Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Raw, adjective: 11. unprocessed or unevaluated: raw data.



"Perhaps [transgression] is like a flash of lightning in the night which, from the beginning of time, gives a dense and black intensity to the night it denies, which lights up the night from the inside, from top to bottom, yet owes to the dark the stark clarity of its manifestation, its harrowing and poised singularity."

~ Michel Foucault, Language, Counter Memory, Practice



(Tallulah Bankhead at left. Add another name to
the list of 1930s femme fatales I want to be.)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Raw, adjective: 6. ignorant, inexperienced, or untrained: a raw recruit.


Clara Mae, born in yesterday's wee hours to my dear ones T & J. Homegirl Rachel Lynn has a little sister to beat up.

Adah Sophia, sweet niece two weeks' old tomorrow, keeping my own lil' sister busy in the Land of Cheese and Beer.

Josephine Aleta-Mae, beloved goddaughter a year this month, rocking and rolling her way into the upcoming Delaware summer.

Life is so full right now with the little girls with the classy old-school names. Funny how you feel it in unexpected ways. My bookstore jaunts have shifted over the last year or two. Instead of bee-lining for the sociology, the yoga, the literature shelves, suddenly I'm finding myself in the children's sections. It's taking all my inner reserve to hold off on buying those boxed sets of Anne of Green Gables and Little House on the Prairie and shipping them eastward. We'll give the girls a few years to, oh, you know, learn how to eat solid foods and whatnot. And then, watch out, ladies: Auntie Rach has a few things comin' yer way.

Big love to these newest little ones. Named for their grandmothers, most of whom are already gone. How life really does go on, in small ways; in names, and in memories, and in life-changing books that transcend the iPads and the DVD players and the Skypes. Yes.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Raw, adjective: 7. brutally or grossly frank: a raw portrayal of human passions.

Slightly in love with French musical collective Nouvelle Vague these days. Their covers are in heavy rotation as I slouch and swirl behind the bar, and I adore their chanteuse feel. And now everything I wanna hear's in bossa nova beats.

Check 'em out. And then watch this most charmingly twee of videos for their most charmingly twee version of "Dance with Me." J' adore.



Nouvelle Vague "Dance with Me" from Bande e Part (YouTube)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Raw, adjective: 6. ignorant, inexperienced, or untrained: a raw recruit.


What a great yoga day!

Brad at 9 for a little vinyasa warm-up.
And then on to Bikram.

I've been hitting the Bikram hard this week to, uh, counterbalance the effects of all the below-mentioned hard liquor. That whole "sweat lodge" factor is great for a detoxifying return to homeostasis. Not to mention the fact that such intense heat does miraculous things for your flexibility. So I usually stay and do 20 minutes or so of my own shit after class to take advantage of all that mushy goodness.

So I'm lying there SPLAT in a pancake split this afternoon just chillin' after class, loving the release. My teacher-friend Ross* walks by and whispers in my ear: "You look like Garfield." As in, this. Hilarious. That's pretty much exactly how I felt.

So after a good crash there, I busted out the usual routine, familiar enough to these bones that I could do it in my sleep. But this time, I hit Tittibhasana (or Firefly, pictured above left) - completely inadvertently, and DUDE - nailed it! A 20-second hold!! Seriously made my day. You have no idea.

Cheers to fucking yoga progress. I'm so in love with this shit.

*Who I've always secretly thought maybe I should date, not because I'm particularly into him, but because of the whole ridiculous pop-cultural irony that would be a real-life Ross-Rachel combination. Sheesh. The bad jokes just write themselves.

Raw, adjective: 10. not diluted, as alcoholic spirits: raw whiskey.


Shaun's show has been open here in SF all of ten days now, and while my bank account and liver and yoga practice are suffering considerably as a result, goddamn if I'm not loving the hell outta every moment of this little charmed month of theater gracing my life.

Seen the show three times already in those ten days and each time it gets richer, and more nuanced, and more jammin'. And the May days are blending into a mellow melody of write-read-launder-lunch-etc. followed by a bangin' yoga sesh at 4:30 just in time to run home and retox as I crank the tunes and shake a martini and put up my hair and bust out the costume jewelry and throw on something vaguely ridiculous and finish the last swig of that cocktail as the sun sets in the west window and then flash out the door to flag the cable car in the fading light and hop on and feel the whoosh in my hair as I look over the sunsetting city from Nob Hill and think my god I fucking love my life because here I am on a random weeknight having an excuse to trot out the baubles and wear too much lipstick and go see my old friend rock it onstage doing exactly what he always planned to do ten years ago and wow, listen to those horns getting richer and more dazzling each time around and wow, check out that gesture I didn't see the last time around and wow, always new faces and friends in the adjacent seats to share it anew, to freshen the jokes, from Chicago last night, sweet J, laughing, tippling, remembering, and now here's the second act, always more fun and buzzingly warm because of that quick intermission jaunt, and now here's that soaring finale and that heart-cracking curtain call and the stage door again and the exhausted radiant cast and then there's the swanky bar down the street and the normalcy and the stories and the chatter and the six new cast crushes and the seven new musical inspirations and the eight new promises to get back in the studio and

jesus

if life ain't grand

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Raw, adjective: 5. crude in quality or character; not tempered or refined by art or taste: raw humor


Big props to my boy C for the heads-up on this one. Please find herein, courtesy of (possible new favorite site) The Oatmeal:

10 Reasons to avoid talking on the phone

Yessssssss.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Raw, adjective: 8. brutally harsh or unfair: a raw deal



"And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: it is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."

“What makes the desert beautiful,” said the Little Prince, “is that somewhere it hides a well…”

~ excerpts from Antoine de Saint-Exupery's
The Little Prince, 1943

* * *

This morning on my way to yoga, ever the multi-tasker, I knocked out a few phone calls, caught up on texts, and checked in with my newborn niece all the way out in Wisconsin, who sang me a few tunes across the wires as she prepared for her first doctor's appointment. A few blocks from the studio, I turned to the news to catch up on the latest goings-on in the world, and quickly found myself teary, throat-choked, shaken, at the latest update on this tragic story of the Dutch plane crash in the Libyan desert that ended in the devastating loss of all but one of the 104 passengers.

IT was enough in and of itself, this story of the one lone survivor, young Ruben, all of 9, who was discovered "still strapped in his seat and breathing in an area of desert sand strewn with the plane's shredded wreckage," both legs broken. This one solitary creature, breathing still, somehow, there in the desert, returning from a dream safari vacation with his parents and brother, all lost to the crash, his chest still rising and falling without knowledge of the vast about-face his life had just taken. I'd seen quick pictures of him yesterday sleeping in his hospital bed, tousled curls framing his face, and they'd reminded me immediately of the tousled curls of Saint-Exupery's famous literary Little Prince - a children's book that, eerily, emerged out of the author's own experience with a plane crash in the Libyan desert of the 1930s.

And I read how they gave Ruben a few days' respite in the hospital before the authorities told him about his family, to protect him from the shock of waking up an orphan, and how now there they are in the Netherlands, sheltering him, an aunt and an uncle stepping in to take over where the others have gone, where the community's standing at a nervous gentle distance in an effort to "make sure he can catch his breath peacefully in the arms of relatives," a grasping attempt to find "a kind of balance with each other, so they can start sketching a future" - a future that looks nothing like the future they'd planned.
"Where are the people?" resumed the little prince at last. "It's a little lonely in the desert."
"It is lonely when you're among people, too," said the snake.
There at yoga, sitting on my mat, when Rusty encouraged us to dedicate our practice to someone who might be in need of a little love or compassion, I thought immediately of this sweet orphaned real-life prince; I thought of this young boy there, alone, broken - literally broken, shattered, lying there in a hospital bed with no one, nothing, the grotesquely-graced solo survivor of a human disaster on an inhumane scale, and I breathed that sorrow in and out and I heard my brother-from-another-mother Pradeep next to me breathing and I thought of how this child will have to, without choice, create a life where there was none, find a family where there was nothing before, build an entirely new existence whereas two days ago he was just a kid with his big bro coming home from a sweet-ass safari. And now he is the Little Prince, the desert mystery still breathing after a tragedy of epic proportions, this sleeping creature who has miraculously, tragically, painfully lived to open his eyes to the numbing experience of human loss on the most grand and awful scale imaginable.

DO you think his long-term sanity's possible? Will such great trauma at such an early age be too damaging to transcend? Or will this move him to be the remarkable man his family would have intended for him to be?
“A single event can awaken within us a stranger totally unknown to us. To live is to be slowly born.” ~ Saint-Exupery
I came home after class and sat at my Mac and looked, just looked, at this photo of this innocent sleeping creature who knows not what enormous battles he faces, and I read all the stories about the Dutch people coming together to make a life and a love for him where there is suddenly none, and I thought about how we create our own tribes, and how lucky I am to have such a rich and varied tribe here in this urban life of my own making, and how "family" is such an arbitrary, relative term, subject to change, subject to winds and crashes and deserts and changing heartbeats, and I thought about the little girl breathing her first breaths in Wisconsin this week, and how I'd wrap her up and draw her close to me like a tiny bird should I ever need to step in and do so, and realized it's all so small, all of it, really, the chatter and the mingling and the entertainment news and the weather reports, because here it is Saturday and across the world a child needs a family and people will be there, I hope, I pray, and then I cry again anew, but in joy this time, because look at how people have come together to love this child, to be there, from Japan and Libya and Seattle and South Africa, hundreds of strangers commenting here on what was intended to be the family's travel blog but now has ended up an inadvertent elegy, anonymous voices in all their many varied languages, most of which I can't even read, but all of which say the same essential things:
Anoniem zei

You are in the prayers of many.

GBU... be strong boy.

God has great plans for you, young man. May your heart be healed of this tragedy so you can do his will. Prayers for you and your family in heaven.

Trust that there is a reason that you have survived. It is not an accident.
I will be praying for you...
Denise, from California

Heel veel sterkte toegewenst aan Ruben en natuurlijk alle nabestaanden van de familie Assouw.

Grow to be the man your family knew you could be. Bring honour to them with a life you can be proud of. Stay strong.

Oramos por ti.

Yes, you have lost your loved ones but you will always have a family.....The World! Don't you ever think you are alone little angel!
Tonya USA North Carolina

god bless you. be strong little boy
love,
faye

Be Strong Little Brother. You survive with a purpose !!!
Ke Akua Hoomaikai Oe ....(God bless in Hawaiian)

Familie van Ruben, zorg goed voor dit prachtige jochie. VAYA CON DIOS.

Out of a tragedy comes a miracle. I join with the thoughts and prayers of many; for Ruben and those who will comfort him.

Be strong little one. Your parents and brother would want this tragedy to strengthen you, not define you. Go on and live the life they would wish for you.
All our hearts break for you.
Casey from Nashville, TN
And on, and on, and on...

How can we not be convinced of the power of the broken heart to overwhelm the sometimes-sorrow of being alive, when these beautiful voices and languages and spirits come together speaking words of family - brother, "little man," "sweet boy." The tenderness slays me. Might all those loving intentions continue to pour in from across the world, so that this Little Prince might know that this is not the end, it is merely the beginning of a "something" potentially creative and beautiful and new.
“Sorrow is one of the vibrations that prove the fact of living.”

“What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step.”

“For true love is inexhaustible; the more you give, the more you have. And if you go to draw at the true fountainhead, the more water you draw, the more abundant is its flow."

~ Saint-Exupery
Boy who survived Libya crash returns home (MSNBC)
Van Assouw family travel blog

Friday, May 14, 2010

Raw, adjective: 7. brutally or grossly frank: a raw portrayal of human passions.


Have you seen this remarkable new sculpture holding court in Civic Center?

I happened to be cutting past City Hall Wednesday morning and, distracted by the gorgeous day and the bluer sky, largely ignored the kerfuffle of people teeming around the plaza. Then, at a glance, I realized the lanky man in the open-collared shirt surrounded by schoolchildren was Gavin Newsom, and knew something big was going on.

Turns out they were installing this imposingly fabulous sculpture. "Three Heads, Six Arms" which has planted itself squarely across from the SF Public Library and the Asian Art Museum; it's arresting and powerful, a vision, an intrigue. Read more from the LA Times on the radical Chinese performance artist Zhang Huan who created it, the Buddhist symbolism it represents, and the SF Arts Commission's efforts to embrace public arts and to celebrate our relationship with our sister city, Shanghai.

I love it. And love the way Newsom, et al are continuing to find creative uses for this somewhat blighted public space. Remember the amazing Slow Food victory garden?

Chinese Artist Zhang Huan's "Three Heads, Six Arms" a Monumental Shift (LAT)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

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


"All of us somehow felt that the next battleground was going to be culture. We all felt somehow that our culture had been stolen from us – by commercial forces, by advertising agencies, by TV broadcasters. It felt like we were no longer singing our songs and telling stories, and generating our culture from the bottom up, but now we were somehow being spoon-fed this commercial culture top down. ...

It was the Situationists who first applied that spirit of anarchy to modern media culture. They were the first to understand how the media spectacle slowly corrodes the human psyche. They were, in a sense, the first postmodern revolutionaries.

To the Situationists, you are - everyone is - a creator of situations, a performance artist, and the performance, of course, is your life, lived in your own way. ... The Situationists believed that many times a day, each of us comes to a little fork in the path. We can then do one of two things: act the way we normally, reflexively act, or do something a little risky and wild, but genuine. We can choose to live our life as 'a moral, poetic, erotic, and almost spiritual refusal' to cooperate with the demands of consumer culture."

~ Kalle Lasn, from Culture Jam: How to Reverse America's
Suicidal
Consumer Binge - And Why We Must

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Raw, adjective: 11. unprocessed or unevaluated: raw data.


Are you breathing? I mean, really breathing??

Amazing how easily we take for granted this most basic of bodily functions. But somehow, when it's May and everything's pink and lush and ready to burst open, the "prana" part of "pranayama" becomes a little more clear. It's easier to remember to breathe when everything's fresh and new and green and blooming.

Revisit a few breathing lessons courtesy of this fantastic article on pranayama over at Shambhala Sun. I've always grudgingly gone along with pranayama breathwork in yoga, too impatient to really want to focus on the breath in lieu of some fast and fluid asana. But then last spring I had the opportunity to study with Richard Rosen, Iyengar expert and all-around impressive guy (and humble as hell, might I note), who writes here that
If asana is the flashy favorite child that gets all our attention in the States, pranayama is the drab sibling we nearly ignored. The average American student is blissfully unaware of the central role that pranayama plays in the yogic process.
So very true. As much as we'd like to overlook pranayama in favor of sexier asana work, it can't be done; well, not for someone who's taking the practice seriously, that is. When we're 80 and can't do Downward Dog with ease anymore, the pranayama will still be there, right next to our racing minds. So we might as well sit with it for a few minutes and try to figure out what the hell it all means.

This sharp round-up on pranayama compares breath practices in yoga and three schools of Buddhism. Read it for thoughts on citta and mindfulness, Theraveda and Zen, and a few choice words from rockstars Suzuki Roshi and Pema Chodron. Then, toward the end, discover how you might use the breath in tonglen practice "as a medium for developing loving-kindness and compassion, for awakening a caring heart:"
Sending out wisdom with the out-breath and taking in confusion with the in-breath are the essence of this brave practice. This meditation involves contemplating the suffering of others and breathing it in, while exhaling peaceful well-being to limitless beings.

This is a powerful practice that fully embraces the challenges of living the non-aggressive life of a bodhisattva. Breathing—and synchronizing the breath with this deliberate contemplative practice of radiating limitless goodness—becomes a means for opening the heart, widening the sphere of our care and concern, and strengthening the resolve to help others. In this way, breathing serves as a vital link to discovering and embodying a compassionate heart.
Beautiful. Get your breath on, already.

Breathing Lessons (Shambhala Sun)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Raw, noun: 13. unrefined sugar, oil, etc.


I've been baking again a lot in the last several weeks, spurred mostly by a cavalcade of birthdays and anniversaries and special events. It's reminded me of the power of the yoga of baking, the meditation inherent in the practice, the silence and the stillness and the stirring and the creation of something where there was nothing. And, most importantly, the seva involved in the whole tender process of imagining, crafting and setting an intention out of love, out of the desire to give, to serve, to share.

(How this cracks our hearts open, without us even realizing it!)

Yesterday marked the end of my 6-week spring Bhakti Flow teacher training, so I knew I'd want to bake something vegan and beloved and delicious to share with my beautiful yogis. For this most recent creation, I revisited the Vegan Chocolate Bundt recipe from my Yoga Journal article on the yoga of baking from last December. It's such a solid base from which you can deviate in really creative ways. For last winter's end-of-training potluck, I turned this recipe into a Chocolate Pomegranate Bundt with fresh pomegranate seeds and a pomegranate-molasses frosting; this time around, I played with a few ingredients and came up with this

CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY COCONUT CREAM BUNDT

Wasn't sure how the final product would turn out, but the resulting cake was moist, coconutty, and balanced. (Whew!) So round up your Chambord and your coconut milk, turn on the coffee pot, crank up the tunes, and let's get baking.

INGREDIENTS

1 c freshly brewed coffee (I used vanilla nut, but whatever's fine)
1/2 c coconut milk
1/4 c Chambord raspberry liqueur (sub more coffee if you don't want the alcohol)
2/3 c unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 1/2 c granulated sugar
1/3 c Canola oil
1/3 c applesauce
1/4 c cornstarch
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut extract
2 c whole wheat pastry flour or all-purpose white flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup fresh raspberries

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees; grease and flour your bundt pan. (I used my heart pan, because, hello, bhakti love!) Heat the coffee in a saucepan over medium heat until it comes to a simmer. Turn the heat down to low and whisk in coconut milk, Chambord, and cocoa powder until it has dissolved. Remove the saucepan from the heat and set aside to bring to room temperature.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, oil, applesauce, and cornstarch until the sugar and cornstarch dissolve, about 2 minutes. Mix in the extracts. Once the chocolate mixture has cooled a bit, stir that in as well. Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Beat until the batter is relatively smooth. Fold in flaked coconut, followed by the fresh raspberries.

Pour the batter into a prepared pan and bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake's center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 20 minutes. then invert the cake onto a serving plate and cool completely.

Vegan cakes can often be grainy and dry, so keep an eye on the oven to make sure you don't overbake it. The coconut and raspberries I've added to this recipe will really help to keep it moist, too.

Being the frosting whore that I am, I wanted to work up something rich. So I found this excellent basic recipe for a vegan chocolate frosting, and just modified it a bit:

1/2 cup vegan margarine (Earth Balance, etc.)
2 cups vegan powdered sugar
1 tbsp coconut extract
1 teas vanilla extract
2 tbsp vegan soymilk
1/3 cup cocoa powder (or more)
A dash of salt

Optional: add 1 tbsp coconut milk and 1 tbsp Chambord to give the icing more of a coconut-raspberry cordial feel. If you're not into the alcohol, skip it!

Soften the vegan margarine. (This would be a good step to do while baking the cake). Using an electric mixer, cream the sugar into the softened margarine. (Don't do it too early and piss off the neighbors. I learned this the last time around.) Then add the coconut and vanilla extracts, soymilk, cocoa powder, and salt. Mix well. If it is too thick, add a very small amount of soymilk, and if it is too thin, add more powdered sugar. Continue to mix until the frosting is light and fluffy.

I often find it helps to heat the frosting at a low level a bit on the stovetop as you whisk it. If you're feeling like something a little more adventurous, throw in the extra coconut milk and Chambord. I find they make all the difference.

Drizzle that action all over the cooled cake, and let it sit for a bit before you add the flowers. If you're short on time (or blooms), just sprinkle fresh coconut over the top for a nice contrast. I had a few stalwart phlox still thriving in the bouquet on my countertop, so included a few of those to contrast with the vibrant red buttercups. These ranunculas are actually decently poisonous (thanks, Google), but really only when consumed by livestock in enormous quantities, so I figured, hell, bring 'em on. Finished it out with a few sprigs of waxflowers and some willing pothos leaves from the babies on my mantel. Perfect.

And there she is. A bhaktilicious baking project for a seriously bhaktilicious crew. Big love.

The Joy of Baking (Yoga Journal)

Raw, adjective: 7. brutally or grossly frank: a raw portrayal of human passions.



In the Heights
opens here Wednesday! We are so endlessly excited.

Check out this preview from yesterday's Datebook. It provides a decent background for this Tony-winning musical, a sense of the Washington Heights neighborhood that inspired the show, and a few keen quotes from creator and original star Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Planning to be there every spare night I've got for the next five weeks. Go Shaun TC!!

In the Heights comes to San Francisco (SFGate)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Raw, adjective: 8. brutally harsh or unfair: a raw deal

You know yoga's the devil, right? That Satan's all over that shit? Especially what with the strange Sanskrit words and Hindu goddesses and the whole tight-clothes-moving-your-potentially-sexually-active-body and whatnot? A recipe for hellfire and damnation, fer sure.

Sweet baby jesus. My brilliant friend E shared this video for "Praise Moves: The Christian Alternative to Yoga" with me yesterday, and my jaw hit the floor within about 2 seconds of pressing Play. Still trying to peel it off the ground. And realizing I've got yet another idea for yet another book. Oh, the possibilities! The mind reels.

Watch it and weep.



PraiseMoves Original DVD - YouTube

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Raw, idiom, 14a: in the natural, uncultivated, or unrefined state: nature in the raw.



"As a poet I hold the most archaic values on earth . . . the fertility of the soil, the magic of animals, the power-vision in solitude, the terrifying initiation and rebirth, the love and ecstasy of the dance, the common work of the tribe. I try to hold both history and the wilderness in mind, that my poems may approach the true measure of things and stand against the unbalance and ignorance of our times."

~ Gary Snyder



(dear god, do i love gary snyder)

Raw, adjective: 7. brutally or grossly frank: a raw portrayal of human passions.

Peonies blooming, bugs whistling, blue sky-ing, cake baking, coffee percolating, cable car groaning, Nina Simone moaning. There are worse ways to spend an early morning in May.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Raw, adjective: 11. unprocessed or unevaluated: raw data.


Two recent yoga-in-the-news pieces that you'll want to curl up with:

First, from yesterday's Salon, an interview with magazine editor and journalism professor Robert Love, author of the new book, The Great Oom: The Improbable Birth of Yoga in America. There's a helluva lot of hubris involved with assuming your one history of yoga in the West is thorough, and from what I can tell, this book leaves out a lot; the study of the Americanization of yoga is rich, and there are so very many angles from which you can approach it. But take this one for what it is, dig into this eccentric Pierre Bernard creature who's featured in it, and glean from it what you can.

The interview touches on a few recent hot topics in American yoga, including commodification, doggy yoga, and - ahem - "yoga as home-wrecker." (Dangerous! I love it.) Author Love says that
It's fair to say that there was an American war against yoga in 1910 and the years afterward. Yoga had morphed from being the pastime of harmless eccentrics to something that was dangerous and subversive and possibly hurting the virtue of American women. It was based on some cases in which women gave away some amount of their fortunes to Indian swamis. In 1911, the Washington Post reported that the government was looking into this, conducting investigations. And certainly the fear that it was unleashing the sexuality of women. In the 1910s, the exoticness of it, the Orientalness of it, always came associated with loose sexuality. This wasn't American Christianity.
He goes on to address the vaguely "gauzy" spirituality of contemporary yoga, along with a few other tidbits on dogma and upstate New York. Check it out. (And zip through this excerpt from the first chapter while you're at it - thanks, NYT!)

Then mosey right on over to this sharp piece from last week's Sunday Times, which is actually referenced in the Salon interview. "Yoga's New Wave" addresses the upswing in "scrappy, populist, yoga-to-the-people" donation-based studios to counter the increasingly elitist emphasis on overpriced gear and rockstar teachers. I love this. I love this. I wish I could express how very much

I LOVE THIS.

Pet peeve's always been that notion that cute sports bras and adorable headbands make you a yogi. Fuck that. Sweat and breath and presence make you a yogi. Period. This "yoga-to-the-people" movement de-emphasizes the yoga "scene" and brings the focus back to the mat. Which is, of course, exactly where it should be. Get in there.

The Yogification of America (Salon.com)
Excerpt: "The Great Oom" (NYT)
A Yoga Manifesto (NYT)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

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


Today's Labor Day! Celebrate your work. Celebrate the workers around you. (Especially if you live in Arizona). Lift a glass to folks like Marx and Debs who went to bat for the little guys, the workers, the tired sweaty bodies making things happen. Our work is so much a part of who and what we are.

* * *

I've been reading a thumbed copy of Thomas Moore's Care of the Soul, salvaged from one of the boxes at the Florida house last month. Dude has some rich things to say about soulful work. In the chapter on "The Economics of Soul," Moore writes:
Sometimes we refer to work as an "occupation," an interesting word that means "to be taken and seized." In the past this word had strong sexual connotations. We like to think that we have chosen our work, but it could be more accurate to say that our work has found us. Most people can tell fate-filled stories of how they happen to be in their current "occupation." These stories tell how the work came to occupy them, to take residence. Work is a vocation; we are called to it. But we are also loved by our work. It can excite us, comfort us, and make us feel fulfilled, just as a lover can. Soul and the erotic are always together. If our work doesn't have an erotic tone to it, then it probably lacks soul, as well. (182)
Word up. Twist a few worker's rights songs into that Maypole dance later today.