This model offers a perspective on how the contents of a Yoga practice change as a function of age – from a practice that is dominated by asana (physical practice) at a young age to a practice that is dominated by meditation at an older age.
In childhood and adolescence the practice is made up mostly of asana. This makes sense – if you think about children and young teenagers – it’s not practical to expect them to sit through elaborate and subtle Pranayama (breathing) and meditative practices. They need to be kept involved otherwise their attention gets pulled away. Asana is the primary tool used to keep them engaged.
Adult life is about creating a life – family, career, etc. There are many distractions and preoccupations. The body is not a supple as it used to be, and there is typically much less space and time for practice. Asana is a shorter practice and used mostly to prepare for Pranayama and meditation, which in turn provide a counter-balance to the business of life.
Old age is typically another major shift – from business to contemplation. As responsibilities take up less space, there is room for exploration. Departure and death become a more substantial part of life. This phase of life leans towards a meditation.
This model depicts Pranayama as a key ingredient of Yoga practice. It is introduced early in life and maintained throughout. It evolves from a goal (of Asana practice) to a means of preparation and support for meditative practices. It also demonstrates that Yoga practice moves together with the cycle of life from gross to subtle.
I am a fan of open-source. This started with WordPress and is gradually expanding to cover almost all of my information needs. I am writing this post on an old latpop I resurrected with Ubuntu and purely open-source solutions. In some cases, such as Open Office, I have had to surrender many niceties and make do with simpler and more limited tools. In other cases, such as Firefox, I have found a better overall solution and even some new useful features I didn’t have before.
Open source generally suffers from a poor user-experience. This is an issue for most software tools and developers, but commercial solutions have an upper-hand in this domain. They can afford to make design efforts to either make their products better or at least make them look cosmetically better.
Open-source is rooted in a passion for developers to express themselves – to create software the way they think it should be (technically -and morally). Open source is therefore dominated by developers. Most of “open-source” is hidden from end-users – it is a highly technical environment and social process in which developers in remote locations work together to create software – it’s a pretty amazing process. Though it’s called “open” it’s actually a very private party – you need to have a developer state-of-mind and technical capabilities to participate. This pretty much closes the door on many other disciplines that are essential to making good software.
For some time I’ve been wanting to partake and contribute to open-source products. I have some experience in product design and user experience which I believe are greatly missing from open-source. So far, all of my attempts to help have failed. Actually they haven’t actually failed – I never even got through the door. Actually, it feels like there isn’t even a door for me to knock on.
WordPress is a wonderful tool. I’d like to see it evolve into my one and only home on-line. I’d like everyone to be able to get a WordPress website as an alternative to Facebook (and I think BuddyPress is the wrong way to do it). I think that one of the greatest obstacles to moving in this direction is the complexity of the administration interface (which is one of the best in the open-source world) – which is way more then what many non-technical people can handle. WordPress has actually been able to bring graphic designers into an open-source development process – but I don’t think that nice icons or a color palette are enough to make WordPress more accessible.
In this video (3:38) Matt speaks about what he feels is the greatest misconception about WordPress – and he points out that people think it’s only for professional bloggers – when actually much work has been done to make it accessible to everyone. If a lot of people are thinking it, maybe it’s not a “misconception”?
I don’t know what the solution is – but I have some ideas. I’d like to be able to present those ideas and discuss them with others. I’d like the WordPress developer community to be open to product, graphic and user experience designers. But even that is something I don’t know how to do – it’s a great challenge.
I care, I want to contribute, I want to participate, I want there to be a dialogue. I’d like to have an opportunity to express my thoughts and ideas. I don’t know of a place for me to do this, and all my attempts to reach-out so far have met thin air.
This recent initiative from Mozilla Labs is exciting. I have been wishing for something like it for a long time and it’s even a part of my vision for WordPress. After reading what information was available about it – my mind begin churning and I began looking for a place a discussion can take place. The Raindrop Community page offers several options:
Design is a collection of screen-shot images on Flickr – which I really can’t see as a place to converse and innovate.
I was referred to the Ideas section (all the rest are technical/developer oriented spaces) – where the most popular suggestion is about a missing icon.
So again I was left scratching my head. I continued to collect my thoughts and reflections but I don’t know where to share them with the community – which has left with me a feeling that maybe the community doesn’t even want to hear about it.
It’s a frustrating experience – I haven’t given up yet. I’ve been thinking about this post for some time – a post I read today at Weblog Tools Collection finally prompted me to write it.
A part of me wishes I could tell you (and myself) that over the years I have practiced Yoga (on the mat) consistently. But that is not the truth. I’ve been through periods of consistent & intense practice, periods of erratic practice, and periods of no practice.
I have observed numerous patterns in the development of my practice:
Recess leads to Progress. Almost every time I came out of recess and resumed practice – I experienced substantial progress. I found I could do things with my body and breath that I couldn’t do before. It felt as though recesses enabled my body to assimilate things I had learned and practiced. My body not only remembered what it had known but found it’s way into new places.
Progress usually leads to Excess. Progress leads to a sense of achievement and satisfaction. It enables me to do more, to intensify my practice. Being able to do more makes me curious and curiosity motivates me to push my limits. If I am not attentive I over-do and push my system into excess. Alas, progress is a temporary experience – it is quickly assimilated and then it’s gone. When progress ceases, motivation wavers. So I cannot maintain excess for long, and my practice breaks.
Excess leads to Recess. When my practice breaks, it usually wavers and eventually I find myself in a period of no practice. And the cycle repeats itself.
I am currently in a period of consistent and focused practice. My focus and exploration now is on correct effort. I try to approach every practice session, every practice sequence, every asana and every breath with an awareness of correct effort in intentions, breath and body. I have a feeling that I am doing something different this time. I know where the trap to excess awaits me, I am practicing near it and I have not yet fallen into it.
I think that my Shakuhachi practice is tempering me. I am a beginner in Shakuhachi playing so I am revisiting a phase of learning that is slow, unsatisfying and requires persistence, patience and much repetition.
I am curious to see what happens in the coming months.
This is a rare glimpse into a rare session of Shahar & I playing around together with musicians from The Meeting. The images that are projected in the background are being broadcast live from my camera.