Recommend: Magician, Heal Thyself

[image from GOOD magazine]

Sometimes, I think that reading about how someone else improved their life will help me improve mine. More often than not, it’s an escape fantasy. I can achieve inner peace, too, if only I started gardening or went to Tuscany or India or … did almost anything but immerse myself in my own life.

Scrambling down an internet rabbit hole while doing some research for a work project, I found this article by Starlee Kine called, “Magician, Heal Thyself!” She doesn’t offer advice or tell anyone how to do it. She hasn’t fixed herself, but she’s exploring. And her honesty is awesome.

Anna is from Olympia, Washington. This means if she were given a crystal for her birthday, she would say, “Oh my god, I love it!” and this would be the truth. Still we manage to get along because she’s good at trash-talking.

Leela and Chakra Game Play

Have you heard about Deepak Chopra’s latest venture, Leela? Launching today, it’s a meditation based video game where players work through the seven chakras focusing on movement and pranayama. The Leela website calls it:

a groundbreaking game concept that combines ancient relation and meditation techniques with technology to bring focus, energy and balance to your life.

The whole thing seems to be predicated on biofeedback, which makes sense to me. Yoga Dork is right, the demo makes the whole thing look pretty “trippy” (YD saw a live demo and reviewed the game. The demo I saw was on the Leela site.) but I have to say I’m intrigued.

I don’t think I’ll be going out to buy an Xbox anytime soon, so I’ll probably miss the opportunity to play. But who knows, maybe my niece and nephew will stop playing Lego Starwars long enough for me to sidle up to the Wii.

Student and Teacher

I often find myself looking outside for wisdom I later realize I already have. I forget that I’ve studied. That I know anatomy and physiology, that I know asana. And more than that, I forget to listen to the wisdom of my own instincts and my own body.

My back has been bothering me lately, and I went online today looking up yoga postures to ease the strain. What I found was a series of postures from Sadie Nardini (here) all of which, I realized, I have been doing on my own for the past couple of days.

I’ve been lingering in forward fold and pigeon in my daily practice. I stay in down dog and child’s pose for extra breaths. I found myself in wall plank at my niece’s birthday party yesterday, taking deep breaths as the cake pops were served.

Seeing an ‘expert’ affirm what I’d already been doing felt good, but it also reminded me that I know this. I know my body and what it needs. I’ll always look for advice from others because I’m always a student. But what I’m learning is more than a posture recommendation. I’m learning that sometimes I am my own best teacher, too.

Integrity Daily

I’ve been thinking about intention and integrity a lot lately. When I read anything from Gwen Bell, I feel a mix of admiration and envy. In this case, I am admiring her daily routine and taking inspiration from it. Intention and integrity from dawn to dusk. It sounds like hard work, and delicious.

This is an image of Gwen Bell from her site, linked above.

Yogic Powers

In yoga school, we learned about the yogic powers. It was maybe the one afternoon lecture where no one fell asleep, and we all sat attention rapt in a circle around our teacher as he told us stories of yogis who could slow their heart rate to almost nothing, who could live without food or water and simply be nourished by prana, who could levitate.

True? Maybe. I’ve been a little cynical.

But I’m even more cynical of the trick shown in this video. I somehow doubt this is how it’s been done for hundreds of years. But even if it is, I don’t know that I mind. If that’s what it takes to ensure the survival of an ancient tradition with real physiological and spiritual benefits, I’ll accept a little slight of hand.

[via boingboing]

wisdom from the web

I lifted this post, in its entirety, from penelope illustration. I often find wisdom and inspiration in her words, and this one went down like hot tea with honey and filled me up from the inside out.

Thank you.

call love this very moment. when your patience is thin and you’re walking too quickly. trying to escape this moment. reaching for the top shelf. breathing shallow on tip toes. call love. get quieter. find that little space at the bottom and just be there for a minute or two. pause yourself. walking around in circles if you have to. feeling the pads of your feet sticking to the wood floors. or stay put and feel it burn for a little longer. the clock will keep ticking.

and if you call love, it’ll be there. it shows up as a cat rubbing against your legs. or a letter from a friend. or a skinned knee. it shows up.

and you’re off the hook.

Yogi Media

The mixed messages we yogis send ourselves can juuuust about be summed up in this little screengrab. 

I’m not suggesting that one of these articles is less valid than the other. I’m just noticing the juxtaposition: One article questioning the yoga-body-ideal, and one reinforcing it.

I mean, listen, I WANT to demean the Aniston article. And granted, the YogaDorksters are KIND OF for sure (ed note: see Yoga Dork comments below) winking and nudging the stereotype. But, seriously, I hate all the hotness sometimes. And the talk of hotness. I would love to take a break from reading and thinking about body image. And focus instead on what amazing things my body can do. Or how about the BORING topic of what yoga does for the mind, the emotions, the heart and soul? Which is where all the deep beauty really is for me.

Yoga lets me go deep. And stand strong, and cry and take flight. And it doesn’t matter if there’s a jelly roll over my lululemons when I do it. Not one little bit. When I am feeling transcendental and buzzing from the vibrations in my body, I couldn’t care less what the outside looks like.

Listen, I get it. I skip the meditation articles in Yoga Journal too sometimes. I flip to the pictures of the pretty lady. I’m human like that.

And I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t admit to envying those “yoga bodies” out there. Even if they are only a small percentage of the population. I want to make the outside look as amazing as yoga makes me feel on the inside. But I sometimes wish that was an instinct that wasn’t so consistently reinforced by seemingly everything around me. (And if you think I’m too high and mighty to put ‘celebriyogi’ in my post tags, you are mistaken.)

And, as another side note, when we talk about the “yoga body” let’s not forget that what we’re REALLY talking about is the American ideal – with or without yoga. Because until recently the ideal yoga body was one of a 14-year-old Indian boy.

A Note About the Bunny

You may have noticed that I’ve been posting a yoga haiku a day, and I thought it would be fun to try my hand at illustrating them myself.

Some of the Yoga Haikus this week are accompanied by an anthropomorphized rabbit I refer to as the Yoga Bunny. YB’s little face is influenced by the famous fashion bunny, Fifi Lapin.

Fifi Lapin in Dior

The creator of Fifi Lapin is very talented and successful. YB is not intended to ride her coattails as much as give a nod to a great idea. I just wanted to give credit where credit is due.

Thanks guys. I’m new at this whole illustration thing, so I’m hoping to branch out. Maybe Yoga Bears?