Raw, adjective: 2. not having undergone processes of preparing, dressing, finishing, refining, or manufacture

Variations on a Theme

Bird of Paradise

They grow, unaided, in the front yards of dark-shingled Berkeley Craftsman homes. They turn the most generic bouquet into a wild tropical spread. They balance on one [shaky] leg while the other [shakily] extends to the sky, breathing, bound. They inhabit unassuming little spaces on Polk Street. One less-fortunate version will probably hold court on your dining room table a week from tomorrow. I wish the Broadway musical version would go swiftly, unceremoniously away, forever. And, back in the day, more Continental types used the term to describe a cute chick.

Hello, little birdie.

Meet my newest favorite asana: Bird of Paradise (more formally known as Svarga Dvidasana), which is kicking my ass on a regular basis these days. It's a balancing asana in which, arms bound, you essentially haul your heavy leg up and extend it (ideally) somewhere near your ear, while you're just chillin' on one foot, trying not to fall on your face. Check out this YouTube demonstration for a killer example of the crazy strength, balance and flexibility required here - and then grin when you see the flock of birds flying at the end:

Pretty great, huh?

In less bendy topics: I've strolled up and down Polk St. countless times over these six years now and have always been intrigued by the little music-slash-yoga studio perched on the slight incline between Jackson and Pacific, charmingly called Bird SF. It seems like a quiet little space, usually uninhabited, but they advertise yoga and music and jazz bands for teens and rock and gee-tar lessons for kids, and I can't help but smile and nod and send a gazillion hopeful vibes that it's still there every time I pass. You just want this kind of place to succeed.

Check out their excellent website for more; it's a periwinkle-colored, multi-use space that seems to have really found its own niche. What a great combo of the embodied arts, and all in one space. Makes me wish I had kids so I could take them to some badass rock guitar lessons, followed by a yoga class, followed by a recording session. Although I'd probably just want to leave them there when it came time to take them home again.

Finally, pick up a stem or two of Bird of Paradise next time you're at the flower shop. They'll last for days and brighten a room with a decidedly exotic kind of vibe.

Bird of Paradise Asana
Bird SF
Bird of Paradise ~ The Flower Expert


Anonymous said…
Ooh, let's go to Bird & fly around the room in Bakasana!
Anonymous said…
One of the best balance poses is Bird of Paradise. It is one of my favorites. Yoga guru Leeann Carey breaks the pose down in a free yoga video. I thought your readers might like it: http://www.planetyoga.com/yoga-blogs/free-yoga-video-birds-of-paradise-pose/

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