“The reason you keep on coming back to see me is very simple; every time you have seen me your body has learned certain things, even against your desire. And finally your body now needs to come back to me to learn more. Let’s say that your body knows that it is going to die, even though you never think about it. So I’ve been telling your body that I too am going to die and before I do I would like to show our body certain things, things which you cannot give to your body yourself… So let’s say then that your body returns to me because I am its friend.”
Carlos Castaneda

Journey to Ixtlan

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-09-05

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How to be Alone

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Fantastic video by Tanya Davis brought to my attention by Grant who constantly decorates my RSS reader with inspiring bits of beauty.

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Franky Strikes a First Pose

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So after almost a month (I can’t believe it’s already been a month!) of tinkering around with anatomy, logic, trigonometry and javascript programming – the illustrated Yoga figure that just stood there can now be moved fairly well into postures using just the mouse (much more fun then lists of numbers).

Joints are used as interactive control points that can be set to allow/prevent rotation and/or movement and then the anatomically correct illustrated figire responds accordingly. There’s no floor consciousness or gravity and there’s still quite a bit of testing and refinement to do – but it’s coming around very nicely 🙂 Soon, I hope, online for you to move with your mouse 🙂 and then …

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What I Like About Intense Yoga Practices

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Once in a while life gifts me with a special on-the-mat Yoga practice session. In my memory they are the most intense rewarding practices I have experienced – they are an event apart from all others. Yesterday I gained some insight into what they are and why I have a fond relationship with them.

What Are Intense Yoga Practices?

This is a great opportunity to communicate and clarify what, for me, makes an intense practice:

  • A consistent and peaceful presence throughout the practice.
  • Full breathing – ujjayi seems to take on a different sound – as it if resonates in a large and hollow chamber. Breath is never short though constantly challenged.
  • A direct experience of correct and sustainable effort in which full and deep movement is achieved without any need for pushing (in body or mind) and with relatively short rests between postures.
  • Excellent range of movement and responsiveness in the body. A wonderful dance of flexibility supported by strength.
  • Tendency towards static stay in posture.
  • A clear sense of build-up throughout the practice.
  • A crown posture which lends itself to infinite refinment and exploration.
  • Intense heat most of which is contained within.
  • A pulsing throughout the body – very prominent in savasana.
  • An asana practice that practically demands Pranayama.
  • A Pranayama practice in which time stands still, in which the breath swings smoothly and feels like it can go on forever.
  • A Pranayama which ends in such stillness and presence so that meditation is already there without there being any sense of transition.
  • A quiet and still mind with an occassional tempting sensation of swinging or dizziness.
  • A clear ringing in the ears of the flute within.
  • Tears and a smile.

What I Like About Intense Yoga Practices

What’s not to like? 🙂 Well there are plenty of superficial things to like – things that have undesired effects on the ego: (1) immediate inflation in the short term which then transforms into (2) irrelevant expectations in the long term. But there is something that does go deeper – and again it is found off-the-mat.

Intense practices are not some sudden and unexplained explosion of untapped physical abilities. I have recently written about some preparations I make in my life off-the-mat to support my practices on-the-mat. The short term effects of these preparations are better practices.  Intense practices occur when I sustain a combination of good living off-the-mat and good practice on-the-mat over a period of time:

  • Intense practices indicate to me that I’ve been doing something right – that I’ve achieved a good existence over the past days or weeks.
  • Intense practices confirm my life habits and beliefs more then they do my physical qualities.
  • Intense practices remind me to appreciate the choices I have made.
  • Intense practices empower and direct me in facing doubts that may come at me in the future.
  • Intense practices demonstrate to me that Yoga is indeed an encompassing and whole experience.
  • Intense practices teach me to appreciate the common day-to-day practices where I perform uninteresting tasks of  maintenance that keep me running smoothly.
  • Intense practices are then an occasional visit to a race track where I can open-up my engine to full throttle and appreciate and enjoy the great ride that I am 🙂
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What’s Happening on my Left?

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I’ve been observing a bunch of things on the left side of my body – so I thought to pool them together, hoping that in time it will reveal something to me:

  • During the last two morning practices, when I first bent forward I felt a pressure-pain in the vicinity of my left temple.
  • Though it’s not with me at the time of this writing, the last (recurring) discomforts I had in my lower back presented on the left side. When this was happening I noticed that, for exampe, in standing forward bends, when my hands touched the floor, the left hand would be pulled closer to the body (unless I compensated for it) as if there was a tension pulling it in
  • In warrior posture variations, when my left leg is forward (stretched on the back side) – I have less range of movement then on the opposite side.
  • In trikonasana (triangle pose) bending down to the right (which stretches the left hip) is limited (in comparison to the left side stretch) – there is a natural tendency to introduce a slight forward bend to accommodate the limitation. I therefore go down lower and focus more on opening the chest – usually by working the left shoulder blade.
  • In assymetric seated forward bends I have less opening-range in the left then I do in the right hip.
  • My left shoulder and it’s surroundings have known tensions and pains in recent months (projected as far as my heart in Pranayama practices when breath is focused into the chest).
  • In Pranayama my left nostril is more blocked then my right nostril.
  • In seated practices (pranayama / meditation) there is a subtle pull of the body to the left.

Left is feminine, moon, ying …

I miss creating, most of creative energies are currently being expressed at the computer …

As leftover money diminishes, faith is recurringly challenged …

Fear lives alongside prosperity and appreciation …

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