“In order to persuade reason to rise above itself it is essential to arrange its ascent in a manner not repugnant to it by violating any of its own jealously guarded principles.”
Gopi Krishna

Kundalini – The Evolutionary Energy in Man

System76

n

I’ve been wanting to write about System76 but couldn’t find relevant reason to do so. System76 sells Ubuntu (a popular Linux distribution) compatible computers. I have not yet had the pleasure of using a System76 computer so I can’t really vouch for their hardware – I hope to change that in the near future. I can say that I’ve liked everything about them from the moment I first found them, their website, their hardware specifications, their shopping experience, their communication… everything. They seem to have a purpose and vision that go beyond selling computers.

So why did I finally choose to write about them? Their concise and infrequent newsletter (which I actually look forward to recieving once in a while) just came in and this is what I found in it:

System76 Partners with Kids On Computers

System76 and Kids On Computers have partnered to bring computers and open source software to disadvantaged children. Kids On Computers, a non-profit organization, deploys Ubuntu based computer labs in schools and communities around the world. The organization’s first school in Huajuapan de Leon, Mexico, was a resounding success. They now have a dedicated computer teacher and are expecting Internet access very soon. The school went from being one of the poorest schools in town to being the school where all parents want their kids to go!

System76 now offers a “Donate Your Old Computer” option on each product page. By choosing the “Donate Your Old Computer” option, System76 emails you a mailing label to ship your old computer to Kids On Computers. There is a $10 cost which covers a portion of the shipping. System76 covers the remaining shipping cost. Your old computer is tax deductible, and Kids on Computers will provide a donation receipt.

Learn more about the program at http://www.system76.com/recycle

So now you can good hardware, at competitive prices, with a better operating system, from a company that cares and efficiently and humbly takes action to do what it can, doing what it does best to making life better.

Posted in AltEco, outside, Tech Stuff | You are welcome to add your comment

Emptiness

n

The past 6 months have been a revealing period…

It began when  Andreea wen to Romania (October). This presented me with unique and fresh circumstances. We were already living a intimate life in retreat. I was alone for the first time in a long time. I had a renewed daily practice (Yoga asana, Pranayama & Shakuhachi) and daily routine that felt good. There were days when I would not say a word except for greeting our cat and parakeet in the mornings. I felt at home in my body, I was eating well and sleeping well. The times in between my practices were unimportant and playful – filled with consistent writing and small interventions in a few projects I carry with me.

Then when I flew to join Andreea in Romania (supposedly a 2+ week vacation – around mid December) – the peaceful pattern was broken. It was a pleasant visit, but I did not manage to sustain my practices and energy. I was not surprised, traveling is rarely easy or comfortable for me. I made a conscious sacrifice going to Romania, knowing it would disrupt my peaceful state of being, knowing I would need to settle and recollect myself afterwards.

A week after we returned from Romania (early January), as I was practicing a few Asana I strained my lower back. It took me a few weeks of gentle work to bring peace to my lower back. It took almost a month for me to reach a full capacity practice and to enjoy a quality pranayama practice. There was also a matter of adjusting to new practice and life patterns that included Andreea’s presence again. I was begnning to feel present again… until March came.

March promised to be a hectic month and it is delivering on its promises. Before it is over we will have visited with my family 3 times. Each visit involves a 3+ hour (one way) journey (from our home in the North of Israel to the center area of Israel) and usually lasts 3 days. The visits are pleasant, my parents take us generously into their home. But my parents’ place leaves very little place & space for practice. It is an intense space, filled with lots of friction, well-intended aggressions and a constant background of distractions. Sometimes there are conversations in which I invest great energy (mostly with my father). It drains my already travel-dissipated energy and gives me vey few opportunities to replenish it.

Two visits are already past. We are now in a recess, and in a few days will be on our way to the third visit. I am trying to sprinkle my days with a few light practices – to create some regularity, focus, lightness & softness. Practice doesn’t come easy when my energy is dissipated. These very words are coming to me instead of a physical practice. I intended to practice, but something drew me to the window, maybe it was a promising warmth from the sun (the house feels cold these days, even though the sun is shining outside). As I stood there looking outside silently, I realized I feel empty – it is an unpleasant feeling.

For quite some time I haven’t been able to fool myself into taking my work too seriously. I consider myself fortunate to be free to pursue projects that are close to my heart. Almost all of these projects are driven by clear intents and purpose…. and yet none of them relate to my own sense of purpose. When I was alone and completely immersed in my practices I felt filled with purpose. Now, when I am away from my practices, I feel empty.

p.s.: when we are on the train heading out on our first visit it was around sunset time. there was lots of humidiy in the air. on the outskirts of Haifa I remember seeing some beautiful images. they were dominated by a creamy color, the ocean and the sky were a continous texture, there was no horizon… there were very few visible details… a boat floating in the midst of creamy emptiness, some gently waves in the foreground… it was mostly beautiful emptiness… it soothed me.

Posted in Expanding, inside, Yoga, Yoga & I, Yoga Therapy | You are welcome to add your comment

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-03-21

n
  • first post in new series about the Doshas – purification by fire: http://bit.ly/bmB4sc #yoga #ayurveda #
  • open source wins again: Mozilla Weave vs. XMarks http://bit.ly/aNGrs2 #
  • Ken Robinson unrelenting in his journey to reshape education: http://bit.ly/ajH8nb #
  • "..static patterns of value are divided into 4 systems: inorganic patterns, biological patterns, social patterns and intellectual patterns. #
  • ..That's all there are..nothing is left out…Only Dynamic Quality, which cannot be described …is absent. #
  • ..the four systems..all operate at the same time and in ways that are almost independent of each other…they are not continuous.. #
  • Although each higher level is built on a lower one it is not an extension of that lower level. Quite the contrary.The higher level can often #
  • be seen to be in opposition to the lower level, dominating it, controlling it where possible for it's own purposes. #
  • ..An excellent analogy to the independence of the levels is the relation of hardware to software in a computer. #
  • ..It isn't necessary for a programmer to learn circuit design. Neither is it necessary for a hardware technician to learn programming. #
  • ..except for a memory map called the 'Machine Language Instruction Repertoire' – a list so small you could write it on a single page – #
  • the electronic circuits and the programs existing in the same computer at the same time have nothing whatsoever to do with each other. #
  • .. Machine Language instructions were …the end performance of a whole symphony of switching operations… Then ..[in] programming this #
  • symphony was considered to be a mere single note in a whole other symphony that had no resemblance to the first one… #
  • Machine Language Instruction Repertoire was now the lowest element of the lowest level programming language … #
  • ..On top of this low level programming language was a high-level programming language which had the same kind of independence… #
  • …and on top of the high-level language was still another level of patterns, the application, a novel perhaps in a word-processing program. #
  • …one could spend all eternity probing the electrical patterns of that computer.. and never find that novel. #
  • ..Certainly the novel cannot exist in the computer without a parallel pattern of voltages to support it. But that does not mean that the #
  • novel is an expression or property of those voltages….It can reside in a notebook but it is not composed of or possessed by the ink&paper. #
  • Trying to explain social moral patterns in terms of inorganic chemistry patterns is like trying to explain theplot of a word-processor novel #
  • in terms of a computer's electronics. You can't do it. You can see how the circuits make the novel possible, but they do not provide a plot. #
  • Similarly the biological patterns of life and the molecular patterns of organic chemistry have a "machine language" interface called DNA… #
  • but that does not mean that the carbon or hydrogen or oxygen atoms possess or guide life. #
  • The value that holds a glass of water together is an inorganic pattern of value. #
  • The value that holds a nation together is a social pattern of value. They are … at different evolutionary levels. #
  • These patterns have nothing in common except the historic evolutionary process that created all of them…a process of value evolution." #
  • open source wins again – KeepNote replaces Evernote: http://bit.ly/9f5XWn #
  • "If the world consists only of patterns of mind and patterns of matter, what is the relationship between the two? #
  • … A conventional subject-object metaphysics uses the same 4 static patterns as the Metaphysics of Quality dividing them into 2 groups of 2 #
  • : inorganic-biological patterns called 'matter', & social-intellectual patterns called 'mind'… this division is the source of the problem. #
  • ..It has to make this division because it gives top-position in its structure to subjects and objects..the primary division of the universe. #
  • Inorganic-biological patterns are composed of 'substance' and are therefore 'objective'. #
  • Social-biological patterns are not composed of 'substance' and are therefore called 'subjective'. #
  • Then, having made this arbitrary division..conventional metaphysics then asks: 'What is the relationship between mind and matter..?' #
  • ..In a value centered Metaphysics of Quality… matter is just a name for certain inorganic value patterns… #
  • ..biological..social..intellectual patterns are supported by this pattern of matter but are independent of it. #
  • They have rules and laws of their own that are not derivable from the rules and laws of substance. #
  • ..What, after all, is the likelihood that an atom possesses within it's own structure enough information to build the city of New York? #
  • ..Metaphysics of Quality concludes that… mind and matter are completely separate evolutionary levels of static patterns of value.. #
  • ..The mind matter paradoxes seem to exist because the connecting links between [them] have been disregarded. #
  • Two terms are missing: biology and society. Mental patterns…originate out of society, which originates out of biology, which originates #
  • out of inorganic nature… There is no direct scientific connection between mind and matter. #
  • As the atomic physicist,Niels Bohr,said, 'We r suspended in language'. Our intellectual description of nature is always culturally derived" #

Powered by Twitter Tools

Posted in About, Twitter Updates | You are welcome to add your comment

Doshas – Constitution

n

Constitution

We are born with a certain kind of engine which has a given quality. Some people are born with a small engine (great for driving around in the city, not really suited for long journeys), others are born with race-car engines (great for getting around fast) and others are born with big-truck engines (great for going long distances with heavy loads). We cannot change the nature of our engine. We need to recognize and embrace our individual capacity, learn to live within it and to keep it running in good condition.

An engine’s capacity is described as a constitution – a combination of the three Doshas (vata, pitta & kapha). A constitution is usually described as having one primary & dominant quality. For example:

  • An engine that is Pita (fire) dominant – has a big fire (which usually needs a a lot of fuel, which means either a big gas tank or frequent refueling).
  • An engine that is Vata (air) dominant – has plenty of air flow (which usually needs regulation).
  • An engine that is Kapaha (water) dominant – has plenty of fuel available to it (and needs to be used. otherwise it gets heavy and cumbersome).

Fulfilling Potential

An engine has a natural given potential – this is called Prakriti. Prakriti is determined by the constitution of parents at the time of inception. It is an individual balance, unique to that engine – it is the optimal configuration for that engine. Engines that are constantly used usually shift away from their optimal balance.

An engine’s current mode of operation is called Vikriti. Vikriti is determined by the circumstances in which the engine is currently running. If the engine is well maintained then it ma be running close to it’s full potential – its Vikriti will be similar to its Prakriti.

If an engine is worn down and out of tune, it is as if it is another engine altogether – an engine that is not aligned with it’s natural tendencies (taking a family sedan to the race track). An engine that is not in tune is said to have a defect.

Defects

A core idea of Doshas is that when an engine is out of tune, it’s defects will manifest as an excess in it’s dominant quality – “too much of a good thing”:

  • When a Pitta (fire) dominant engine goes out of balance it is most likely to burn too strong (overheat).
  • When a Vata (air) dominant engine goes out of balance it is most likely become irregular (erratic flow).
  • When a Kapha (water) dominant engine goes out of balance it is most likely to flood (overflow with fuel).

The literal translation of Dosha is “defect”. When we are ill, the illness will most likely manifest as an excess of our dominant quality – our dominant Dosha.

In Body

Each of the three doshas are associated with an area in the body – this is said to be the “seat” of the dosha:

  • Vata (air) is associated with the lower abdomen. It’s manifestation can be gas (flatulence) – an excess of air in the abdominal area. Vata is associated with catabolic processes which lead to of dispersal of energy and elimination
  • Pitta (fire) is associated with the mid-torso area. It’s manifestation can be heartburn – a burning excess of heat. Pitta is associated with metabolic processes which lead to conversion of fuel into energy.
  • Kapha (water) is associated with the chest area. It’s manifestation can be phlegm which may inhibit flow of breath. Kapha is associated with anabolic processes which lead to growth and building.
Posted in Ayurveda, Energy, Yoga | You are welcome to add your comment

KeepNote replaces Evernote

n

When I was still working on a Windows XP computer I enjoyed Evernote. Evernote is a combination of a web-service and client applications for note-taking. Most of the time I used Evernote’s Windows client application for keeping my notes organized. Though there are additional application for mobile devices and what not – I didn’t need or use them. I enjoyed the Windows client greatly. I was greatly disappointed when I discovered that Evernote did not have a client for Linux and did not give signs that they intended to provide one (though the topic appeared many times in online forums).

I looked around a lot for an alternative note application for Linux but couldn’t find one I liked. Until not too long ago I came across a heartful recommendation for a relatively unkown application called KeepNote. It’s a clean, simple, no frills and straighforward application. It stores the notes in folders and standard HTML files and it’s easy to use. I loved it from first sight.

I also wanted to be able to share my notes across numerous computers (like I did with Evernote). This was very easy to do with my Dropbox account. Dropbox is a great service that enables synchronizing files across numerous computers. It has a client application for Windows, Mac & Linux operating systems. It operates quietly in the background and automatically keeps files syncronized.

So all I have to do is place my KeepNote folder in my Dropbox folder and that’s it – all of my notes are synchronized through my Dropbox account. When I change/delete/create a note on one computer that gets syncronized with my Dropbox account and then all the other computers automatically sync with that. So now I can create a note on one computer and have it immediately available on another computer.

KeepNote is a great substitute for Evernote. I like it so much that I doubt I would go back to Evernote even if they did bother to create a Linux client. It is an open source project.

Posted in Open Source, outside, Tech Stuff | You are welcome to read 4 comments and to add yours

Doshas – Making Fire

n

A metaphor that has helped me understand and relate to Doshas is that of an engine. In an engine a mixture of fuel and air is ignited to create controlled explosions of energy. The fire inside the body is a similar mechanism – driven by three qualities called Doshas:

  • Vatta describes a quality of air.
  • Kapha describes a quality of water (fuel).
  • Pitta describes a quality of fire.

These qualities come together to feed a fire that constantly burns – in varying qualities. A fire can be anywhere between intense and blazing hot, it can be steady and warm and it can burn very low – almost extinguished.

Pitta represents a core fire. To keep it burning, a fire needs to be maintained and fed by a mixture of fuel (Kapha) & air (Vata).

Kapha is the fuel that keeps the fire burning. Different kinds of wood burn differently in a fire place – some wood catches on easily and burns fast, some wood is dense and burns very slowly (lasting for a longer period of time). If you place a lot of fast-burning wood into a hearth it quickly creates a lot of flames and heat, then you can put in some dense, slow-burning wood which will sustain the warmth for a longer period of time. It’s very difficult to start a fire with slow-burning wood, the fire doesn’t catch on (and adding more wood doesn’t help). Similar patterns work inside the body in response to different foods. We feed our fire by eating. When the fire is just right we experience good appetite, digestion and elimination. When the fire is too strong we can experience heartburn(!).

Vatta is the complementary element to fuel. Without air a fire cannot burn. Once a fire is burning it is controlled by the air supplied to it. In a fireplace, an open air intake will keep the fire burning high (like a blacksmith uses a bellows to blow air into a fire to increase the heat), a closed air intake will keep a fire burning low or even put it out. Breath is the means by which we bring air to the fire inside.

Posted in Ayurveda, Energy, Yoga | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

It Grows Itself

n

Ken Robinson is unrelenting in his journey to reshaping education. If you haven’t already seen his famous talk at TED about schools and creativity – maybe now is a good time to treat yourself to 20 minutes of inspiration.

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

Mozilla Weave replaces XMarks

n

Mozilla Firefox is my primary (open source) web browser and one of my favorite addons to is was XMarks. It enabled me to easily synchronize bookmarks between my computers. It worked great. At some point the XMarks service was extended to store and synchronize passwords as well. Though I can’t say why, I didn’t trust them enough to store my passwords with them.

Sometimes later XMarks made an attempt to capitalize on the information I (and supposedly many other trusting users) had entrusted with them. They provided an additional addon which was used to enhance search results by looking at all the bookmarks they had collected from their users. My thoughts on this were:

  • I can understand &appreciate their motivation to grow and maybe even generate revenues through their freely offered service.
  • When I gave their search addon a try I was very disappointed with it – it was noisy and useless.
  • Though they have not (to the best of my knowledge) exposed my personal bookmark information, they never asked for permission to use that information for any other purpose.
  • They betrayed me. They dishonestly offered me a “free” service, only to later name their price in terms of “compromised privacy”.
  • There was no way I would trust them with more information, especially not my passwords.

Then, a couple of months ago, Mozilla released Weave. It works silently in the background does much more then XMarks. It synchronizes bookmarks, passwords, browsing history & open tabs. It also has applications to make that information available on mobile devices. It does all this securely and privately. When it is installed you are required to enter an encryption key that is used to encrypt all of your information. You will not be able to access your information without this key so store it well. The point is that no one else will be able to access (or try to capitalize on) your information…. and of course it’s open source and in the spirit of Mozilla’s Manifesto.

Posted in Open Source, outside | You are welcome to add your comment

Doshas – Purification by Fire

n

Doshas are a fundamental concept in Ayurveda & Yoga. They describe the physical body as a manifestation of spirit and matter. They are very useful tool for assessing health and illness of the body in a way that relates to Vedic philosphy and Yoga tools. They offer a fresh and holistic perspective for personal observation. They can also be confusing and misleading – so we’ll be taking small and careful steps as we explore them.

Doshas tell a story of a Fire that we all have burning inside. This fire is intricately related to a Yogic energy system of the body. Understanding this relationship is a key to understanding, and avoiding misunderstanding of the Doshas. An understanding of the purpose of the fire within is an anchor for exploring the Doshas.

There is a natural tendency to associate Fire with energy – the hotter the fire and more intense the flames, the more energy is generated. In Yoga the relationship between fire and energy is more subtle and elaborate:

  • First we need to recall that in Yoga, energy is about quality and not about quantity. We have a given and fixed capacity for energy. “Low Energy” is actually defused energy. “High Energy” is actually concentrated energy.
  • Second we need to recall that in Yoga energy flows through channels (called Nadis) in the body. Concentrated energy is experienced when the channels are open and energy can flow freely. Defused energy is experienced when there are blockages that prevent the energy from flowing freely.
  • Cakras are major junctions of energy channels, when they are blocked they are called Granthis – literally translated as knots. Healing occurs when energy can flow freely, illness occurs when it’s blocked.

Therefore Yoga practices are not about creating more energy. Yoga practices are designed to remove blockages and obstacles that prevent the flow of energy. This is purification which is achieved through the use of fire. Yoga practices effect the fire that burns within – a good practice will foster a steady and healthy fire. A healthy fire purifies – removes obstacles that inhibit the flow of energy throughout the body. A healthy fire means we sleep well, digest well & excrete well – in body and mind.

As we continue to explore Doshas, please keep in mind that we are not aiming to increase energy but intervening in a more elaborate relationship of elements:

Fire Purifies >>>Clearing the Channels >>> Energy Flows Better

Posted in Ayurveda, Energy, Yoga | You are welcome to read 2 comments and to add yours

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-03-14

n
  • A Political Headstand – what if Ben Gurion was famous for Pranayama instead of headstands? http://bit.ly/dco85z #yoga #
  • @Nickdrumr2 thanks for your attention 🙂 would have been more pleasant without the cynicism … but hey we are what we are 🙂 in reply to Nickdrumr2 #
  • @freeplay just saw all the tweets you sent my way thank you in reply to freeplay #
  • @freeplay I am quoting from a book I am reading… doing a bit every morning… will reveal the book when I am done with it in reply to freeplay #
  • For me "There is no goal!' is not good enough… so I'm looking further… you are welcome to be with me as I look 🙂 #
  • @freeplay I am not here to convince you or even argue… I don't know you that well to invest that kind of energy in you in reply to freeplay #
  • @freeplay I try to keep an open-mind about things, answers and truths don't hold up well over time… questions r more interesting 🙂 in reply to freeplay #
  • @freeplay peace 🙂 in reply to freeplay #
  • @freeplay there is a quality of faith that is free of religion… after years of practice it revealed to me new possibilities in life in reply to freeplay #
  • @Nickdrumr2 I believe there is more to it then that 🙂 if we give it time it may appear 🙂 in reply to Nickdrumr2 #
  • @Nickdrumr2 intuition & faith in reply to Nickdrumr2 #
  • @freeplay this next set of tweets is dedicated to you 🙂 #
  • "Biological evolution can be seen as a process by which weak Dynamic forces at a subatomic level discover stratagems for overcoming #
  • huge static inorganic forces at a superatomic level…by selecting superatomic mechanisms inwhich anumber of options are so evenly balanced #
  • that a weak Dynamic force can tip the balance… their primary vehicle is carbon… #
  • …. carbon [is] unique… the lightest and most active of the group IV atoms whose chemical bonding characteristics are ambiguous. #
  • .. The group containing carbon is half way between metals and nonmetals.. carbon combines with metals, nonmetals… itself… #
  • ..Carbon bondingwas a balanced mechanism…[Dynamic subatomic forces] could steer to all sorts of freedom…by selecting bonding…variety #
  • …What distinguishes all the species of plants and animal is, in the final analysis, differences in the way carbon chooses to bond. #
  • .. th einvention of Dynamic carbon bonding represents only one kind of evolutionary strategm… the other kind is preservation. #
  • ..A Dynamic advance is meaningless until it can be find some static pattern with which to protect itself from degeneration. #
  • …Evolution can't be a continuous forward movement. It must be a process of ratchetlike steps in which there is #
  • a Dynamic movement forward up.. then, if the result looks successful, a static latching-on of the gain that has been made.. #
  • ..the Dynamic force had to invent a carbon molecule that would preserve its limited Dynamic freedom from inorganic laws and #
  • at the same time resist deterioriation back2 simple compounds of carbon again..Dynamic force got around this problem by inventing 2molecules #
  • : a static molecule able to resist abrasion, heat, chemical attack and the like; #
  • and a Dynamic one able to.. 'try everything' in the ways of chemical bonding. #
  • @raymondpirouz great to know I have a listener in this crazy little experiment 🙂 in reply to raymondpirouz #
  • The static, chemically 'dead' plasticlike molecule called protein, surrounds the dynamic one and prevents attack.. that would…destroy it. #
  • The Dynamic one, called DNA, reciprocates by telling the static one what to do, replacing [it] when it wears out, #
  • replacin itself even when it hasn't worn out, and changing it's own nature to overcome adverse conditions. #
  • @raymondpirouz and the "twitter-flooding" 🙂 format is inspired by you! in reply to raymondpirouz #
  • The division of all biological evolutionary patterns into a Dynamic function and a static function continues on up through higher levels… #
  • …semipermeable cell walls to 2let food in & keep poisons out is a static latch. So are..clothes, houses, villages, rituals, laws&libraries #
  • ..On the other hand, the shift in cell reproduction from mitosis http://bit.ly/8LhM3 to meiosis http://bit.ly/1Y1uPE to permit sexual choice #
  • and allow huge DNA diversification is a Dynamic advace. So are sexual choice, death.. communication, speculative thought, curiosit and art. #
  • ..in a value centered explanation of evolution [these] are close to the dynamic process itself…pulling ..life forwad to greater…freedom. #
  • …Without Dynamic Quality an organism cannot grow. Without static qualiy the organism cannot last. Both are needed. #
  • Now when we come to the chemistry professor…studying his empirically gathered data, trying to figure out what it means… this person #
  • makes more sense. #
  • he's conducting his experiments for exactly the same purpose as the subatomic forces had when they 1st began 2create him billionsofyearsago. #
  • He's looking for information that will expand the static patterns of evolution itself ang give both greater versatility and #
  • greater stability against hostile static forces of nature. He may have personal motives such as 'pure fun', that is the Dynamic Quality of #
  • his work. But when he applies fir funding he will…tie his request to some branch of humanity's overall evolutionary purpose." #
  • phew… that was an intense part!! off to practice som yoga asana… goodness to you 🙂 #
  • @raymondpirouz I'm already working on making it more accessible in the end 🙂 in reply to raymondpirouz #
  • Cucumbers & Shakuhachi, Doubt & Faith: http://bit.ly/d4y47P #
  • contemplating designing for WordPress… reveals something about potentials of design itself: http://bit.ly/beknRg #
  • תזכורת אחרונה – התקהלות מיוחדת במוצאי שבת בתיאטרון תמונע: http://bit.ly/ac3iYV #

Powered by Twitter Tools

Posted in About, Twitter Updates | You are welcome to add your comment

re: Designing for WordPress

n

This post is inspired by this presentation by Brent Spore:

https://videopress.com/v/wp-content/plugins/video/flvplayer.swf?ver=1.18

Brent touched on designing for WordPress and faced quite a challenge – facing an audiences with diverse knowledge, experience and expectations. He touched on some good ideas and I have the pleasure of sitting at home in my own time, relating to his talk.

Are you a Driver or a Mechanic?

I believe that in order to relate to the topic of designing for WordPress the first question you need to ask yourself is “Do you want to be a blogger or a designer… or maybe both?”. It’s kind of like asking “Do you want to be a driver or a car mechanic…. or maybe both?”. The skills, tools and discipline required for the two tasks are very different. Designing for WordPress often comes across as simple – because so many people are playing around with it – but there’s really nothing simple about it. Just to give you an example..

Photoshop

Someone asked Brent about modifying a theme’s Photoshop file. Even a “simple” task like replacing a header image assumes at least the following technical proficiencies:

  • Getting Photoshop (pretty expensive for non-professionals) … or finding a suitable alternative.
  • Learning the Photoshop basics … it’s a powerful program but not very intuitive … the initial learning curve is demanding.
  • Learning to work with layers
  • Learning to work with guides and selection tools
  • Learning about saving graphic formats for the web
  • Learning how to insert your header image into a theme

… and that’s the bare minimum and that list doesn’t cover anything having to do with the aesthetic and functional aspects of design.

Expression& Content

I believe that websites are all about content. Expressing yourself is a huge thing – it’s about asking yourself “Who is ‘myself’? What do I want to say? Why do I want to say these things? To whom do I want to say them?”. Blogging, writing for the web is a technical expression of a personal journey – and it is an art and a skill in it’s own right. WordPress is very much in tune with all these things – spiritually and technically.

… in fact I believe that the Internet is dominated by and gravitating towards personal expression. So much so that if you’re thinking of, or someone is trying to convince you to put up a website with just a few static page – that its most likely a waste of your time, attention and money. If you put up a few static pages and expect someone to find you through Google you are mistaken. No one will find you because:

  1. There are probably zillions like you and no way (for people or for search engines) to tell you apart from the rest.
  2. You can’t use keywords to cheat the system, because lot’s of others have tried that, search engines picked up on it and … it simply doesn’t work anymore = don’t waste even more money on search engine optimization con-artists who will promise to magically lift your dead-in-the-water website up in the ranking of search engines.
  3. There are probably a few people who are making an effort to express themselves in your area of expertise (with a very good chance they are are using WordPress to do it) – and they will be found on search engine results and by people looking for you!

This sets the table for a deeper look into what design can be … and instead of making it a tedious academic lecture… let’s use another example Brent put out for us. ..

Dishwasher Guy

If all dishwasher guy wants to do is get more customers – then instead of creating a static dead-in-the-water website he should list himself in some local online directories , place a few more adds in local papers, hand out a few more magnets for people to place on their refrigerators (or dish washers?)…

On the other hand a website creates many new interesting opportunities. What can a dishwasher guy possible write about:

  • What can you do to keep your dishwasher working and in good condition?
  • What cleaning materials are recommended or should be avoided?
  • Are there eco-friendly materials thaht can be used? What if they don’t get the stains out?
  • How to use the dishwaser effectively? Should dishes be accumulated?
  • How about the quality of the water – does that affect the dishwasher lifespan? Would a filter onthe main pipe help?
  • How did dishwashers begin? What did the first one look like? What is the future of dishwashers?
  • How to buy a dishwasher? What should we look for?
  • Are there recommended dishwashers? Product reviews? What do other people have to say?
  • Where is a good place to get a dishwasher?

And amazingly, the list goes on and on and on… even for a dishwaser technician… if she cares and is willing to take on the formidable task of writing for the web!

This, to me, is what designing a WordPress site is all about. It is about finding a way to express yourself – it is a wonderous undertaking, and there is so much more to it then choosing a header image, colors and fonts. A superficial, beautifully designed website with nothing interesting to say will last a few seconds. A consistently updated site with sincere & curious content will be captivating and keep people coming back, almost regardless of it’s visual design.

Maybe this is what people like Merlin Mann are talking about when they say find your niche – even dishwashers have a niche:
https://videopress.com/v/wp-content/plugins/video/flvplayer.swf?ver=1.18

Posted in outside, Tech Stuff, Wordpress | You are welcome to read 3 comments and to add yours

Cucumbers & Shakuhachi, Doubt & Faith

n

Cucumbers

I recall some months ago I was preparing a salad for breakfast. I was peeling (and later seeded) a pair of cucumbers – and as I was doing that I thought to myself ‘Why am I peeling the cucumbers?’. Of course, there is a ‘logical’ answer – since we can’t afford organic vegetables we prefer to remove any potential traces of insecticide which, we assume, concentrate in the peels and in the watery center. But then it hit me that this recurring act of peeling is actually an internal movement of doubt – doubt in the intentions and methods used by the farmers that grow my food. Doubt had become an unconscious yet constant part of my nourishment.

Shakuhachi

Also some months my wish for a new Shakuhachi came true – and a semi-professional flute entered my life. The purpose of this flute was to open a door to studying with a teacher. I was under the impression that a more fine-tuned instrument is required for formal studies. Indeed shortly after it arrived I found a teacher who is kind and generous and fulfills my indulgence for a lesson once in a while.

During the first lesson my teacher attempted to assess the quality of tuning of the flute – which is difficult to do over Skype. Getting a correct pitch in Shakuhachi is a challenge – it depends on the tuning of the flute, on breathing technique, the embouchure (shape) of the lips .. and on the weather (bamboo changes pitch in varying temperature and humidity conditions). Knowing the flute enables my teacher to better guide me (or maybe more importantly not misguide me) in my playing. I was left with a doubt about the tuning of the flute. Doubt, again, this time in Shakuhachi, an instrument I took on as a part of my meditative practices.

Faith

All of my attempts to dispel my doubts regarding the tuning of my Shakuhachi failed and led to unpleasantness. I questioned the maker (who’s life work made it possible for me to hold a Shakuhachi). I resented my teacher (for causing me to question myself and the maker). I pushed myself too hard to play better, to prove that the flute is in tune and that I can play in tune, which ultimately inhibited my playing – and left me with even more doubts … until … a recollection of an incident during a lesson in my Yoga teachers training course rescued me.

We were studying Ayurveda. Our group included numerous students who had come from a background of modern alternative-medicine studies. My teacher indicated at the beginning of the lesson that some of the ideas he will be introducing may strike some of us as counter-intuitive to what we already know and believe. He suggested that we refrain from dissecting and judging the teachings, that we take them with us as a complimentary perspective to what we already know, and that only after we’ve lived them for a few years, we indulge in evaluating their truths and relevancy to our lives as practitioners and teachers. Ironically, a few minutes later, some of the soon-to-be Yoga teachers railed out against the teachings that were offered.

I applied this lesson to my Shakuhachi predicament. I decided to embrace my Shakuhachi settings, including my instrument, it’s maker, my teacher and myself. I decided that I would take a few years before making any observations or coming to any conclusions. This choice has replaced my doubts with faith. It has fostered a softer setting in which I can explore and fluctuate in my relationship with Shakuhachi.

As for cucumbers… it’s getting better but I still haven’t achieved peace. I have been asking myself why I don’t trust farmers in my society… and though I have strong intuitions I have not yet found or formulated clear answers that I can put in writing. But inquiring into the matter has brought farmers and farming in my soceity closer to my mind and heart. I am more in touch with the things I have in common with them and therefore able to experience more sympathy for them and for their choices. Sometimes I go crazy and refrain from peeling or seeding (sometimes both!!) my cucumbers.

Wait, Just Wait

In my consciousness there is an instinct associated with doubt, and it’s programmed to ‘go out and find who’s responsible … and fix it!’. It’s a stubborn instinct (as instincts will be)… and it’s pointless. Instead, waiting, patiently and softly, usually creates a window of opportunity for my attention to move inward, and given time, magical occurs: pushing morphs into embracing and the disturbing energy of doubt becomes a soothing energy of faith.

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

A Political Headstand

n

There is a famous image of Israel’s first prime minister Ben Gurion doing a headstand. I think it’s pretty impressive that a newborn country’s first prime minister was a yoga practitioner. But this morning, it is not a romantic notion that set me thinking on this path, it is a critical one.

Headstand provides a popular image for Yoga – it stands out. It providers an easily accessible metaphor for a fresh perspective on life. For many people it is a challenging posture – and when it’s finally conquered it can bring a gratifying sense of achievement.

Beyond it’s obvious physical qualities, headstand posture has energetic qualities and it can be used to affect the body’s energy system. These energetic qualities are available in additional more accessible postures that provide less distraction and enable a practitioner to go deeper and experience more subtle qualities in practice. They are much less “sensational” and it takes persistence and patience to sense and appreciate them. They require intricate breath work and lead to meditative places.

Following is a quote (source Wikipedia) from 1957 attributed to Ben Gurion:

“Why should the Arabs make peace? If I was an Arab leader I would never make terms with Israel. That is natural: we have taken their country … There has been anti-Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They only see one thing: we have come here and stolen their country. Why should they accept that? They may perhaps forget in one or two generations’ time, but for the moment there is no chance. So it is simple: we have to stay strong and maintain a powerful army.”

Ben Gurion made his mark on life in a time of extremism – a conflicted birth of a conflicted country from a conflicted background in a conflicted world. A country that exemplifies and in which manifests one of the most powerful forces of friction on the planet – a conflict between east & west, between established religion and fmodern politics, between tradition and free thought. An extremism that I feel almost every where around me in Israel, and as the years go bye seems to be insinuating itself all over the world.

I don’t know what Ben Gurion’s Yoga practice was like, but I wonder if instead of doing headstands and making them famous he would have have practiced and made famous forward seated bends with long and quality breath. Would he have made different decisions and planted different seeds in Israeli society, culture & politics? If he was instead famous for inhaling 12 seconds, holding his breath for 12 seconds, exhaling for 12 seconds and holding his breath for another 12 seconds – what effect that would have had on Israeli society? What if this would have fostered amongst popular Israeli traits, things like patience, attention and respect?

If Ben Gurion’s teacher was Desikachar or even Krishnamacharya and he practiced more Pranayama, could that have made a different world for us today?

Posted in Asana, Expanding, inside, Israel, Yoga, Yoga & Life | You are welcome to read 9 comments and to add yours

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-03-07

n
  • "I wish it so, that all who go through among my people may find peace when they come in, and leave it when they go out" http://bit.ly/dx0EZL #
  • life currents: http://bit.ly/d785NE #
  • … oh and I am selling my CD collection: http://bit.ly/9zAD6Y please have a look and pass it on 🙂 #
  • "The idea that 'all men are created equal' is a gift to the world from the American Indian" http://www.bit.ly/dx0EZL #
  • "First you say things our way and then we'll listen to you… an invisible wall of prejudice… a 'cultural immune system'" #
  • "Quality doesn't have to be defined. You understand it without definition, ahead of definition…. it is a direct experience #
  • Quality is indivisible, undefinable and unknowable in the sense that there is a knower and a known #
  • but a metaphysics must be divisible, definable and knowable .. it is a kid of dialectical definition #
  • this means that a "Metaphysics of Quality" is essentially a contradiction in terms, a logical absurdity #
  • he himself had insisted…that Quality cannot be defined. Yet here we was about to define it. Was this some kind of sell-out? #
  • the minute u open ur mouth to say 1 thing about the nature of reality you..have a whole set of enemies who've said reality is something else #
  • 'Ahh, do it anyway, it's interesting.' this was the intellectual part that didn't like undefined things #
  • To the intellect, the process of defining Quality has a compulsive quality of its own.. produces a certain excitement … leaves a hangover #
  • Writing a metaphysics is, in the strictest mystic sense, a degenerate activity … avoidance of degeneracy is a degeneracy of another sort #
  • Purity identified ceases to be purity…objections to pollution are a form of pollution #
  • The only person who doesn't pollute the mystic reality of the world … is a person who hasn't yet been born #
  • The rest of us have to settle for something less pure. #
  • Getting drunk and picking up bar-ladies and writing metaphysics is a part of life #
  • if you are using WordPress you don't need to be concerned with SEO: http://bit.ly/dkqFlE #
  • "From bitter searching of the heart, Quickened with passion and with pain
    We rise to play a greater part." http://bit.ly/dgfV3c #
  • "Any person of any philosophic persuasion who sits on a hot stove will verify without any intellectual argument whatsoever #
  • that he is in an undeniably low-quality situation; that the value of his predicament is negative. #
  • This low quality is not just a vague, woolly headed crypto-religious, metaphysical abstraction. It is an experience. #
  • It is not a judgment about an experience. It is not a description of experience. The value itself is an experience. #
  • It is verifiable by anyone who cares to do so. It is reproducible. Of all experience it is the least ambiguous, least mistakable there is. #
  • Later the person may generate some oaths to describe this low value, but the value will always come first, the oaths second. #
  • …Our culture teaches us to think it is the hot stove that directly causes the oaths… that the low values are a property of the person #
  • Not so. The value is between the stove and the oaths. Between the subject and the object lies the value. #
  • This value is more immediate, more directly sensed than any 'self' or 'object' to which it might be later assigned..more real than the stove #
  • … It is the primary empirical reality from which such things as stoves and heat and oaths and self are later intellectually constructed. #
  • The reason values seem so woolly-headed to empiricists is … they keep trying to assign them to subjects or objects. You can't do it. #
  • You get all mixed up because values don't belong to either group. They are a separate category all their own. #
  • The Metaphysics of Quality would show how things become fabulously more coherent when..Quality is the primary empirical reality of the world #
  • "The feeling left was one of enormous confusion and weariness, a kind of back-to-the-drawing board, back-to-square-one feeling #
  • ..you get when you're thinking you're making great progress and then suddenly some question like this comes along #
  • .. and sets you back to where you started." #
  • "For a while he had wondered why his boat always seemed to stop in the oldest part of each city it came to, and then he realized that #
  • ..small boats stopping right there is what got the city started in the first place" #
  • "The idea that the world is comprised of nothing but moral values sounds impossible at first. Only objects are supposed to be real. #
  • …but we see objects and subjects as reality for the same reason we see the world right side up although the lenses of our eyes actually #
  • ..present it our brains upside down… The culture in which we live hands us a set of intellectual glasses to interpret experience with #
  • .. and the concept of primacy of subjects and objects is built right into these glasses. If someone sees things through a somewhat #
  • different set of glasses or, god help him, take his glasses off, the natural tendency of those who still have their glasses on is #
  • to regard his statement as somewhat weird, if not actually crazy… #
  • As Einstein said, common-sense (non-weirdness) is just a bundle of prejudices acquired before the age of 18 #
  • The Metaphysics of Quality .. [says] that the values of art and morality and even religious-mysticism are verifiable [empirical] #
  • …They have been excluded because of the metaphysical assumption that all the universe is composed of subjects and objects … #
  • There is no empirical evidence for this assumption at all.It is just an assumption..that flies outrageously in the face of common experience #
  • Unlike subject-object metaphysics, the Metaphysics of Quality does not insist on a single inclusive truth… #
  • .. then one doesn't seek the absolute "Truth". One seeks instead the highest quality intellectual explanation of things #
  • with knowledge that if the past is any guide to the future this explanation must be taken provisionally.. until something better comes along #
  • One can then examine intellectual realities the same way he examines paintings in an art gallery #
  • not with an effort to find the "real" painting, but simply to enjoy and keep those that are of value. #
  • ..Saying that a Metaphysics of Quality is false and a subject-object metaphysics is true #
  • is like saying that rectangular coordinates are true and polar coordinates are false. #
  • A map with the north pole in the center is confusing at first .. but in the Arctic it's the only map to have. #
  • Metaphysics of Quality provide a better set of coordinates with which to interpret the world..because it explains more of the world..&better #
  • .. [it] can explain subject-object relationships beautifully..but a subject-objects metaphysics can't explain values worth a damn. #
  • This problem of trying to describe values in terms of substance has been a problem of a smaller container trying to contain a larger one. #
  • Value is not a subspecies of substance. Substance is a subspecies of value. #
  • "Early zoologists classified as mammals those that suckle their young and as reptiles those that lay eggs #
  • .. then a duck-billed platypus was discovered in Australia laying eggs like a perfect reptile and then,when they hatched,suckling the infant #
  • The discovery created quite a sensation. What a mystery! What a marvel of nature! #
  • Even today you still see occasional articles in nature magazines asking 'Why does this paradox of nature exist?' #
  • The answer is:it doesn't. Platypi have been laying eggs and suckling their young for millions of years before zoologists declared it illegal #
  • The real mystery is how mature, objective, trained scientific observers can blame their own goof on a poor innocent platypus. #
  • In a subject-object classification of the world, Quality is in the same situation as that platypus. #
  • Because they can't classify it, the experts have declared there is something wrong with it. And Quality isn't the only such platypus. #
  • ..free will vs determinism, relation of mind to matter, discontinuity of matter at the subatomic level… are all monster platypi #
  • The world comes to us in an endless stream of puzzle pieces that we would like to think all fit together somehow, but that in fact never do. #
  • There are always some pieces like platypi that don't fit.. we can ignore [them]..give them silly explanations.. #
  • or we can take the whole puzzle apart and try other ways of assembling it that will include more of them #
  • When one takes the whole ill-shaped, misfitting structure of a subject-object explained universe apart and puts it back together in a #
  • value-centered metaphysics, all kinds of orphaned puzzle pieces fit beautifully that never fit before." #
  • I am finding it extremely difficult to bring myself to write about things close to my heart #
  • "Trying to create a perfect metaphysics is like trying to create the perfect chess opening, one that will win every time. You can't do it. #
  • … Dynamic Quality is the pre-intellectual cutting edge of reality, the source of all things, completely simple and always new. #
  • ..It's only perceived good is freedom and it's only perceived evil is static quality itself – #
  • – any pattern of one-sided fixed value that tries to contain and kill the ongoing free force of life. #
  • Static Quality emerges in the wake of Dynamic Quality. It is old and complex. It always contains a component of memory. #
  • Good is conformity to an established pattern of fixed values and value objects. #
  • Static morality is full of heroes and villains, loves and hatreds, carrots and sticks. It's values don't change by themselves. #
  • Unless they are altered by Dynamic Quality they say the same thing year after year… sometimes loudly… sometimes softly…always the same #
  • ..When the person who sits on the stove first discovers his low-quality situation, the front edge of his experience is dynamic. #
  • He does not think 'This stove is hot' and then make a rational decision to get off. #
  • a 'dim perception of he knows not what' gets him off dynamically. Later he generates static patterns of thought to explain the situation. #
  • A subject-object metaphysics presume that this kind of Dynamic action without thought is rare and ignored it when possible. #
  • But mystic learning goes in the opposite direction and tries to hold to the ongoing Dynamic edge of all experience, both positive & negative #
  • .. of the two kinds of students, those who study only subject-object science and those who study only meditative mysticism #
  • it would be the mystic students who would get off the stove first. #
  • The purpose of mystic meditation is not to remove oneself from experience but to bring one's self closer..by eliminating static attachments #
  • …imagine that you walk down the street past a car where someone has the radio on and it plays a tune you've never heard before #
  • but which is so fantastically good it just stops you in your tracks. You listen until it's done. #
  • Days later you remember exactly what the street looked like when you heard that music… store window, colors of cars, clouds in the sky… #
  • ..and it all comes back so vividly you wonder what song they were playing, so you wait until you hear it again… #
  • One day it comes on the radio and you get the same feeling again.. you catch the name… rush to the store… and buy it… #
  • You get home. You play it. It's really good. It doesn't quite transform the room… but it's really good. You play it again. Really good. #
  • You play it another time. Still good but you are not sure you want to play it again. But you play it again…it's okay … you put it away #
  • The next day you play it again, and it's ok, but something is gone… you file it away and once in a while play it again for a friend #
  • What has happened?… has the song lost its quality? Either it's good or it's not good. If it's good why don't you play it? #
  • The first good that made you want to buy the record was Dynamic Quality… comes as a sort of surprise #
  • .. weakened for a moment your existing static patterns in such a way that the Dynamic Quality all around you shone through. It was free… #
  • The second good,the kind that made u want to recommend it to a friend,even when you had lost your own enthusiasm for it is Static Quality." #
  • "Life can't exist on dynamic quality alone. It has no staying power. To cling to [it] ..apart from any static patterns it to cling to chaos. #
  • Static patterns…provide a necessary stabilizing force to protect Dynamic progress from degeneration. #
  • Dynamic Quality-freedom..creates this world in which we live,Static Quality-order..preserves ourworld.Neither can survive without the other" #
  • "If a company shows..signs of slowing..innovation, it's a good idea 2 sell." shortsighted,ignorant business attitude http://bit.ly/9KV0F8 #
  • "'All life is a migration of static patterns of quality towards Dynamic Quality.'… #
  • .. In traditional, substance-centered metaphysics, life isn't evolving toward anything. Life's just an extension of the properties of atoms. #
  • It has to be that because atoms and varying forms of energy are all there is. Historically..[this] put a strain on the Theory of Evolution.. #
  • ..At the time of it's origin is wasn't yet understood that at the level of .. small particles the laws of cause and effect no longer apply; #
  • that electrons and photons simply appear and disappear without individual predictability and without individual cause. #
  • ..So today we have a theory of evolution in which man is ruthlessly controlled by cause-and-effect laws of the universe.. #
  • while the particles of his boy are not. The absurdity of this seems to be neglected. Physicists ignore it..they are not concerned with man.. #
  • Social scientists can ignore it because they are not concerned with subatomic particles. #
  • ..evolution… goes into volumes about how the fittest survives but never once answers the question of why. #
  • It's self-contradictory that life should survive. If life is strictly a result of the physical and chemical forces of nature.. #
  • then why is life opposed to these same forces in it's struggle to survive? Either life is with physical nature or it's against it #
  • If it's with nature there's nothing to survive. If it's against physical nature then there must be something ..[else] ..motivating it. #
  • The 2nd law of Thermodynamics states that all energy systems "run-down" like a clock and never rewind themselves. #
  • But life not only "runs-up", converting low-energy sea-water, sunlight and air into high-energy chemicals, it keeps multiplying itself #
  • into more and better clocks that keep "running up" faster and faster. #
  • Why, for example, should a group of simple, stable compounds if carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen struggle for billions of years #
  • to organize themselves into a professor of chemistry? What's the motive? If we leave a chemistry professor out on a rock in the sun #
  • long enough the forces of nature will convert him into simple compounds. It's a one-way reaction. No matter what.. #
  • we can't turn these compounds back into chemistry professor. Then why does nature reverse this process? #
  • What on earth causes the inorganic compounds to go the other way? It isn't the suns energy.. It has to be something else. What is it? #
  • Evolutionists..simpy say that in the scientific observation of the facts of the universe no goal or pattern have ever appeared… #
  • ..'… but has the question been taken up of whether life is heading away from mechanistic patterns?' #
  • In a metaphysics in which static..patterns are..fundamental, the idea that life is evolving away from any laws.. doesn't make any sense. #
  • 'No program controlled or directed this progression. It was the result of spur of the moment decisions of natural selection.' #
  • ..Dynamic Quality always appears as 'spur of the moment'. Where else could it appear? #
  • ..Naturally there is no mechanism towards which life is heading. Mechanisms are the enemy of life. #
  • The more static and unyielding the mechanisms are, the more life works to evade them or overcome them. #
  • The law of gravity..a ruthless static pattern..one could almost define life as..organized disobedience of [it]..birds fly, man..to the moon #
  • If life is to be explained on the basis of physical laws, then the overwhelming evidence that life deliberately works around these laws #
  • cannot be ignored. #
  • The reason atoms become chemistry professors has got to be that something in nature doesn't like laws that restrict the molecule's freedom. #
  • They only go along with laws of any kind because they have to, preferring an existence that does not follow any laws whatsoever. #
  • The patterns of life are constantly evolving towards something "better" then that which these laws have to offer. #

Powered by Twitter Tools

Posted in About, Twitter Updates | You are welcome to add your comment

Breathing Formulas in Asana

n

Pranayama breathing practices and Asana practices create a cycle of growth and expansion of (amongst other thing) breath. Ujjayi breathing in Asana develops a strong and enduring breath. Then in Pranayama that strength and capacity is used to refine the breath and make it longer. Then that refinement and length of breath is again carried over into Asana practices – and this goes on and on in a never ending cycle of strength and length (similar to the gradual development of strength and flexibility in a physical body).

It is possible to intensify this cycle by introducing breathing formulas into Asana. To do this you must first have an established relationship with:

  • Asana – you need to have a well defined and rooted physical practice before introducing another dimension of physical and consciousness effort.
  • Ujjayi – ujjayi should be an inseparable part of your asana practice.
  • Pranayama – you need to be familiar and comfortable with your breathing capacity and with structured breath formulas.

The first meeting between breathing formulas and asana should occur in familiar and comfortable settings:

  • Breath length – choose an inhale length (your basic breathing duration) that is less then what you use in your Pranayama practice. If in Pranayama you use an 8 second inhale then in Asana start with 6 seconds.
  • Breath formula – start with an equal inhale and exhale and with a 1 second pause after inhale and exhale to allow for a controlled and smooth transition. For example, if your inhale is 6 seconds your breathing formula in asana would be 6.1.6.1
  • Asana – start with simple and accessible Asana, introduction of the breath is a worthy challenge, don’t overdo it by choosing difficult or challenging asana. If you have a personal practice that is gradual and balanced then it is probably best to start with the first set of postures.

This meeting of structured breath and asana can be a rich experience. You may find that each asana leads to a different experience. Some asana may seem connected and flowing with the breath, others may lead to friction. Different asana will challenge different parts of the breath – some asana may be aligned with inhaling and others with exhaling. Remember to retain a healthy relationship between breath and movement – the breath is a home to movement, movement takes place inside the breath. Adjusting breath to movement will probably lead to over-exertion, friction and tension –  the breath will “run-out”. On the other hand, adjusting movement to breath is fairly simple and may at most lead to some friction with the ego.

Practicing Asana with structured breathing may take some getting-used-to and it will intensify the development of the breath. When it becomes an established part of your practice you will have gained access to the alchemy of energy in Yoga.

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

WordPress and Search Engines

n

There was a time when starting a journey to the city was a tedious task. You had to get a horse from the stables, get and mount a saddle on… and the ride was bumpy. Then cars came around, you had to pop open the hood, start your car with a crank and the ride was smoother. Now you can remotely activate your car from your living room so by the time you get to it, it’s nice and cozy and ready to go (in the future it will probably get going on it’s own too).

If you wanted to blog 10 or 15 years ago it would have required a lot of horsing around – you had to build your own web pages in HTML and Google were still playing around trying to get search working properly. Website developers were trying to figure out what search engines were trying to do and to build their web-pages accordingly – to make their pages attractive to the search engines. Things have changed since then, a lot.

Search Engines

The one most important thing you need to know about search engines (such as Google) is that they are constantly trying to improve their search capabilities. They are striving to provide us with the best possible results for internet searching. They do this by constantly scanning and cataloging all the information they can get their hands on and then trying to find the best matches when we all enter our search phrases. It’s a straightforward challenge and effort. They are constantly working to improve it.

WordPress

Instead of manually building web pages we now have WordPress which creates quality, search-engine compatible web-pages. A lot of knowledge, care and effort is required to make good web-pages that are clear for search engines. There’s much more to web-pages then meets the eye. But the great news is that you don’t need to know all the details. WordPress developers have done (and continue to do) a wonderful job at taking care of all that for you – so you don’t need to worry about it. You can simply type in your content and WordPress will create web-pages that are optimized for web standards and search engines.

Search Engine Optimization

When search engines were trying to figure out web-searching, web professional were trying to figure out search engines.

When search engines used keywords to improve their search results – web professional figured that out. All of a sudden everyone was running around trying to figure out how to add keywords to web-pages, which keywords to use, what keywords were people likely to search, how was Google using keywords to rank it’s results … and on and on. Once web-professional figured out the rules of the keyword game they  became search engine optimization (SEO) professionals. They began offering keyword based promotion services to give you an edge over other sites and bloggers in search results.

In the end Google realized that people were using keywords promotion to cheat their way into search results in high rankings so, though many people have hard time believing it, Google stopped using keywords to rank search results!!! So now the only way to actually make a “keyword” impact search results it to actually use “key words” in your writing – and guess what – if you are doing sincere and quality writing you are already doing this – no special effort is required

Keywords are just one example. So called “Search Engine Optimization Professionals” constantly try to figure out new ways to manipulate search results, while search engines constantly try to weed out their manipulations so that they deliver REAL quality search results.

You

You don’t need to worry about search engine optimization or page-ranks. You need to stay away from SEO professionals.

You need to publish your writing using a modern and updated version of WordPress.

You need to WRITE – express yourself, focus on consistent, sincere, passionate and quality writing. If you don’t know how – then that is where you should be focusing your attention and efforts.

Posted in outside, Wordpress | You are welcome to add your comment

Life Currents

n

Some weeks ago I had a mental image of flow as a metaphor for all kinds of life situations I have encountered. I wrote some words about it but they didn’t make much sense without the image. So I finally got around to drawing an echo of what I envisioned.

At the heart of the image is a strong current with clear direction. It describes my path through life. Being in this flow is exhilarating. It is obviously present when I am teaching Yoga or when I am creating.

Then just outside this strong core current, there is a weaker current. It’s still in the right direction, though not as strong. This feels more like my day to day life – sometimes it shines forth, other times I need to remember to look and appreciate what’s before me.

Then there is another current which is similar in quality, it is mostly in the right direction but it is not clear and focused – so it tends pull slightly away  from the core currents. This feels like situations in which I am distracted, preoccupied or a bit tired.

If I notice that I am distracted or tired I can do something about it. I can get some rest, watch a movie, pull some weeds around the house, there are many options. But if I don’t notice it or fail to do something about it – I experience a messy current. It is inconsistent, sometimes even moving in the wrong direction. It’s very difficult for me to navigate through this – it’s as if the steering doesn’t work.

If things get really messy and out of control (which fortunately doesn’t happen much) – then I find myself in a chaotic turbulence. It’s really an unpleasant experience.

I recall a story (I read in “The 5th Discipline”) about a man whose canoe flipped in turbulent waters. He fought and struggled to get free from the currents but he failed, drowned and died. Shortly after, his body surfaced near by. Apparently, had he surrendered to the currents, instead of fighting them, he had a good chance of making out alive. This story must have impressed me to have stayed with me for so long (I read the book 7 or 8 years ago) and I take it’s lesson to heart.

Yoga taught me surrender. In retrospect I can see it in many elements of my practice, though it was not as apparent to me when I received these teachings. Bending the knees has a quality of surrendering to limitations of my physical body. Moving inside breath is a constant surrender of physical aspirations to make room for subtle developments of the breath. Practicing softly inside my limits rather then pushing through them is another great quality of surrender. It goes on and on. When surrender in the body is practiced continuously it eventually affects mind as well.

I believe that surrender in mind and body enabled me to experience my first sensations of a path – of a central current that is guiding me, even when I am not aware of it or actively resisting it. I learned to have faith in a path and in my commitment to it. This prepared me for my encounters with art, photography and dance where I was gifted with many opportunities to dive head first into the water and experience bliss.

I believe that surrender is a great, and often times an only, key to releasing myself from raging currents and flowing back into a steady, peaceful and embracing core current, for finding my way out of confusion and into clarity. Surrender is not giving up, but rather about giving in, it is not a random  act of cowardice but rather a directed act of faith.

After-thoughts

As I drew the currents in the image I recognized additional qualities which hadn’t occurred to me before:

  • Most of the currents are moving in the direction of life.
  • Misdirecting currents are generally weaker then the core life currents.
  • Misdirecting currents sometimes flow in direction of the core life currents.
  • Misdirecting currents are always in contact with currents that flow better, therefore it is just a matter of time before we get pulled into a better flow.
  • All currents are connected and flow forward together with the core current, therefore even when we are in a disturbed and chaotic current, moving in what feels like an opposite direction, we are still moving forward in life.
  • No matter what we do, what we feel, what we perceive – we are in an embrace of flowing life.

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

Ten Bears

n

A speech given in 1867 by Ten Bears a Comanche chief:

There are things which you have said to me which I do not like. They were not sweet like sugar, but biter like gourds. You said that you wanted to put us upon a reservation, to build us houses and to make us Medicine lodges. I do not want them.

I was born on the prairie, where the wind blew free, and there was nothing to break the light of the sun. I was born where there were no enclosures, and where everything drew a free breath. I want to die there, and not within walls. I know every stream and every wood between the Rio Grande and the Arkansas. I have hunted and lived over in that country. I lived like my fathers before me, and like them I lived happily.

When I was at Washington, the Great Father told me that all the Comanche land was ours, and that no one should hinder us in living upon it. So why do you ask us to leave the rivers, and the sun, and the wind, and live in houses? Do not ask us to give up the buffalo for the sheep. The young men have heard talk of this and it has made them sad and angry. Do not speak of it any more. I love to carry out the talk I get from the Great Father. When I get goods and presents, I and my people feel glad since it shows that he holds us in his eye. If the Texans had kept out of my country, there might have been peace. But that which you now say we must live on is too small.

The Texans have taken away the places where the grass grew the thickest and the timber was the best. Had we kept that, we might have done this thing you ask. But it is too late. The white man has the country which we loved and we only wish to wander on the prairie until we die. Any good thing you say to me shall not be forgotten. I shall carry it as near to my heart as my children and it shall be as often on my tongue as the name of the Great Spirit. I want no blood upon my land to stain the grass. I want it all clear and pure, and I wish it so, that all who go through among my people may find peace when they come in, and leave it when they go out.

(taken from “Lila: An Inquiry Into Morals” by Robert Pirsig)

Posted in inside, Quality | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-02-28

n
  • "It's not that we're scared, it's just that it's delicate" ♫ http://blip.fm/~leshb #
  • "stupid fools … you wanna get burned, you wanna get turned, you wanna get fucked inside out" ♫ http://blip.fm/~letol #
  • @deepakchopra 's list of 7 "most powerful teachers" (on, of all places, Forbes) has no artists on it! http://bit.ly/c3xwEz #
  • ewww… twitter just got ugly, did they hire (lower?) a Google designer? #
  • to practice or not to practice? am I ready to get on my yoga mat? http://bit.ly/d9iJ6G #
  • @ronenk cc: http://bit.ly/ac3iYV in reply to ronenk #
  • @ronenk לרגע קטן ביאסת אותי, אבל זה עבר, אז סבבה 🙂 in reply to ronenk #
  • @ronenk ההזמנה הייתה אלייך 🙂 יש לי ספק אם יש כאלה כל שני וחמישי, אכן "אלתור" שחוק … בצורה לא איכותית… זה מה יש 🙂 in reply to ronenk #
  • @ronenk אני במטבח ואני קולט שאנרגיה שלי מרוסקת, זה לא עבר, אני מופתע מהעוצמה שבה התגובה שלך הכתה בי… מדהים! ממש צריך לאסוף את עצמי in reply to ronenk #
  • @ronenk בטח, בטח -אני מפנה לזה מקום בחיים, מוציא כסף מהכיס כדי להופיע, רואה הזדמנות נדירה לשתף אנשים ביצירתי, ואז מגיע: זה יקר!!! in reply to ronenk #
  • @ronenk אוף…. מחכה כבר לעזוב את הארץ… זהו 🙂 חזרתי לבשל אטריות מוקפצות ולאכול טוב טוב !! 🙂 in reply to ronenk #
  • @ronen זו רק הייתה תזכורת בשבילי 🙂 כבר לא מנסה לבודד שום דבר… אנא אל תצטער… אוהב אותך כמו שאתה #
  • @ronenk זו החוויה שאני כל הזמן פוגש פה כשאני פוגש פה … כל הזמן…. אוף כמה זה עוצמתי in reply to ronenk #
  • goats: http://bit.ly/aQfnya #
  • childhood flashback… downloading Kenny Rogers!! "…you gotta learn when to walk away and when to run…" #
  • had a gr8 day without any Twitter, had nowhere else to say it but on Twitter! #
  • pushing creates distance, it is not violence; pulling creates proximity, it is not affection; http://bit.ly/94hxIM #
  • what if "normal" was "subnormal" and "paranormal" was "normal"? hmm #
  • I'm looking for a ripped up version of a classic chanson…. any ideas? #
  • "when information is organized in small chunks that can be accessed and sequenced at random it becomes much more valuable than when you #
  • have to take it in serial form. It's better, for example, to run a post office where the patrons have numbered boxes and can come and access #
  • these boxes any time they please. It's worse to have them all come in at a certain time, stand in queue and get their mail from Joe #
  • who has to sort through everything alphabetically each time, and who has rheumatism, is going to retire in a few years and who doesn't care #
  • whether they like waiting or not. #
  • When any distribution is locked into a rigid sequential format it develops Joes that dictate what new changes will be allowed and what not #
  • and that rigidity is deadly" #
  • "…Dusenberry and his Indians" #
  • "There's this pseudo-science myth that you're 'objective' you just disappear from the face of the earth and see everything undistorted #
  • as it really is, like God from heaven. But that's rubbish. #
  • When a person's objective his attitude is remote. He gets a sort of stony, distant look on his face" #
  • "it's better to know a lot and say little… than know little and say a lot" #
  • "something in the way they spoke and handled things and related to each other struck a resonance too, way deep inside him…" #
  • "Sentimentality is a narrowing of experience to the emotionally familiar. But this was something new opening up" #
  • "A feeling of coming home. Coming home to some place one had never been before." #
  • "These are your people,… we know exactly how you feel. We feel this way ourselves" #
  • "It seemed to always come from deep within them. They just said what they wanted to say. Then they stopped…. plain-spoken #
  • …laconic, understated, very little tonal change, no change of expression. Yet there was a warmth beneath the surface…" #
  • "Indians don't talk to fill time. When they don't have anything to say, they don't say it" #

Powered by Twitter Tools

Posted in About, Twitter Updates | You are welcome to add your comment

Dylan, Gray, Hendrix, Hooker, Hornsby, Isaak, Jagger, Joel, Mullins, Knopfler, John

n

I am selling my CD collection. Why? I want to free up physical space in my life, getting rid of physical goods I don’t need, making space for movement.  I’m gradually ripping my collection to a computer and listing the CD’s here. You are welcome to checkout the complete list and let me know if you want anything.

Bob Dylan
The Best of Volume1
The Best of Volume2 (2cd)
Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid

David Gray
White Ladder
Lost Songs 95 – 98
Life in Slow Motion

Jimi Henderix – Experience Hendrix, the best of Jimi Hendrix

John Lee Hooker – Boom Boom

Bruce Hornsby – Harbor Lights

Chris Isaak
Always Got Tonight
Baja Sessions
Speak of the Devil
Forever Blue
San Francisco Days
Wicked Game

Mick Jagger – Wandering Spirit

Billy Joel
The River of Dreams (single)
The Stranger
An Innocent Man
Piano Man
Kohlept (live in Russia)

Shawn Mullins – Soul’s Core

Mark Knopfler
One Take Radio Sessions
Shangri-la
The Ragpicker’s Dream
Screenplaying
Sailing to Philadelphia
Cal – Movie Soundtrack

Elton John
Love Songs
Two Rooms – Celebrating the songs of Elton John & Bernie Taupin

Posted in CD's for Sale | You are welcome to add your comment