“The fate of all of us here has been to know that we are prisoners of power. No one knows why us in particular, but what a great fortune!”
Carlos Castaneda

Tales of Power

A Yoga Sequence for Everyone

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The following images/animations depict a short sequence anyone can do. Repeat each posture 4 times – which should take a few minutes (over time you may want to increase this to 6 or even 8 repetitions of each posture). The postures are accessible and yet each one has much depth to explore. It is a short sequence, requires a very small space and no special accessories (a quiet spot and a small rug) which can be softly introduced even into a busy and hectic daily schedule. If you do practice daily, try to practice regularly – at the same time & the same place.

As with any practice (short or long, soft or intense…) it is beneficial to take a few minutes to settle and arrive before beginning the practice, and a few minutes to settle and absorb at the end. Observing before and after the practice may, over time, give you some indication of it’s effects on you. You can find more ideas on how to approach a practice by reading about taking your first steps in yoga.

Clicking on an image/animation will lead to more details and guidance on each of the postures.

Posted in Asana, Basic Movement, Getting Started, Practice Sequences, Yoga | You are welcome to read 3 comments and to add yours

Yoga Asana: Savasana

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Savasana (corpse posture) is a simple looking asana. Lie down on your back, legs straight and released so they fall slightly to the sides, arms alongside the body, palms turned up – and you are physically arranged in Savasana. It is a resting posture that can be visited numerous times during a practice.

savasana

Savasana is an opportunity to let the body settle and to observe. It is often introduced at the end of an Asana practice to close the practice by letting the breath and body settle and to observe changes in body, breath, consciousness, energy, feelings… to give the body an opportunity to absorb and communicate.

Savasana may seem like “an easy posture” – and physically it is (though there are therapeutic situations in which it is inaccessible). The challenge Savasana offers is to remain present and attentive – in this sense it is almost a trap. During pratice the mind is reasonably occupied – coordinating movement, keeping balance, breathing, sustaining effort, etc. In Savasana the mind is relieved from it’s responsibilities and left with nothing to do and tends to wander. My teacher often reminds us that Savasana is a “rest from practice, not from life”.

Still, despite it’s seeming simplicity, there are some physical qualities to look for when practicing Savasana:

  • Neck placement – keep your neck long by keeping the chin tucked in.
  • Arm placement – find a position in which your arms and shoulders relaxed. Explore by moving your arms further and closer to your body until you find a restful position.
  • Hand placement – make sure your palms are facing up and that your fingers are relaxed.
  • Lower Back – if the lower back is sensitive or strained (sometimes as a result of the practice itself), releasing the area around it can lead (though actually it’s revealing) discomfort or pain. As a result there can be a tendency to keep the lower back tense. If you encounter discomfort in your lower (or any other area of the body for that matter), place you attention softly on it, keep breathing and try to slowly and gradually sink into relaxation.
  • Legs – remember to release the legs, it’s simple, but also easy to forget.
  • Small Places – let the head weigh down, release your facial muscles, let the eyelids fall & close lightly, release the tongue in your mouth. Let your consciousness explore your body and gently release what can be released.

Remember to also let your breath relax. If it is still demanding and rushed, try to witness as it gradually relaxes. I have found that the breath settles quicker when attention is placed on it, otherwise it can take much longer, the mind wanders until suddenly it finds the breath settled.

Posted in Asana, Basic Movement, Yoga | You are welcome to read 2 comments and to add yours

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-01-24

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  • :+) @andreea_hl and I have just received a 1st payment from a user for FEM – our online fertility awareness application http://www.myfem.org #
  • @ililush תודה רבה רבה… אלא אם כן הקבוצה במעלות נראה לי שיהיה קצת להגיע 🙂 האם אוכל לשאול אותך שאלות של מתחילים in reply to ililush #
  • יש סירנה בצפון – תעשו טובה ותיכנסו לי למקלט #
  • a rare and inspiring gem – a must see video "A New Biology": http://bit.ly/7mqy5t #
  • WetCat a new stench by Antonio Banderas !! #
  • this link is your link, this link is my link…. http://bit.ly/17fPC5 #
  • ככה כמו שאתם קוראים אותי – על הקמין (במקום גז) יש סיר עם תבשיל קדירה וקנקנן עם תה צמחים 🙂 #
  • I've been told and experienced that tears are an indication of a meditation practice that has touched peace #
  • שפע מבורך ובלתי נדלה של גשם יורד בצפון… איזו ברכה! #
  • הפתעה מרגשת – מחר הופעת בכורה של האלבום החדש של ארקדי דוכין – התמונות שלי מלוות את המופע! תיאטרון נוגה ביפו – בואו 🙂 http://bit.ly/4O0zNm #
  • don't try "to be" special, you are special so just be yourself! #
  • My photography will be the backdrop at the premier show of Arkadi Duchin's new album (a prominent Israeli musician) http://bit.ly/4O0zNm #
  • סרט התדמית לרכבת החדשה של רכבת ישראל מתחיל עם הנהג "עמי פוני" אוי וויי #
  • the morning after: http://bit.ly/89LJ3h #
  • הפסקת מאימון סריגה – מעבר לערמונים שהתבשלו על הקמין #
  • I just find out there are courses for "Spiritual Coaching". oh boy! #
  • reason is an addictive substance for mind #

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One Night Stand?

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Yesterday, we went to see Arkadi Duchin’s premier performance of his new album and songs. At the last minute (to be more precise – the last 24 hours) some of my images were incorporated into the visual art-work that was displayed on a large screen on stage.

My efforts to share my photography work (StillCreation, SweetClarity) have always been rooted in a wish to share with others something of the magical experiences that have been bestowed on me. Almost all of my work has taken place in improvised settings – creating alongside talented, inspiring and passionate people. For me, images that are created in this work are echoes of fleeting and sometimes life-changing moments in which I was present. I make images available to others in the hope that something from those experience will touch them as well.

In this spirit I answered the invitation to incorporate my work into Arkadi’s performance. Arkadi is a talented and well renowned artist in Israel. His recent songs are anchored in spiritual studies and the texts I encountered offered a warm embrace to my images. With this in heart I embraced the invitation and offered my works. Yesterday some of them met an audience of ~500 people, and over coming months they may meet many more. For this I am grateful.

On a more personal, may be more egoistic, note, I did not enjoy seeing my images the way the were displayed. There were a 2 or 3 moments in which incidental meetings between images and words resonated in my heart. There were many more moments where I encountered wonderful opportunities for wonderful meetings between words, music and images – but they did not manifest. When my images were screened, I felt as if I was one of the musicians on stage – but it felt as if my microphone wasn’t properly connected – I was getting cut off mid-phrase and then reappearing out of context.

The dialogue about including my images began a week before the performance. 24 hours before the performance I spoke to the video artist for the first time and sent her images for preparation and editing. There simply wasn’t enough time & space to create a caring and intimate relationship between the images, the songs and the performance. I would have liked to spend more time creating a deeper relationship. I would have preferred that the visual art work received caring attention as the songs did when they were written, the musicians forged in rehearsing and playing together and the production received in light, sound, documentation and recording.

I hope this was just a beginning and that there will be an opportunity to develop the work.

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

Arkadi Duchin

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Arkadi DuchinTomorrow is a premier concert of Arkadi Duchin‘s new album “September”. Most of the texts on the new songs are rooted in spiritual teachings of Kabala.

Amit Shalev is an inspiring video photographer I met during my first year working with Shahar (which brings back a memory for another Glimpses). I was contacted by Amit, who studies and collaborates with Arkadi, a few days ago about an opportunity to present my works within the settings of the new performance (on a large screen that is part of the stage design).

Amit sent me a list of songs in the set-list (and a tight schedule), and over two days I roamed my image repositories with Arkadi’s music in the background. It was a wonderful journey. Though I don’t study Kabala, the spiritual contexts resonated clearly with my outlook on life and my teachings and practices rooted in Yoga. The songs gently illuminated the vast collection of images and some images popped out asking to be present. Initially images appeared for specific songs – but after the first few songs an aura was set and images appeared from different directions. Some images came up that had never been presented or published in any context – they came to life with Arkadi’s new songs.

I sent out a selection of images matched to songs and then after a couple of days of silence I got great responses. Arkadi and others in the production team were moved and excited by the images and it seems that most of the visual work during this concert (and probably during the following tour) will be based on my photography work.

So tomorrow Andreea & I have another unplanned visit to the city. I am honored, excited and looking forward to this unique opportunity for my work to meet new audiences in a special and moving setting. I invite you to come (Thursday 21/2/2010 Noga Theatre – Jaffa 21:30).

Posted in Photography | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

Proteins & Prayers

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I first saw this video, “A New Biology” by Bruce Lipton, a few years ago and I was awed and moved by it. For the first time in my life it provided me with accessible and interesting teachings of biology. It is delivered by a caring and passionate researcher. A couple of days ago it came up during a conversation with Andreea. I watched again and it continues to be insightful, inspiring and miraculous. Hearing a scientific researcher cross the bridge into spirit and prayer gives me hope.

It is much longer then your average internet video (total length ~2 hours and 40 minutes). I realize it may be a challenge for many people, but I am convinced that it will be a rewarding and potentially life changing experience for those who make the time for it. Enjoy 🙂

Part 1:


Part 2:

Posted in Enjoy, Expanding, inside, Yoga | Tagged | You are welcome to read 2 comments and to add yours

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-01-17

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  • מתים תופסים יותר מדי מקום #
  • re-experiencing family: http://bit.ly/4qC71B #
  • this time with pictures – food in Romania: http://bit.ly/76RDqA #
  • What comes around has been around: http://bit.ly/8RvHpp #
  • @KathySierra have an audience, even one or two people can help in reply to KathySierra #
  • came back from Romania wanting to learn knitting, still haven't found a good starting point… age of the internet has toooo many options #
  • @ronenk בוקר מבורך לך 🙂 אתה יכול להקשיב לזה כל יום גם בלי לחזור בתשובה 🙂 איזה כיף כשמתגלה בהירות בפנים שחווה את היופי שבחוץ? 🙂 in reply to ronenk #

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Echoes

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Silence is an echo of sound
Sound is an echo of words
Words are an echo of thoughts
Thoughts are echoes of knowledge
Knowledge is an echo of silence

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

What Comes Around Has Been Around?

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I just finished reading this post by Brad Burnham and its echoes by Fred Wilson and Brad Feld about patent trolling and its effects on startups. I can understand and sympathize with the problem they are facing but I wonder if there is another older pattern at work.

A few years ago when I was closer to startup dynamics it was not uncommon for founders to pursue (often prohibitively expensive and often useless) patents, often primarily to cater to investors expectations (“investors like to see patents to secure their investment”). I also encountered patent based startups that were created as patent-traps with no other substantial offering (their financial models were based primarily on expected legal expenses).

I see an irony when business people explain that patents were originally intended to protect inventors and the very idea of innovation. Why was protection needed in the first place? I doubt it was from other innovators or society at large, I have a feeling (no historical research to back it up) it was mostly from businesses (run by businessmen who wanted to make a profit) who did not have any qualms about exploiting innovation without recognizing and supporting innovators. I don’t think we live in a world where businesses would line up of their own free will to recognize and adequately (I don’t want to push for generously) compensate inventors even in cases where it is obviously due.

When I look at the USV portfolio I see some companies that I feel have substantial purpose and potential impact that go beyond making healthy profits for their investors. I also see companies that I feel have no or misplaced purpose, regardless of potential future profits for investors. I am curious to know which companies in the USV portfolio are suffering from abusive patent prosecution – and I am curious to see if there is any correlation between that and their purposes.

It can (and usually does) take time for true nature to reveal her-tself – things that appear to be “good” can morph into “bad” and then back to “good” and on and on. We do not control the consequences of our actions. We do control our intents and they will resonate strong and far. If you play in a game where your objective is to use money to make more money, you should expect to meet like-minded people, even when you don’t like it. If you don’t like yet, you can consider changing the game.

I do not feel that I have the credibility to say this – so I am happy to quote an interesting, established and inspiring source:

“Money is not meant to generate money; money should generate an increase in production, an improvement in the conditions of life and a progress in human consciousness.”

“Money is not meant to generate money; money should generate an increase in production, an improvement in the conditions of life and a progress in human consciousness.
Posted in AltEco, outside | You are welcome to add your comment

Romania – Food

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The most memorable food from Romania, for me, was fresh and warm mini-bagels sold in the center of town. I am not a big fan of food – I eat mostly to sustain myself and rarely as an indulgence. Yet my visit to Romania was very food-centric. It was a holiday season (Christmas, New Years & two additional religious holidays honoring saints) and most of my visits were first time meetings with Andreea’s family. Also, since I don’t speak Romanian – eating is the next best way to socialize – so I was constantly surrounded by food.

Drinks

Wine is always served. When we visited village homes – there was always plenty of home made wine (a humble home winery had a capacity of 700 liters). When we visited other homes there was usually a healthy quantity of wine that came from a family-relative village winery. The wine is not too strong (it’s usually a fresh vintage) and is a rather light drink, it can be deceiving.

Tsuica is a lethal alcoholic beverage ranging from 30%-60% proof. Like wine, most of it originated from family-relative village homes. It was made from the mashed grape left-overs from the winery. These left overs are stored in sealed bags outside in the cold (which prevents further fermentation) – which are used to brew fresh Tsuica throughout the winter. Only once was it served to me raw, the smell alone was too much for me, the taste was awful (and I have a feeling it’s appeal is not the taste). Most of the time it was served mixed with a berry-fruit-concentrate that resulted in a really pleasant drink that reminded me of a port-wine we once purchased from a monastery. Every sip seemed to immediately caress my insides with a delicate and tingling warmth – it was great fun.

There are many brands (and loads of stupid TV commercials) of bottled water. It is ridiculous because there is so much excellent natural water in Romania. The faucet water in the city was of dubious quality. It is usually much better in the village where it is either pumped or manually (yes still!) drawn from nearby wells. Ironically water never seemed to be offered on the table, I had to ask for it 🙂

Mamaliga

Mamaliga (yellow dish in the center of the post at the beginning of this post) is a an instant, fresh, warm and cheap substitute for bread. You place some corn-flour (which is literally ground dried corn!) in boiling water with some salt and after a few minutes it turns into … Mamaliga.

One of the reasons it’s a popular food (besides how ridiculously simple it is to make) is that if you live in a village you are very likely to have plenty of corn – as it is widely grown and used to feed the livestock (chickens, goats,pigs, etc.).

Hemp Cake

One of the Romanian Christmas treats is Hemp cake (if you read Romanian – you can find a recipe with more images here). As Christmas nears (and at no other time during the year) the market is filled with bags of hemp seeds – there is nothing “high” about it. Its cream filling is made using hemp seeds which are considered healthy (but not much fun). It has a delicate flavor. One variation of the cake is in the following image, and as you can see, the wine is ever-present.

Vegetables

Finding simple vegetarian food is usually an unwelcome challenge when I travel – all I need is some rice and vegetables to make me happy – and it often difficult to come bye – especially when eating out. Plenty of vegetables were very available in Romania. One of our first walks was to the market – and it was a delight for me. Many fruits and vegetables are imported and therefore relatively expensive. But what took my breath away is the amazing variety of large (and muddy) root vegetables at amazingly low prices (much much much cheaper then in Israel – which is considered a heaven when it comes to fruits and vegetables. $15 would have probably supplied the two of us with a month’s supply of cooked vegetables. I was blessed with two or 3 wonderful meals cooked by Andreea’s step-mother which included plentiful vegetable dishes.

I often feel that when people talk about organic foods – that the focus is on the biological or chemical aspects. For me a bit part of organics is a state of mind of appreciating and embracing what nature has to offer. I could easily and heartily embrace Romania’s land and nature offered. It may not be an equivalent of 5 star restaurant food – but that is not what I am looking for – I am looking for good, wholesome, affordable (it’s free if you grow it by yourself – more on that in an upcoming post) nutrition.

Due to the nature of Romanian weather (a long and cold winter) they are very proficient at preserving vegetables (and other things) using various techniques (pickling, salt, etc.). One preservative I couldn’t fathom, and found very unpleasant was watermelons – small personal sized watermelons are … well… pickled – resulting in a slimy red substance … eeek!

Potatoes deserve a special mention. They are widely available and also very cheap. But they have a bad reputation – they are considered poor (as in social standings) food. Since rice is sometimes harder to come by or more expensive – potatoes are a favorite substitute for me. This created a cultural conflict. Our hosts needed to be convinced that serving potatoes is OK – they did not want to give the impression of being poor. They preferred to serve something that symbolized abundance – which brings us to the main event: Meat!

Meat

Yesterday Andreea & I passed by the meat section in a local supermarket – and we both laughed at how pathetic it looked. I don’t eat meat – but I was impressed by the amazing variety of meat in Romania – much of which is of course made (at least partly) of pig. Actually, I arrived at exactly the time when, in the villages, pigs are slaughtered (just before Christmas) and almost every part is somehow prepared or processed to provide meat in the coming winter. So not only did our hosts not want to serve me potatoes – they very much wanted to serve me freshly slaughtered pork meat. For them it is a celebration they look forward to every year.

During our first village visit (on the same evening that I am close to being drunk) a fresh platter of meats (from animals that were recently slaughtered) was placed on the table and I decided to taste. some. I took three bites of three different meats. They had a rich flavor and a lot of character. But that was all for me. In my consciousness the events of the following night were tightly linked.

Hallucinations?

By the time we got home I was suffering from a painful headache and my entire body was tightly wound. I settled on the living room sofa (I didn’t go to the bedroom because it is a noisy room, it was still early and the city noises hammered into me) and wrapped myself in a blanket. I kept my eyes closed because the light from the TV (which was thankfully muted) hurt me. Eventually we moved to the bedroom and I had a terrible and sleepless night. I don’t usually remember my dreams, and this night felt more like some kind of hallucination then a dream (I imagined that it felt like I was on some kind of Indian spirit journey – though I’ve never been on one so I can’t really tell).

I was trying to solve some kind of three dimensional puzzle. Tubes were flowing through space, creating an endless maze of paths and spaces. I was busily trying to unravel the puzzle – and it wasn’t working – the puzzle was getting more and more complicated – it was my entire world. Every time I “solved” one area, others appeared – it demanded an all-inclusive solution – a sudden revelation. At one point I realized that I was actually creating the puzzle. My efforts to solve it were fueling it – making it larger and more dense. I felt that if I could only find a way to stop my consciousness, that the puzzle would simply disappear – and there would be nothing left to solve. I was restless during the entire night, twisting and turning on the bed, until sometime in the early morning hours I found some peace and sleep.

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

Family

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My recent travels have given rise to thoughts about family. Traveling agitates my energy, it destabilizes me and my body tenses and aches. So, actually, the stops on the way are those that affected me and got me thinking.

A few weeks ago, during my day in Tel-Aviv family surfaced for the first time in my consciousness. It was just past 5pm. I felt demolished. I called @ronenk, whom I’d never met in person before, and asked him to bring me to a place of shelter and refuge from the overwhelming city experience (I could not yet leave the city because I had one more engagement I planned and wanted to attend). He told me to come and join him and @naamasegal. When we spoke on the phone I was standing on a busy road overlooking a traffic-jammed highway, and I thought (wished!?) he was inviting me to Naama’s home.

When I reached the address he gave me and found him I realized I was going into another disturbing experience – a coffee shop. I was in for a surprise. After a full-hearted, paternal hug from @ronenk, I soon found myself sitting in a corner chair of a corner table in the company of two new friends (soon to be joined by @yoavsegal) – and the rest of the city seemed to fade from my consciousness. They took me into their intimate bubble, one that was created before I arrived. They were understanding, soft and caring. There were family.

When I set out on my journey to Romania I left a couple of days before my flight. The first leg of my journey was from our house in the north to my parents house in the center area of Israel (so that I would have a recess before the next part of the journey). Obviously my parents and sisters are family – biologically. Yet our relationship is not always familial. They gave me shelter and food and we also managed to strike a conversation in which we met with attention and curiosity (instead of typical friction). They too were family.

I wrote these words at the home of a family who lives in Bucharest. They are Andreea’s friends and they offered to help in making a transition from Bucharest airport to Piatra Neamt (where Andreea and her family await me). Help was needed. The trains in Romania, like many other things, are not very reliable and the fresh snow made them even less so. We were not able to make it to a train on the day I landed and so they gave me a home for the night. They live in a 2 room apartment and I slept peacefully in one of the rooms while they (two adults and two children) slept in the other. They fed me and provided me with a warm shower. They cared and supported with generous patience. Even thought I was in a distant, foreign, busy, cold and snowy city, diverted from my planned journey, I felt at home. They too were family.

As I write these words, I am on my way to another, even more remote, distant and cold city. I am going to meet new members of my biological family. I can already feel care and curiosity reaching out to me from Andreea and them (people I’ve never met), wrapping me comfortable and safely in another familial bubble.

I eventually made it onto a train that was heading in the correct direction. I purchased 1st class tickets to ensure I had a place to sit. I had seat number 104 on carriage 9. The carriage only had 96 seats. When I approached a conductor – he said “yes, this is a problem” and gestured for me to get on. I climbed back into the train into a crowded passageway, barely finding a place for myself and my luggage. I was standing right in the connecting area between two carriages. When the train began to move, snow, from the carriage seams, began to fall on me and on my luggage – while I was holding first class tickets. Despite all the discomfort I was still content and happy, still protected by family.

Family is a surprising and refreshing experience for me after all these years. I believe that families make homes.

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

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-01-10

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  • a typical sheep will yield 7kg of wool, 4kg remain after processing, a medium sized hand knitted shirt requires about 600grams #
  • hello all, our physical bodies are back in Israel@home, the rest is slowly arriving… have much to recall and share.. cusoon #
  • Life in a Yurt – Broadband, Yes. Toilet, No: http://bit.ly/5AIzI8 #
  • @shanacarp thank you for the listing/unlisting 🙂 in reply to shanacarp #
  • @ronenk אני פה 🙂 in reply to ronenk #
  • one day at a time, one task at a time, one breath at a time #
  • first post on visit to Romania – it's all me me me and my energy: http://bit.ly/8MIrHY #

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Romania – Changes in Energy

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I recently returned from a 16 day visit to Romania with Andreea. It was my first time visiting her birth country and meeting her family (we’ve been together for 8+ years). It was an intense and experience filled journey and I am looking forward to much recollecting and writing. I am going to start this journey of recollection inside.

I was home alone for 2 months before leaving to Romania to meet Andreea. I took this opportunity of being isolated to focus on my practices. During this period I experienced new levels of clarity and focus. I realized that it would not be feasible to maintain this level of practice and lifestyle while in Romania and I was curious to witness changes in my energy while I was there (traveling is usually very taxing on me).

During the first few days of the journey I felt fine – my energy was up and supportive. There were some obstacles and delays until I finally met up with Andreea – and even amidst the uncertainties and discomforts my spirits were high and I felt fine.

In Romania I met cold weather and snow and we stayed in Andreea’s childhood home in Piatra Neamt (a relatively small but developed city) in a 3rd story apartment (in a 10 story building) on one of the city’s main and busy roads. I am not used to the business of a city and I find it mostly disturbing. I adjusted to the snow quite easily, I could not find peace in the noises of the city.

Over the first few days I could feel my vitality slipping – I was feeling fine but not as vital as I did before leaving. We were moving around quite a bit taking walks, visiting people. We were taking it one day at a time, there was no regularity to our days. Sometimes my energy was collected, other times it was diffused. I remember one evening walk through the city when I wasn’t feeling very well and I felt that every set of car-headlights was attacking me.

A prominent turning point was when we first ventured out of the city to a nearby (15 minute drive) village (Bistrita). My body and I were grateful for getting away from the city – the further we drove the more relaxed I became (and realized how much tension I had accumulated). When we stepped out of the minibus I felt rejuvenated. The walk through the village, the arrival at a welcoming village home, the warm food and finally the walk in the hills and through the woods were all a blessed and welcome change.

Then the evening brought a surprising shift. We were all seated around the table after another small meal. There was plenty of home made wine and Tsuica on the table and the glasses are never allowed to empty (nobody seems to drink water – but more about that when I write about food). A happy spirit settled on the room and there was much laughter. At first I tried to control the flow of alcohol, but finally I surrendered to it and though I didn’t get completely drunk I was well on my way. By the following morning this felt like a final blow to my energy. Bot the sacrifice and the consequences were a conscious experience.

A couple days later Andreea & I again, spontaneously, traveled to Bistrita, just the two of us, again to get away from the city. This visit was more intimate, more grounded and much much lower on alcohol then the previous visit. The intimacy and peace of this visit were rejuvenating – a safe haven. If only for a day I felt recollected, quiet and at peace within. Though it faded quickly it was a direly needed stop.

By now my energy was fairly diffused. I wasn’t sleeping well. It took me an hour or two to pull myself together in the mornings. I was “functional” until the early evening hours and then I would get tired, sometimes I had headaches & my appetite was irregular making it difficult for me to provide myself with the nutrition I needed (and we were still moving around a lot due to holidays).

Observing these changes was a magical experience for me even when I was not feeling well. It supported and calmed me. Having this perspective available to me gave me a sense of orientation. I was able to make sense and embrace the changes that were happening. At one point I felt that experiencing the world this way was as basic as learning to walk.

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

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-12-20

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  • @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

n

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’]

PLEASE NOTE:

  • 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.

Camera

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.

Computer

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.

Presentation

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

n

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”.

ibm

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.

ibm_overview

Posted in Breath, Energy, Models & Metaphors, Yoga | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

Yoga & Breath – Directional Breathing & Forward Bends

n

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.

directionalmovement_sitarms

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.

directionalmovement_sitbend

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.

directionalmovement_sitall

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

n

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

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-12-13

n
  • corners are great too: http://bit.ly/6ppQBC #
  • @ronenk הגעת כבר למקום חם? הייתה שיחה? יש תה על הקמין… דבש? in reply to ronenk #
  • יום חמישי הוא יום תל-אביבי… הרבה זמן לא הייתי… כולל 3 פגישות ותערוכה #
  • soft movement in #yoga #asana: http://bit.ly/5GeZlj #
  • a really funny line in an Adam Sandler movie is awkward and amusing… and, well, funny! #
  • RT מזל טוב על הרך הנולד @NaamaSegal @ronenk http://bit.ly/twitter1nk #
  • John Tchicai "Satisfaction" album just came to an end… as all good things #
  • cold night, warm fire, garden herbs tea, kruder & dorfmeister, writing about Yoga, yep, this is it! #
  • first #pranayama exposed mind http://bit.ly/6AvKFo , now it exposes what is beyond mind: http://bit.ly/7P3fxy #yoga #
  • @ronenk תזכורת – מחר אני בתל-אביב 🙂 in reply to ronenk #
  • הקמין דולק, הולך לבשל מרק כרוב ולעשות ניסוי חביתה עם חוביזה – מתסבר שאחד העשבים הפוריים בשטח הבית הוא חוביזה! מוזר לי לבשל עשב פרא #
  • החביתה, אם לא תהיה רעילה, למחר, ארוחת בוקר ברכבת במסע ליום תל-אביב #
  • כדי להנות מהגזעים העבים והבריאים צריך קודם לחמם את הקמין בטירוף – אש חזקה, קמין רותח, גחלים בוערות ואז הגזעים בוערים יפה #
  • ניסוי החוביזה יצא משליטה: בצל, קרישה, חוביזה, תרד וגזר מגורד כבר בפנים… יש עוד קצת מקום לביצים… נראה לי אני מסודר לכל היום מחר #
  • חוביזה יצאה 8 לא פחות ולא יותר, תבשיל כרוב נראה טוב, אורז על האש, עוד מעט אוכל… ברח הזמן במטבח #
  • @YoavSegal @ronenk @naamasegal תודה תודה תודה לכם על הבועה המלטפת והמחבקת בתוך ההמולה הרועמת… תבורכו, מצפה להיות אתכם בבועה שלי #
  • city images: http://bit.ly/5RsMW5 #
  • Thunderbird3 is released http://bit.ly/2zxpYm, enjoying subtle changes & improved Ubuntu performance #
  • Upgrading Thunderbird on Ubuntu: http://bit.ly/tYDtD (including auto-future-updates for mozilla apps!) #
  • @andreea_hl and I are looking for a woman developer to join us on our FEM project: http://builditwith.me/idea/Gbnc #
  • איזה שפע של גשם יורד פה בצפון… מבורך! #
  • #yoga #asana coordinating breath-movement and physical-movement: http://bit.ly/8RKHm8 #
  • @ronenk #SocBook שומע קחחח קחחח עבור קחחח קחחח in reply to ronenk #
  • @ronenk בשנייה ראשונה זה נראה לי משבוע שעבר, בשנייה השנייה אני קולט שעבר זמן… כל כך הרבה, כל כך מהר in reply to ronenk #
  • הקמין דועך, גזע העץ כמעט שרוף, הסדין החשמלי דולק, עוד קצת כתיבה את הפוסט יוגה של מחר – ככה עם החום האחרון, ואז מיטה, תה, ספר #
  • ככה זה, לקח לי יומיים לאסוף את האנרגיה בחזרה http://bit.ly/77rFEn אחרי שפיזרתי אותה ברחבי העיר http://bit.ly/5RsMW5 #
  • not-practicing #Yoga this morning: http://bit.ly/4CWAGA #
  • @crowfer thank you for sharing that with me 🙂 in reply to crowfer #
  • @ronenk תשמח ותשמע 🙂 in reply to ronenk #
  • Raaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaandyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy http://bit.ly/4Kvlff #
  • יצאה השמש – הלכתי להעביר את את הכביסה לשמש ולהכין טחינה #

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Yoga & Breath – Directional Breathing & Movement

n

In this articles we will be taking a step that may appear small at first, but without it, it would be difficult to move forward and take the next step. My wish is to bring closer together the ideas of directional breathing & movement.

The explanation about directional breathing focused on the torso – the chest and abdominal area where breathing takes place. Now let’s take a step back and see it in play when looking at the entire body. The following animation is an overlay of the torso movement on a stick-figure of the entire body (the arms have been removed for the sake of clarity, they will soon be reintroduced). The blue dot indicates the focus of movement along the back during the breathing cycle.

directionalmovement_breath

You can again see the core idea of directional breathing: (1) inhale begins in the chest and moves down to the diaphragm and then to the abdominal area; (2) exhale begins in the abdominal area and then moves up through the diaphragm and ends in the chest. You may want to revisit the details of this wave movement by re-reading directional-breathing.

Inhale is a top-down movement. Exhale is a bottom-up movement.

Now we will remove the torso, leave the blue dot to remind us where breath-movement is taking place in the spine and introduce a simple movement of the arms. The point of this exercise is simply to stay focused on the directional movement of the breath while performing a simple coordinated physical movement.

directionalmovement_arms

You may experience some friction in the mind – there may seem to be a contradiction. When the arms move up the breath moves down, when the arms move down the breath moves up. If you experience this confusion, stop moving the arms. Be still and focus again just on the directional breathing, then when you are ready try again to move the arms.

There is one last exercise you can do when you feel you have made this connection. Try reversing the relationship between breath and movement – raise your arms as you exhale and then lower them as you inhale. How does that feel?

Posted in Basic Movement, Breath, Yoga | You are welcome to add your comment