense of that word.

Which brings us to today’s humbling lesson from our Miami pal: Bujapidasana.

I wish I could find a succinct quotation to impart, but her whole piece is full of wisdom of the bodily, spiritual and inspirational kind. (And remember, I’m not much for… well, any of those!) What I react to is how her writing seems to press just up against a “new agey” sensibility that wouldn’t speak to me so well, but doesn’t go past it. To whit:

There are excruciating moments where the only thought in your mind is how tired you are. There are emotional moments when you doubt your strength and resolve. By touching these difficult places you also touch your limitations. When you brush again the limits of your known consciousness you also get very close to your spirit. As you push your boundaries a little bit of spirit seeps in and give you strength where you would not otherwise have.

Now, maybe it’s because I’m all too familiar with the “excruciating moments” of yoga, but those five sentences don’t push me away with an over-emphasis on something I can’t touch or feel. (I find Tim Miller to inhabit this same space, thus the connection I have with him, I suspect.) Instead, I stop for a second and think: “Is that what I experience in that pose? Hmmm.. maybe.”

And, if you’re reading an Ashtanga blog you know, once “it” has you saying, “Maybe,” it has you saying, “Yes, please sit on me in Supta Kurmasana!”

As I said, there’s an absolute tone more great stuff at the link above. Here’s one of my favorites:

The lesson of Bujapidasana is that you cannot stop when you are tired, when you doubt, when you feel like quitting or when you want it to be over. You stop when you are done. Practically speaking what that means is that you are not “done” with the posture until you jump back to Chaturanga Dandasana.

There are many more. I will have a whole new attitude toward the pose when I next practice it, which probably would be Sunday — I think I have to do a short home practice tomorrow, but I might sneak it in thanks to the inspiration.

Oh, and for those too lazy to click on the above link, here’s Kino’s demonstration of Bujapidasana. Watch it, and weep:

I’d say, by comparison, I’m a little steadier — more Sthira — than that. But she’ll get it, eventually.

Posted by Steve

Second Series training with Tim Miller

In August 2012, Bobbie attended Tim Miller’s every-other-year Second Series teacher training.

Here’s her reviews:

Ashtanga Yoga Confluence coverage

Here are links to our coverage of the early March 2012 Ashtanga Yoga Confluence:

Yogi diet: No hybrid wheat, being mainly raw

Since Ashtanga is the “yoga of no,” and that leaves us fewer interesting things to talk about — no late night band reviews, can’t try out the newest happening bar, won’t be running down LA’s best donuts anytime soon — we are left to talk about other things: our restricted diets, our curious Saturday regiments and other unmentionables.

We’ve had quite a bit of interest and emails about our giving up wheat, following Bobbie’s foray into the book “Wheat Belly” and her leading a writing course at UC Irvine with a food theme. (It wasn’t a fun food theme, it was a here’s-all-the-terrible-things-we-eat theme.)

So, for those with ongoing interest in this subject, here’s our diet- and wheat-based posts. We’ll add to it as we add new ones.

And, on the benefits of coffee: No coffee, no prana: