“One day I found out that personal history was no longer necessary for me and, like drinking, I dropped it… Little by little you must create a fog around yourself; you must erase everything around you until nothing can be taken for granted, until nothing is any longer for sure, or real. Your problem now is that you’re too real. Your endeavors are too real, your moods are too real. Don’t take things so for granted. You must begin to erase yourself.”
Carlos Castaneda

Journey to Ixtlan

A Lousy but Illustrated Samasthiti

n

I haven’t been writing much over the last few days and probably will be writing less in the coming days (if not beyond that) because I am caught up in an experiment. I though to write a few words about the experiment.

About two weeks ago I began playing with an idea on how to construct on-screen Yoga asana sequences on screen. It worked – you can see a demo and explanation of it here. It uses a relatively small Javascript to replace written asana names in an HTML document with correlated images.  I started using that to document one of my practice sequences (I really should complete the practice I started on – it’s almost complete) – and as I was doing that I began to push the idea further – because I still wasn’t satisfied with the process and the result.

Now I am playing around with some more complex Javascript. I have created a method of describing a two dimensional posture  using anatomical constructs such as limbs, joints and articulations. I spent the last week staring at stick figures and thinking of a way to transform them into code and then writing up some theoretical code based on my conclusions. Tonight I completed a first round of coding – I have gone from theory to a visual result – a messed up Samasthiti:

It’s a completely messed up visual result but it has a few great things going for it: (1) it exists; (2) there is a head; (3) there are 14 limbs (which is the number I was planning for). I hope over the next few days to debug and review some of the calculations that led to this result and to achieve a much better one (granted this result should be pretty easy to top).

If/when this works it will be possible to easily:

  • Create endless variations of two-dimensional postures by simply dragging joints around on the screen.
  • Build a generic quality online asana library that teachers and students can easily tailor for specific needs.
  • Construct practice sequences that can be illustrated for both on screen and printing resolutions.
  • Enable practitioners to maintain a log of their evolving practices.
  • Enable teachers to create and share online sample practices.
  • and much more …

There are still many steps to take until this becomes something usable, but for now a messed up samasthiti is satisfying progress for me 🙂

Posted in Yoga, Yoga & I | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

Limitations

n

I’ve been playing around with stick-figures that are used to describe Yoga asana (postures). I am experimenting with an application that will make it possible to easily illustrate quality stick figures – and then use those figures to describe practice sequences (here’s an example).

Inevitably this is leading me into an in depth examination of movement. So naturally I gravitated toward looking at movement – and that provided me with a basic model. But the more I looked the more I realized that I should be looking not just at movement – but at limitations as well.

Limitations define the boundaries of movement.

Limitations make it possible to have and hold posture with little effort.

Limitations create unique individuals.

Limitations give us direction.

Limitations sustain us by creating a point of departure from which movement is possible.

Limitations are both fluid and rigid.

Limitations define us and challenge us.

Posted in Asana, Basic Movement, Expanding, inside, Yoga, Yoga & Life | You are welcome to add your comment

Dear Child of Mine

n

Thank you for visiting with me today. It seems that recently you have been spending more time with Andreea. I think she will be happy and relieved to hear that we are also communicating. She is sometimes saddeded and frustrated that I am not a part of your conversation. She sometimes mistakes it to mean that I am not with her and you.

There is a popular saying that “when you are ready a teacher will appear”. If that is the case then I have already been blessed in this lifetime as I’ve been gifted with teachers and teachings. Yet there is still an unquenched thirst for something more. Sometimes I wonder if this is the nature of thirst – to keep appearing and to keep demanding quenching.

In one of my recent conversations with Andreea you came up. I realized that I was taught that being a parent is a responsibility – that a parent needs to take care of a child. I now believe that to be half a truth at best. Though as a parent I will be responsible for your physical and mental well being, I now recognize that it is you who carries the heavier burden. You come to us as a teacher. You are strong and brave enough to bind yourself to our indulgences and wise enough to show us the way towards something better. I do not have a doubt that you will escape the inevitable chains we will place upon you, I can only hope that we will be able to keep up and follow you.

I now know that it isn’t up to me to “bring you into the world”. It is your call to make, it is your choice, it is your responsibility to carry us forward. I can understand your hesitation. I am not sure I would choose me 🙂 But I can honestly say we are doing the best we can to act with clear and loving intentions in everything we do, including you. This life has so far been dominated by difficult lessons in patience and faith. These are now a great support for us in our relationship with you.

We can feel you near us. You are with us. We trust you to know when the time is right to join us in body. We are looking forward to finally meeting you.

Love
Ronen

Posted in Expanding, inside | You are welcome to add your comment

Preparing for Practice

n

Example1: Then

My first meeting with Yoga was what I now think of as “play Yoga” – it was of mediocre quality – but it was good enough to hold me and eventually lead me to something better. Shortly after I met my teacher and was introduced to quality practices, I took on, in addition to weekly classes, private lessons which led to daily practices. The practices were very rewarding and I practiced a lot – at one point I was practicing two long practices – one in the morning and one in the evening.

At the time I was working a full time job and spending ~2.5 hours driving every day (I lived in Raanana and worked in Jerusalem). To maintain my practices I had to create and stick to an organized routine that made it possible for me to arrive on-the-mat ready for practice.

Evening practices required attention and planning. I wanted to be on the mat at a given time with an empty stomach. The first piece of the puzzle was time – arriving and leaving work at a fixed time (more or less). The second piece of the puzzle was food. At the time my eating habits were also changing – which ultimately meant bringing home-cooked food with me to work (I eventually purchased a small microwave oven for the office). My constitution requires that I eat frequently (every few hours) and not too much. I also had to stop taking food an hour or two before leaving the office – so I would arrive on the mat with an empty stomach. My meal-times were not perfectly fixed but they were anchors in my day. Work and meetings populated the time windows that remained between arriving, meals and leaving.

Morning practices were fairly easy to accommodate because they came before everything else. I would get up at ~04:00am, practice and be out the door by 06:00am. Yet getting up in the morning fresh for practices was dependent on the previous day. The qualities of the previous day, the quantity and quality of sleep all affected the next morning practice and the day that followed it in an never ending loop. My intention was to create a constantly improving loop of life and practice.

Writing these words I realize more then ever that I wasn’t really engaged with my job. Being on-the-mat was much more enticing and rewarding then being off-the-mat.

Example2: Now

I am now in a transition period. I am slowly building my way toward a regular practice. The challenge is very different, because I exist in a very different reality – there are no clear borders between work and life – my life includes activities which may be considered to be work. I am free and I am responsible for the shape and content of my days.

I am currently shifting from one morning practice to two practices: one in the morning and one in the evening (the practices have different and complementary qualities). My current challenge and focus is on the morning practice – I still haven’t found a smooth way into it (I had a formula a while back, but it isn’t working for me now). I get up fairly fresh and sharp but both my body and mind are still “stiff” – and so I prefer to make a transition, to let the energy start flowing before practicing.

I used (and still prefer) to avoid the computer in the morning hours. Reading a book with a cup of tea used to do the trick. But recently sitting to read leaves me with a heaviness that inhibits practice. So I am now giving the computer another chance. It works best if I have some fresh writing to do – but that isn’t always the case. So sometimes I do some catching up on reading some articles that have accumulated in my browser.

I can name two risks to being at the computer. If I get caught in front of it for too long the practice window closes – life noises (though I live in a small village – it too comes to life), heat (summer in Israel is hot) and hunger are some example of obstacles that arise. Another risk is distraction – the computer offers easy access to many potential distractions – sometimes all it takes is one annoying email that clings and dominates my mind, making practice difficult or ineffective.

Writing these words I realize that a solution may be right under my nose. I haven’t played my Shakuhachi for some time (it is a meditative instrument – and I haven’t felt ready for it) and I miss it. Maybe this space in the morning can be a good place for Shakuhachi?

A Life Practice

For me, the seemingly simple act of preparing for practice has been a foundation in building a bridge between practice on-the-mat and life off-the-mat. People often come to Yoga expecting it to balance out and improve their life. There is that, but my experience has been that the greater effect is the other way around – balancing and improving life is a key to a better Yoga practice. It is a subtle and effective way of letting Yoga reach beyond the mat and insinuate itself into a wider life-consciousness.

Posted in inside, Shakuhachi, Yoga, Yoga & I, Yoga & Life | You are welcome to read 2 comments and to add yours

Moderate

n

It’s 10:10am and I am posting about a 04:04 length video 🙂 TED isn’t what it used to be so I was pleased to come across this short and concise talk about becoming a weekly vegetarian. The underlying formula of moderation is a great formula to apply to any change you wish to make – a few, milder and gradual steps will usually get you further then one giant leap. Enjoy 🙂

Posted in AltEco, Enjoy, inside, outside | You are welcome to add your comment