Raw Rach: Raw, adjective: 11. unprocessed or unevaluated: raw data.
What is UP, dude?
I know. You thought I'd forgotten you.
Don't worry, I haven't.
It's just, well, life. It keeps getting in the way. We used to spend so much good time together, here on the couch, at my desk, sprawled on the floor. What can you do? Things happen.
And I have a whole approximately 15 minutes of not needing to be anywhere or do anything, in which I will happily give you the quickest stream-of-consciousness lowdown ever on what's new and exciting and not-exciting here in Pacific Standard Time on the downslope of Nob Hill before the summertime fog rolls in.
In no particular order:
- I'm in love. Even engaged. Yep, it's true. (Weird, right? I haven't believed in marriage since approximately 1996, an ethical stance which has only been deepened over the years thanks to degrees in sociology and gender studies and graduate work in queer theory and anecdotal observation watching the ways in which marriage often turns once-electric relationships into sexless suburban bourgeois hellholes. But that's another blog. While I'm meaning to write, I promise, I will.) Anyhoo — that has a little something to do with being fairly absent of late. Still trying to figure out the whole continue-to-be-productive-and-creative-whilst-in-a-great-relationship thing. You know? The cool thing about past flings being, er, less than perfect, was that I never wanted to be with them all the time. It was easy to say "piss off" and hunker down in front of my computer with my ratty books. This time around, not so much. Point Reyes calls. The ocean calls. My bed calls. Such is life.
- Crushing on Ashtanga, hardcore. Loving the rhythm and the pace, the cadence, the intensity, the athleticism. One of the many graces that my mister has wrought in my life has been an introduction to AstaYoga, a sweet gem of a studio down on 14th Street between Valencia and Guerrero. With it, I've had the chance to befriend and now work with many former students of Larry Schultz's. Learning so much, loving it all, digging the rhythms of this populist practice more and more every day. And if you pay attention in my classes of late, you'll see (and feel) that Ashtanga influence in what we do, too.
- Simplicity. I didn't go to Wanderlust this year, after attending (and yes, pretty much liking it) for the last two summers. Not going felt a little bittersweet and a lot relaxing. We stayed home and read on the front porch and ate greens and french fries and got enough sleep for once. I'm noticing the photo albums spawned from the sunny yoga festival in Tahoe last weekend and realizing even more how "over" the "yoga scene" I am feeling. And feeling the tug, more and more, of the desire to dig my heels into the solid ground and not let myself get lost in the self-promotional celebrity scene that the "yoga industry" is increasingly becoming. I don't want you to buy my shit — my podcast or my DVD or my branded mat. I just want to help you practice. I just want you to be able to breathe a bit. I just want to give you a few tools to get out of your head. Cool? I see all these wannabe celeb-ri-yogis hauling their asses all over the country in pursuit of fame and wealth, and it makes me sad. I'd rather be here serving a small local community, present long enough to see people's practices and bodies and minds evolve. That's the real yoga to me. Not the getting my face plastered on somebody's poster. That's another business completely.
- I'm tired. Yep, gonna say it out loud. Tomorrow is the final day of a 10-day advanced practitioner training at Urban Flow. I've been loving the time with my beloved Urban Flow family, the early morning chanting, the deep pranayama work, and the languid humid sweat dripping down the studio windows, how looooooong the days seem when I get up at 5am; I've not been loving driving in from Point Reyes at 4:30am to get here in time for the 6:30-8:30am practices. It's such a struggle to stay present in meditation when you're just trying not to embarrass yourself by snoring. And I've realized that while I adore practicing that early in the morning, it's been a great struggle to let go of that sacred few hours at the beginning of the day that are all mine. I've always been a morning person, having long loved the quiet early morning hours before most of the world wakes up, digging the silence and that sense of calm-before-the-storm. Those are my most productive hours for writing, for thinking, for practicing, for being really present in a kind of introverted way that allows me to get through the rest of the day. So it has been a challenge to see those few sacred hours disappear. And I'll admit that I'm ready to have them back. I figure, if you look to every experience like this as a teacher, you'll just learn more and more about what's best for your art, your heart, your life, your spirit. It's all practice. Though I think the mister will be more happy than anyone to have me not shuffling around the house making coffee at 5:30am.
- (What is an "advanced practitioner," anyway? Aren't we all beginners? So what does that mean? I think, somehow, that is the point of this training. Today Rusty talked about the 1st Sutra: Atha Yogah Anusasanam. "Now is the time for yoga to begin." Always and ever, brand new, becoming, beginning, open to stretching and learning and growing and letting go.)
- On a side note, I am loving rocking a lot of inversions and arm balances these days. If you're interested in learning how to fly in a very cardio-heavy practice, get thee to the Mission.
- Reading and loving Susan Cain's book on introversion. Feel as though it validates, well, my existence to this point, and the ways in which I find myself craving silence and solitude, and wishing for parties to end. So lovely to find a sense of community and affirmation in her profiles of folks who can be at once outgoing and quite private. There are few things that make me as happy as alone time with a book or in front of my computer or my keyboard. These spacious quiet moments are really what allow us room to grow and create.
- There's more, I know, but I'm tired and looking at the clock realizing I need to head out the door in just a few minutes. Teaching at OMpower tonight at 5:15 (come!) and Flying Yoga following that at 8 (come to both!). Could not be more grateful these days for the folks I meet in the studio on a regular basis.
- We had a great time at Gospel Flat farm for our first-ever Farm-To-Table yoga dinner with SolYoga Trips. Mickey was charming and oh-so-knowledgeable, we learned a ton about growing and weeding and crafting and fixing, and we practiced some sweet asana in the barn-turned-yoga-studio. All good.
- Wine tasting tomorrow with my dear friends Edd and Vicki and crew. For as long as I've lived in San Francisco (9 years next week — what?!?), I've not taken advantage of Napa's proximity as much as I really could've. I'm a lightweight these days (too much time on the mat and too little time bellying up to the bar — and did I mention those early mornings?), so a few wineries in, I should be suitably, erm, "loose." Mostly, I'm excited for sun and sky and nature and good company.
- Hey, buddies. Go to this. Next Thursday, August 9th. I'll be there.
Thank you for all that you are. Thank you for reading. I am always still a little surprised that anyone does.
We are always brand new. In every breath.