“… when confronted with unusual life situations… A warrior acts as if nothing had ever happened, because he doesn’t believe in anything, yet he accepts everything at its face value.”
Carlos Castaneda

Tales of Power

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-12-20

  • @yogawithluc what is love in this context? if love=attachment then love=misapprehension? in reply to yogawithluc #
  • @ronenk [re:Retweet] u (who r with character) r not interesting to twitter who r after millions of characterless ppl: http://bit.ly/81ShkK in reply to ronenk #
  • אם אתם עוברים לגור בבית עם קמין, תשמרו את הארגזים – חומר הדלקה מעולה #
  • todays #yoga #asana article: what does directional breathing teach us about bending the back http://bit.ly/7vuAdD #
  • RT @ronenk זה אני. היי, אני רונן. #
  • RT אני @NaamaSegal בוקר טוב. אני מחלקת לבבות. מי רוצה אחד? #
  • @NaamaSegal namaste in reply to NaamaSegal #
  • תמיד יש על מה לברך ותמיד יש על מה להתבכיין… פשוט צריך לבחור #
  • woke up at 07:30 in the zone… it took 3 days … pretty amazing! http://bit.ly/4CWAGA #
  • behind (technical) the scenes of live performance still photography: http://bit.ly/87QZ8o #
  • ant architecture: http://bit.ly/e7Li3 #
  • למה? למה? למה? #
  • מקשיב ליוסי בנאי שר ג'ורג' בראסנס – אחת ההופעות הקסומות ביותר שראיתי בחיי #
  • packing for 2 weeks in snowy Romania, @andreea_hl is waiting for me :) #
  • "בלי גסויות קשה לחיות, מלה גסה זו פרנסה" בראסנס/בנאי #
  • RT @yogawithluc @iamronen I like to think love = liberation [me: and I prefer to express it in actions then in word] #
  • it's too easy to say the words "I love you", I prefer saying it with my body – hugging is a great way! #
  • upcoming 2010 pilot launch: MoodWave a … different … way to meet people on twitter http://www.moodwave.me #
  • @NaamaSegal מה קרה שפתאום שמת לב? in reply to NaamaSegal #
  • @NaamaSegal להנשים, לתת להם נשמה? ושוב אני שואל – מה קרה פתאום? ככה משום מקום צץ הרצון להעניק חיים? in reply to NaamaSegal #
  • @NaamaSegal הנשימה ביישנית… כשלחוץ היא נלחצת… אולי קצת רכות ומרחב? in reply to NaamaSegal #
  • sometimes, like now, I am baffled by the animosity I have toward WordPress community despite the respect and admiration I have 4 WordPress #
  • stop, think of someone, 1st person to pop in your mind, send them a soft warm presence, stop, go on with what you were doing #
  • speaking with @andreea_hl on skype, she has a huge smile on her face after seeing snow and christmas lights in Romania after so many years #
  • יש מצב שמתישהו ביום חמישי תמצאו אותי ברחוב ברעננה מנגן בשקוהצ'י http://bit.ly/5L2tOZ #
  • live report: "UML 1.4 Specification: Summary" burning in the fireplace #
  • live report: "UML 1.4 Specification: Semantics vol1+2… and oh fuck it, tossed it all in… burning in the fireplace #
  • for weeks now I'm sitting in front of a pile of Yoga books and, for perspective, The Cat in the Hat :) #
  • @ronenk אתה יושן לפעמים? in reply to ronenk #
  • Hello @AnnSeeYEOH welcome to here :) thank you @CambridgeYoga for the intro #
  • not just design! have clear intents RT @KathySierra *everyone* should read "Designing with Intent" http://bit.ly/75bdKn (via @frogdesign) #
  • mastery is subtle & delicate, when it manifests it's just barely present #
  • @shanacarp please take me off the list you put me on :) thank you! #
  • the word Shalom in hebrew comes from a root word Shalem – which can be translated as complete or whole #
  • I am going away for 2+ weeks (to a far off-line land) – be complete – Shalom! #

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Behind Live Stills


Live Stills is a technique that grew out of my work with Shahar – introducing photography into the settings of a live performance. Technically it enables me to transmit still-images from my camera to a computer (using a wireless network) from which they can be projected. Artistically this has enabled me to partake in performances, working on stage with the performers while images are projected directly into the space.

[slidepress gallery=’behind-live-stills’]


  • This article covers numerous technical issues. It is based on my experimentations and my limited technical expertise.
  • To this day I am using the same software and hardware that I originally used 3 years ago. This is a technological lifetime – most of the technologies have been replaced by newer, and usually improved technologies.
  • It took me much trial and error to create a stable work configuration.
  • I was working on a very limited budget so I did not try different kinds of equipment which may have yielded different/better results.
  • If you are setting up your environment I suggest you take time to experiment and play around until you find a configuration that is accessible and relevant for your work.


The camera I use is the Nikon D200. The main benefits of the camera were, for it’s time, the high ISO performance and fast auto-focus. I shoot in photographically challenging conditions – people moving unexpectedly in shifting light conditions ranging from low light to extremely high contrast.

Wireless Transmitter

Attached to the camera is a WT-3 wireless transmitter. This is a custom unit that works only with the Nikon D200. Essentially this acts as a “Wireless Adapter” to the camera – making it possible to connect the camera to a standard wireless network. The wireless transmitter provided me a hard earned (see below) freedom to move while staying connected to a computer without any cables. It enables file transfer using either a proprietary Nikon software PTP (peer to peer) protocol or via FTP. Though I’ve never tried it, there is also a standard network cable connection port. There is also an option to control the camera remotely using a separately sold software package Camera Control Pro from Nikon.


I used a Windows XP based laptop computer with wireless connectivity to receive and present images.

Network Connectivity

Most wireless networks are based on a wireless router. All the wireless devices that are configures to connect with a wireless router can communicate through it. All communication go through the wireless router – there is no direct communication between any two devices. For some time, in the beginning of my exploration, I used this kind of configuration. My gear included a wireless router that I would activate in the space where I would be working. Both the camera and the computer were configured to connect to the router.

Another kind of wireless network is an ad-hoc network. In this configuration the devices are connected directly to one another. Eventually I stopped using the router and switched to working with an ad-hoc connection directly between the laptop and the camera.

I originally chose to work with a wireless router in the hope that it would give me better transmission range (better coverage of a space), which I believe that it did. But for some reason (I could not figure out why), on too many occasions, the Nikon connectivity software on the laptop could not link to the camera. Indicators on the camera showed that the camera was connected to the network, but also that it wasn’t able to link to the Nikon communications application on the computer. This is why I gave up on working with a router and switched to the ad-hoc configuration.You will need to consult the documentation of your gear to see what is available for you and how to configure it.

Network Range

The camera’s wireless adapter had a very limited range – if I moved too far from either the router or laptop computer I would lose a connection.Range is also affected by the space itself. Range will be best in an open space with a clean direct line of sight between the transmitter and the receiver. Range is reduced by the presence of both physical objects (walls!) and/or people in the space.

There seem to be many solutions for improving network range. The problem was/is that there isn’t reliable information on how well they actually work. So it requires trial and error – which a limited budget doesn’t really allow. After all of my researching I decided to try an antenna. When I was working with the router the antenna was attached to it (for which it was originally designed). When I was working with an ad-hoc connection the antenna was connected to the camera.

The camera’s wireless transmitter has a screw-in socket for an antenna connection on the side of the body. Nikon sells a ridiculously expensive antenna – it’s price and the complete lack of reliable performance information or a testimonial by someone else who had worked with it, prevented me from trying it. I was concerned that other antennas may not even have a compatible physical connection. Luckily it seems that the physical connection port is a standard size and I was able to connect the antenna directly to it.

I was fortunate to find an antenna that (unlike the Nikon antenna) has a joint in it’s base, that enables it to bend into a 90 degree angle (like this). This meant that I didn’t need to move around with a long stick coming out of the camera – I could fold it at the joint and place it alongside the camera body. If you do get an antenna, try to get one that won’t get in your way. There are accessories such as extension cables and connectors you can use to try and create a configuration that is comfortable for you.

Wireless networks have come a long way over recent years. There are newer protocols that offer longer range and better connections. If you are using newer equipment you may find that you don’t have a range problem. You have to play around and experiment with the gear you have to see what works for you and what limitations you need to accommodate in your work.

Stability of Connection

Another problem was that the network connection was unstable – the camera would lose it’s connection to the network and then take too long or have a hard time (or completely fail!) reconnecting. This has nothing to do with the range or the network configuration you are using. This was one of the most difficult problems to solve. It was the last piece of the puzzle – and it wasn’t documented anywhere. It is a classic case of engineer thinking!

IMPORTANT: I experienced the following behavior on the Nikon D200  & WT-3. I don’t how other Nikon cameras, or other manufacturer’s cameras. This was a huge problem for me so I thought it would be useful to document it.

Wireless camera connection was a relatively new technology when I began playing around with it. It seems to me that the Nikon engineers who created it had no actual use for it, otherwise it would be hard to explain how they chose that a flashing RED light indicates that the network connection is good. It seems that one of the design goals that the engineers had in mind was saving battery power so that batteries would last longer.

For example – when you half-press down the shutter button, the camera activates a light meter (and if active, the auto-focus system). If you release the button the meter stays active for a few seconds, this gives you a chance to read the light meter if you want to, but then it shuts off to save power (active light meter and auto-focus systems drain the batteries). On the D200 you can set this duration, the shortest setting is 4 seconds. So far so good, to me this makes sense.

Here’s where things begin to make less sense. When the light-meter system is shut down (the camera is assuming you don’t intend to take a picture) the wireless transmitter is also shut down (since is isn’t likely there will be any pictures to transmit). This does save power but it kills the wireless connection. The light-meter comes in instantly when you press the shutter button, but it takes many long seconds to reconnect to the wireless network. I needed to create a stable and continuous wireless connection. The way to do this was to set the light-meter shutdown delay to infinity – which essentially means that it never shuts down, and neither does the wireless transmitter.


The last piece in this puzzle was the software for presenting the images that were transmitted to the computer. The images were placed in a folder on the receiving computer’s hard drive (there is a configuration option in the Nikon software to choose the target folder). The question was how to present them?

Before I describe my solution, I think it’s important to point out that this is an artistic junction – there are endless possibilities here, and before you choose and limit yourself to a specific technical solution, you may want to make some artistic choices. My intentions were to work within a live performance. I would most likely be away from the computer so there was not much likelihood of interaction with the computer. I also wanted to be free to work in the space – so I wanted as little distractions as possible (praying for a stable network connection was enough distraction).

I wanted a very simple behavior. I wanted the screen to display the most recent image shot and transmitted to the computer (usually I would auto-transmit all of the images, sometimes I would select which images to transmit, this is a configuration option on the Nikon wireless transmitter that can be changed through the camera menus). I wanted the image to be displayed in full screen and properly oriented (vertical shots needed to be rotated 90 degrees). I searched and searched and could not find an application that did just this. Most of the applications I found had slide-show features which looped through a set of images. I didn’t want the images to loop – I wanted the last image shot to stay on screen.

I was rescued by Yaniv who kindly agreed to write a custom application for me (runs on Windows XP). The application does exactly what I had hoped for – it is placed in the folder in which images are stored and it watches that folder for new images. The newest image is displayed correctly oriented in full screen. There is also an option to freeze the application by pressing space – so that the displayed image is not changed even if new images are found. Pressing space a second time releases the application and the newest images is again displayed (any images that were taken while the application was frozen will not be displayed).

There are many fine points you need to take care of. For example: the application needs to stay-on-top of all other application (if, for some reason, a network connection is lost, the Nikon wireless software opens a new explorer window showing the content of the folder in which images are stored); screen savers need to be disabled; the windows task-bar should be hidden. Still after all of this the solution is not technically perfect and there are many more creative directions I look forward to exploring when the opportunity presents itself.

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Posted in live stills, outside, Photography, Tech Stuff | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

Yoga & Breath – Movement in Breath in Intent


Intent is another step towards a more subtle asana practice.  As breath can be a sheath for movement, so can intent be a sheath for breath & movement.  My teacher introduced this model as “IBM – Intent, Breath Movement”.


Intent comes first – for example “I am going to inhale and raise my arms” is formulated before the inhale begins. Only then does the inhale begin, shortly followed by movement. When movement is completed, inhale continues a bit longer and when it has completed there is again closure & confirmation of intent – for example “I have finished inhaling and placed my arms on the floor”.  A similar pattern is then followed on the exhale.

Intent “takes place”  between inhales and exhales – during breaks/holds in the breathing.  To practice intent you need to first develop an extended capacity of breath – including breaks and holds which you can hold comfortably. Otherwise intent will become a rushed, unsteady, destabilizing practice that may compromise the development of the breath & movement.

At this elaborated phase of practice there is an opportunity to glimpse some under-currents in Yoga philosophy and practice:

  • Vinyasa  – each layer of practice is a foundation for a more subtle form of practice. Each subtle development in practice reinforces the foundations upon which it was built. There is a gradual learning process – each step a preparation for another.
  • Dismantling and Rebuilding – despite the popularity of Yoga as a “calming” practice – it is actually a purifying process in which the system is disturbed and then re-assimilated, over and over again.  Breath separates movement and forms a new & refined unity, then Intent separates breath and create a new and further refined unity… and so on.
  • Expansion – each sheath extends each cycle of practice in both quality (length & intensity) and quantity (subtle refinement).  Expansion eventually leads to energetic practices with an opposite quality of compression.


Posted in Breath, Energy, Models & Metaphors, Yoga | You are welcome to add your comment

Yoga & Breath – Directional Breathing & Forward Bends


A wonderful relationship between directional breathing and movement is revealed in forward bends – especially in seated forward bends. It is not my intention to delve into the expansive realm of seated forward bends at this point. I do want to help you to create an opportunity for effectively experiencing bending. To do so I will indulge in a few points that will hopefully make seated forward bends accessible to you. I invite you to avoid pushing your limits and choose soft variations. If you push your limits in establishing the basic posture, you will create obstacles that will hinder you from experiencing the core of this post – directional beathing and forward bending.

When you have a comfortable seated position. Take a few minutes to practice just the movement of the arms together with directional breathing (the movement is similar to what we did when we introduced the idea of movement and directional breathing, except that now it is in a seated position). Remember – inhale is a downward movement of the breath, exhale is an upward movement of the breath.


We begin the forward bend from the arms raised position – this means that we have just finished inhaling (and raising the arms). Therefor, the forward bend begins on an exhale. The exhale begins in the abdomen – and so does the movement. The first part of the back to bend is therefor the lower back – while the rest of the back and the arms remains stretched straight. Then as the movement of the breath progresses UP the back – so does the movement. When the lower back can no longer bend, movement begins in the mid-back, then the upper back and finally the neck – as the weight of the head pulls it down.


Coming back up is a reverse process – but with one important difference. Going down, you were assisted by gravity, going up you will be moving against it – it will require more effort. We come up on the inhale. The inhale begins in the chest – and so does the movement. First to move are the arms – and when they come up parallel to the head (in your correct arm placement), the head begins joins the movement. Then the upper back begins to straighten. As the inhale moves DOWN the back – so does the movement. Only after the mid-back has straightened, and the breath has filled the chest, movement finally reaches the lower back.

You may want to combine the two movements – raising & lowering of the arms and bending forward into one sequence. This gives the arms and back a chance to rest – maintaining a soft quality of practice. The sequence (demonstrated in the animation below) is 2 breaths long. You can repeat it numerous times.


Bending in this way works the back effectively. It fulfills what my teachers describe as “a little movement in many places, instead of a lot of movement in only a few places”. If practiced effectively it has potential for improving both both flexibility and strength. It is supported by the breath and it develops breathing stamina. The directional breathing together with the directional movement activates the energetic system – opening up even more options and variations of practice.

Posted in Basic Movement, Breath, Yoga | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

Not Doing


Two days ago I spent a long day in the city – knowing it would affect my energy. It took me two gentle and patient days to feel that my energy was pulling together again.

During the week before that I found a specific “formula” to begin my days:

  • Wake up somewhere between 06:55 and 07:07 (yes, that specific and that consistent), I would get out of bed about 15 or 20 minutes later, after gently letting my eyes adjust to the light and my consciousness to being awake.
  • Turn on the electricity in the solar water heater, make a small cup of simple black tea and read for 40 minutes to an hour.
  • Play Shakuhachi for 20-30 minutes.
  • Shower
  • Asana practice 40-50 minutes
  • Pranayama practice 30 minutes
  • Meditation 5-20 minutes
  • Check emails
  • Breakfast
  • Coffee

Then I would meet the remaining hours of the day with wonderful vitality and clarity.

I did not practice Yoga at all during the two days following the city excursion. Yesterday I tried to play Shakuhachi – but my breathing felt weak and inconsistent. I went to sleep last night feeling that my energy had pulled together.

I expected to be able to resume my morning ritual today. I woke up at 07:19 – slightly off my usual time. I began my rituals. I forgot to turn on the water heater. When I finished reading I wanted to begin a Yoga practice, but felt something holding me back. So I just sat for a few minutes, staring at Berry our parakeet, staring back at me. I thought of playing Shakuhachi, but my body resisted that as well. After a few minutes of waiting (not debating the idea of practicing!) I realized that I still have not arrived. I am close, but not quite there.When I realized and accepted this, my body relaxed and peace came over me.

My Yoga practice is currently in transition from a preserving to an intensifying (Raksana to Siksana) practice. It requires delicate preparation – I need to regulate my life, eating, sleeping and what-ever my mind consumes. If I don’t prepare properly, the practice becomes agitating and disturbing (much like the city).

I have tried numerous time over the past months to call upon my discipline and push myself into practice. It never worked. My discipline currently serves me best when I push myself into softness. Sometimes, not-doing is the best thing to do.

Posted in Yoga, Yoga & I | You are welcome to read 6 comments and to add yours