Form and Formless

Saguna (Form) and Nirguna (Formless)

Listened to a good podcast from Swami J’s site on saguna and nirguna. Boodi, your dive into yoga theory is appreciated. 🙂

As someone who’s always been zen-focused, I guess I have always taken a nirguna perspective on things spiritual. As it turns out, I like my art formless, too. In fact, this morning, I pulled out an old favorite: Formless: A User’s Guide. I love this book, because I find it quite evocative. It is chock full of the discourse of late 90s art criticism, AND it’s a Zone book (MIT Press, artsy fartsy division). But whereas the discourse appeals to me in its slipperiness, it also repulses me if I read it too closely. Both art criticism and psychoanalytic texts just BEG to be read glancingly, perhaps with Freud’s hovering attention. They are evocative as hell, but only if you don’t take them literally.


I have callouses on my triceps! Well, not really callouses. Dry skin patches, though. I have one on the outside of my right foot, too, which is where I scrape on jump backs. The arm ones really bother me, though. The skin is all rubbed kind of leathery. This is from holding my arms really close to my sides on chaturangas, of course. And exacerbated by wearing long-sleeved shirts during the winter — the fabric chaffs. I guess I need to get Under Armour tee shirts — that’ll solve the problem.

The Cop loves Under Armour. He is less amused when I call them his “underalls.” Similarly, he scowls when I call his yoga togs “manties.” I offered to pick up some Prana shorts for him, but he wants nothing to do with that. He sees how Prana has taken over my life, and I guess that serves as a warning for him.


My psoai are feeling pretty good after reading the Psoas Book. The “read text with brain/effect change with body” channel on my psoai seems to be quite well-tuned. Not so much the shoulders. The book I got is Relax Your Neck, Liberate Your Shoulders. Apparently my suggestibility is limited. As far as the neck and shoulders go, they seem to be saying, “Eff you!” to the whole program.

Truth be told, it’s hard for my brain to believe that my shoulders and neck can relax because I think of my head as a balloon, but maybe that’s just a lack of imagination on my part. There is actually a great image of how to imagine the traps as moving in different directions, but that’s it, so far, as far as strong suggestions go. I’ll read through the book again and see if I can get more traction the second time around. First time, it was mostly a case of feeling like the author is crazy if he thinks his gentle awareness exercises can relax THIS neck and THESE shoulders. Doesn’t he know I carry the weight of the world?


The other current book is The Pig Who Sang to the Moon. Oh man, what a terrific book.

The Cop came home the other evening and said he’d heard a vet talking on NPR (yes, it is amusing that conservative Cop loves NPR and yogi Karen is annoyed by it). The vet was talking about euthanasia of animals, which choked up The Cop. I told him that I’d bought my book on the emotional life of farm animals because I, too, have been thinking about the inner experiences of animals.

So here we are, Easter Sunday. I’m thinking about formlessness and silence and the consciousness of animals.

Practice was a little tough after a Moon Day and Saturday.

I’m going to make some spice muffins before The Cop wakes up.

There’s not much else to say.


5 Responses

  1. hi Karen
    happy chocolate bunny day.

  2. Hi DZM!! I can’t believe I found so much Bhagavad Gita stuff in Apple Store. I was looking through my Sanskrit music library and discovered I also have the entire Yoga Sutra chanted (19m about) by Srivatsa Ramaswami. There’s a bunch of stuff that was on a CD inside a book I bought – The Complete Book of Vinyasa Yoga. This guy was a student of Krishnamacharya for 30+ years but I’d never heard of him before I noticed the book online somewhere. Found the book impossible to use but whatever.

  3. Good morning, Karen:

    I recently discovered that I have calluses, too. On the tops of my ankles (jump throughs, do not lift them high enough) and on my butt from navasana. 😀

    To release my shoulders I use a jello egg (a firm one, such as the one that people use to strengthen the fingers and wrists). I lie down on the floor, on top of that egg, and roll it along one side of the spine, then do the other side. A little paiful, but releases the shoulder muscles like nothing else.

    Happy Monday!

  4. You think about “apple”, Linda thinks about “apple”, I think about “apple” … and the essence of our though is “applesness”. Vibration of word “apple” brings “image” encoded around “applesness”. Hahaha Such ignorance and stupidity!!!

    I think in words of my native language, and coincidently apple is completely different vibration in my native language. So it proceeds when someone says “apple” that I think about orange while you guys think about apple. 🙂

    I don’t even want to start discussion on the subject of particulars in relation to the Whole but I know that parts can not make the Whole. It is so simple, for the Whole particulars are not.

    But criticizing for the sake of criticizing is not my way. I have the answers too. Word “apple” (if there is no apple around) will bring image (as a thought) EXACTLY the same as you have seen it FIRST TIME in your life. You have learned what “apple” is. Creation of thought-form (image) is done by power of Association. This power can be broken by giving attention to image of the apple. (Then red apple changed color to green etc…) There is no such thing as “applesness”.

  5. More words: “finger,” “moon.”


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