““You’re chained to you reason … Understanding is only a very small affair, so very small.”
Carlos Castaneda

A Separate Reality

Playing DVD’s on Ubuntu


I took it for granted that DVD’s should play on Ubuntu … and sadly discovered earlier today that they, by default, often don’t. If you have a favorite player and it’s not working don’t bother trying other players – they probably won’t work either.

I didn’t research to deep into the cause of the problem (it seems to have something to do with zones and to have legal repercussions which prevent Ubuntu from making it work out-of-the-box) – but I was happy to find an easy solution (here) to make it work. It takes to command line commands to do correct it:

sudo apt-get install libdvdread4

sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread4/install-css.sh

… and you are good to go 🙂 enjoy!

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In Pranayama Quality Trumps Quantity


Pranayama is the most regular practice I’ve taken up since returning to a regular morning practice routine. I am currently practicing once a day with my current morning practice – where the crown posture involves a krama on the exhale (exhaling 8 seconds, holding 4 seconds, exhaling 8 more seconds and holding for another 4 seconds).

I’ve noticed a recurring pattern over the last two weeks. The right nostril has better flow and less congestion and facilitates a much smoother exhale. The left side is more congested (though improving) and there is more tension and resistance on the exhale.

A more prominent expression of tension is at the end of the second exhale and manifests as a shortness of breath – as if there is just enough to complete the exhale. It is interesting to note that this does not necessarily effect the second hold whicih may be peaceful even following an effort on the exhale.

A more subtle sign of the tension is in the first part of the exhale. In my mind there is an awareness that I need to “preserve” my breath and let it out in such a way that there will be enough left over after the first part of the exhale for the second part – it’s a somewhat economic thinking. Yet my experience has been that this awareness is counter-productive. Trying to “hold on” to enough breath simply does not work. In fact it gives birth to tension since the very thought of “holding a reserve” carries a subtext of “expecting a shortage” – and mind delivers both.

Instead of focusing on “holding it in” when I feel tension arising I focus on quality of breath. In practice this means making the breath more soft and steady – refining the flow. This affects both mind and breath. Mind responds to softening and relaxes some of it’s hold on rationing the breath. At the same time a refined flow of breath actually leaves more breath available and in doing so achieves what an assertive mind failed to achieve.

So the right nostril offers a meditative and flowing experience and the left nostril offers a teaching experience. They work well together 🙂

Posted in Pranayama, Pranayama Journal, Yoga, Yoga & I | You are welcome to add your comment

Mandate of Infinite Variety


I’ve been re-reading a book I’ve had for many years Chaos: Making a New Science (which is now offered in a newer edition). It’s a different read this time – I am seeing Yoga & Samkhya and spiritualism all over it. The book tells the story of a young branch of science & mathematics that was developed in the 20th century

Anecdote1: Insolvable Equations – Mathematicians didn’t take to Chaos because it dealt with equations that can’t be solved. My education included a heavy dose of mathematics and I can confirm, as the book suggests, that everything I was taught was ultimately about solving equations. The thing is that equations that can be solved represent a very small part of the field of mathematics – most of it is made up of equations that cannot be solved. That’s where the magic of Chaos was hidden.

Anecdote2: It’s Just Mathematics – Meanwhile physicists didn’t really take an interest in it because it had no real-world applications – it was “just mathematics”. It took a dedicated mathematician to create and experiment for 2 years with a 1 millimeter sized capsule as a testing apparatus to unknowingly provide a real-world example of chaos at work. So, the field of chaos was dormant for many years until eventually some scientists and mathematicians begun stumbling on to strange discoveries … and eventually on to each other.

Anecdote3: Exploring instead of Solving – The mathematics of Chaos is founded on processing equations rather then solving them. Any equation, no matter how complex or unsolvable can be plugged with numbers to see what happens (sometimes using fairly basic math skills). In Chaos such a process of calculation is executed over and over until beautiful images appear carrying illusive and inspiring messages.

Anecdote4: Simplicity describes Infinity – A wondrous quality of these images-of-chaos is that they can be described and precisely defined with very little information (less then half a page’s worth of text) – yet when they are processed they lead to patterns of infinite complexity. Following is one such image image created from one of the most famous mathematic mechanisms called the Mandelbrot Set (<- checkout this link for more cool images or search google images) named after another dedicated mathematician that was ignored for many years:

But what prompted me to write this post was the following quote from the book:

… used a brilliant chain of new mathematics to prove that every floating molecule does indeed hang on a filigree that binds it to all the rest, a delicate web springing from tiny outcroppings on the main set … The mathematicians proved that any segment – no  matter where and no matter how small – would, when blown up by the computer microscope, reveal new molecules, each resembling the main set and yet not quite the same. Every new molecule would be surrounded by it’s own spirals and flame-like projections, and those inevitably, would reveal molecules tinier still, always similar, never identical, fulfilling some mandate of infinite variety, a miracle of miniaturization in which every new details was sure to be a universe of its own, diverse and entire.

Doesn’t that sound like mathematicians dancing around Brahman?

Posted in Books, Enjoy, Expanding, inside, Yoga & Life | You are welcome to add your comment

What to do when Firefox Crashes and DOES NOT Restore Properly


It happens, Firefox crashes. Fortunately most of the time it will automatically restore all of your open tabs for you. Unfortunately, sometimes it comes up after a crash without restoring your open tabs or offering you an option to do so. If you’ve numerous windows with many tabs open this can hurt.

Fortunately there is an easy fix. In the address bar simply type in this address:


This should cause the restore session dialogue to appear and you are good to go.

WARNING: If, before doing this, you’ve already opened new tabs, whatever you do, DO NOT close Firefox. Firefox keeps the information on your open tabs in a file. When you close Firefox it updates that file with the windows and tabs that are currently open – and doing that will overwrite the information you are trying to restore. Leave the windows and tabs you have open as they are. Complete the restoration of your previously opened tabs and then close what you don’t need.

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Yoga For Everybody


I’ve been meaning to write about this book for sometime, but I keep putting off (for some good reasons and for some lesser reasons). But Marianne asked today about a book recommendation and this is what I wanted to recommend … so thank you Marianne for the final push. I can either write a lot about this book or a little … I’m going to go with the short version for now (the intensity of a long version is one of the reasons it hasn’t been written yet).

There are many books that have the same name or carry a similar message “Yoga for Everybody” – so why this one? I haven’t read all the books so I can’t really offer an objective opinion … so I am to do something we are often told not to do: “judging books by their covers”.

This book doesn’t have on its cover:

  • An image of a posture that “everybody” most certainly CAN NOT do.
  • An image of a sexy blond in tight-fitting clothes performing a posture that very few people can actually do.
  • Superficial symbolism that has nothing to do with Yoga.
  • Cliche’s and promises of easy or immediate physical or spiritual salvation.

This book does have on it’s cover:

  • Images of day-to-day people in unimpressive (almost ridiculous looking :+) postures.
  • An honest and informative description of what’s inside – routine practice!
  • My teachers name.
  • … and though you can’t see it “on the cover”, it comes in spiral-binding and an extended folded cover so you can easily place it in a standing position beside your yoga mat when you actually want to practice what’s inside.

The book is wonderfully aligned with the teachings I have received in person. It describes in sensible and accessible language basic principles of practice. It introduces, from the start, breathing with movement. Postures are described with emphasis on how to make them effective & safe and with variations that everybody can do! The postures are also integrated into sequence practices that are gradually developed throughout the book. The book is filled with excellent images of real people doing real postures that everybody can really do!

You can get Yoga for Every Body on Amazon 🙂

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