Backbends, teaching, organization, letting go of things

The Cop still isn’t home from the night shift. Called him when I got up to check in. He’ll call when he’s finally done with all of his paperwork and we’ll go out to breakfast. Sounds like his Saturday night was quite a trip. So as I’m making my coffee this morning, I look at the refrigerator. There are two pictures Volleyball Guy has taken of me doing urdhva dhanurasana. Just before I’d gone into the kitchen to make coffee, I read a few blogs, and a couple of people had images of their backbends. I looked at the photos on the refrigerator and thought, “Hey, why am I so wound up about this? My backbends look like everybody else’s!” And it struck me how much I’ve been striving, feeling like something’s wrong, that I have to get my act together. This is kind of funny, because I can usually keep things in perspective. Okay, Karen, it’s like enlightenment. You already understand, as the Kwan Um zennists would say. You’re already there. I don’t need to feel like this is an enormous weakness.


Teacher training

When I first started doing yoga, about seven years ago (before I discovered Ashtanga), it struck me that it might be fun and/or instructive to take a teacher training course. Nothing ever came of that, because I was saving for My Gift’s college fund for one thing, and very busy at work for another. I put down the idea of training and teaching. Clearly it’s an enormous responsibility. I taught poetry workshops for a while, back in California, and let me tell you, teaching is hard work! But here I am, two years into my Ashtanga practice, and suddenly I’m thinking about it again. Now that Volleyball Guy and Sanskrit Scholar have their own studio, I wonder if they’ll offer teacher training. Yesterday the British Director mentioned going to Tim Miller’s training next year. I think I may want to do that. I don’t know if this is borne out of an actual desire to teach, or if it’s just wanting to learn more. I don’t suppose it matters either way. I can go ahead and do some training, and then see how I feel about how to proceed.

Organization: Preserving the Empty Mind

Thank you, Inside Owl, for your mention of GTD. I’d never heard of it, but it sounds somewhat similar to what I’m trying do these days. I think of it as a work practice. I ordered the book, because if he has some good insights, I want to hear ’em. The way I have things set up now, I’m always sifting out action items and next steps, figuring out what belongs to me and what belongs to other departments. There are so many details to think about all the time. It’s actually been an ongoing zen consideration: how to deal with so many things, how to keep them in perspective, and also how to keep them out of my mind. It is almost impossible to have a still mind when all you can think about is the whirl of things to be done. I think I manage pretty well, but am eager to hear if this guy’s got some more ideas. The voice recorder/transcription software I purchased last week was purchased because I realized that everything was starting to run together. I’d be making notes about work and making notes about blogging and making notes about things to do in real life. It seemed like I needed to up my organizational game a bit. When the software arrived, The Cop asked if I was going to charge it back to work. It hadn’t even occurred to me to do that — I ordered it because I need it for my head. My goal is to empty my mind of all the stuff. There is something about using technology to still the mind that truly delights me.

Hanging on to things

With this week being a vacation week, I decided to get the Asatoma tattoo. Of course, once I started thinking about it, I started looking at the lotus tattoo on my shoulder, which is not a great tattoo to begin with, and which is pretty washed out. I started thinking about what else it should be. I had a million ideas. I thought about Kwan Yin, I thought about doing something to the lotus, some design kind stuff, I thought about a Buddha. Then I just decided to leave it alone. This is surprising because back in the day, I would have attached to the need to change it, and I would not have been able to put the notion down. I would’ve had to decide what it would be, where to go, when I was going to go, etc., etc. Now, though, I just kind of think about it a little, then go “meh,” and put it down.


8 Responses

  1. Let us know how it goes with the GTD! It’s something I got from the hackers in my life (along with the Dvorak keyboard, which I’d recommend if you hadn’t already leapfrogged into VR, which scares me). Anyway, programmers esp. like it.

    Interesting about using technology to still the mind. Maybe that’s what AI can give us: freedom to contemplate instead of calculate. Astangis have this sophisticated ability to shift between frequencies, but what if daily life could be more like meditation retreat…?

  2. They have their own studio? Since when? Where is it? That’s really interesting news.

  3. As of July 1! Located at 92nd and Shea. I’m so excited. I really hope it works out well for them.

  4. I love the Dvorak keyboard (in theory, never tried one in real life). Not sure why programmers love it, but as a poet, I love the idea of having the vowels all together and in the left hand. Nouns, especially, are all about how the vowels mix with the consonants — and it’d be more like cooking to mix the ingredients from a Dvorak keyboard.

    Why afraid of VR?

    And as far as making work more like a retreat goes: on my one day of telecommuting each week, I sit down, clear my head, consider strategy and get a bit of a grasp on the big picture. The other four days: tactical, tactical, tactical. Ugh. I guess most business is conducted this way: 99% doing, 1% meditation (if even that much). No wonder it can feel so soulless.

  5. DV is sweet. It’s like the wind! And poetical, to look at the querty board and watch completely other patterns emerge as you press it. I’d never thought about the vowel thing, but yes, the segregation helps equalize L/R participation. For some reason this reminds me that the reason my Hebrew sucks is that I cannot get my head around vowels as mysterious accentual afterthoughts instead of letters per se. Not sure if Sanskrit works like that.

    VR: not tactile. I read your VR post and was like: how’d she make a coherent paragraph without shaping it with her hands? You are too pomo for me, DZM.

  6. 92nd and Shea is much closer to my parents’ house and my sister’s, than the Starbucks of Yoga. Thank G…, I don’t need to go there anymore. Do VG and SS have a name? And/or a website?

  7. Yeah, no more Starbucks! The website is: There’s a link on the right side of this site, too. Just think, next time you visit, it’ll be at an “all Ashtanga, all the time” studio 🙂

  8. i have to give a presentation on a favourite subject/pastime. Obviously I ‘am going to go for Yoga, reason to persuade this particular group of couch potatoes (a few of them) that yoga will & does unite the mind with the body. I have great visions of Iyengar mosiacs in ‘power point’ lots of colour, OM symbols in every format, the flowing sequence of asanas postures on my flip chart & I have 5 minutes to make the presentation. How to convince the group of the benefits of spiralling the torso towards to sky & binding the limbs in asanas, such opening up sketal and re-aligning the joints can do wonders in completing course work.

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