Saturday, July 30, 2005

"Got to get back to the land, set my soul free..."

"Well I came across a child of God, he was walking along the road
And I asked him tell where are you going, this he told me:
Well, I'm going down to Yasgur's farm, going to join in a rock and roll band.
Got to get back to the land, set my soul free.
We are stardust, we are golden, we are billion year old carbon,
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.

Well, then can I walk beside you? I have come to lose the smog.
And I feel like I'm a cog in something turning.
And maybe it's the time of year, yes, and maybe it's the time of man.
And I don't know who I am but life is for learning.
We are stardust, we are golden, we are billion year old carbon
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.

By the time we got to Woodstock, we were half a million strong,
And everywhere there was song and celebration.
And I dreamed I saw the bombers jet planes riding shotgun in the sky,
Turning into butterflies above our nation.

We are stardust, we are golden, we caught in the devil's bargain,
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden."
- -Joni Mitchell, 1969-70 (not CSN&Y, as many believe)

Just got back from Woodstock, New York, not too far from the site of the original Woodstock concert in 1969. We were there because it was not far from the sleep-away camp we were visiting in anticipation of my two boys MAYBE going to sleep-away camp next summer (and if they do, I am MYSORE BOUND!!! not that I want them to go, but if they do, gotta make use of my time, you know....)

Anyway, I just found Woodstock (the town) to be completely NOT what I expected. I expected cute and artsy and quaint. Instead, it was crowded and somewhat skanky and commercial. I was disillusioned.

Ok, it can't all be negative right? I did meander into a store called Dharmaware, and I learned to make a Tibetan bowl sing, which was pretty cool. And the guy at the cash register (he could have been the owner, for all I know) was playing Bhagavan Das (don't know the name of the CD offhand, but it features his "wife" (?) Uma on backup vocals on Rhagupati as well as on two other tracks), which made me happy. (By the way, if you click on the Bhagavan Das link, and you have your volume turned on, you can hear part of a wonderful chant to the various "gurus" that guide us - it's the third one down on the linked page...more on that another day). We chatted a bit, and he told me that Sharon and David (of Jivamukti) have a house nearby, which I actually already knew, but it was interesting to hear them being talked about like local celebrities.

Speaking of which, my husband kept insisting that Woodstock is going to be the next Rhinebeck, the next Easthampton, you know, attracting celebrities and all. I just don't see it, what with all the tattoo-wearers, goths and renaissance-garb-wearing foks wandering around. NOT that there is anything wrong with tattoos or people who choose to go goth or rennaisance. It's just that I don't see Spielberg, Seinfeld and all the not-so-famous people who hang out with Denise Rich, hanging out amongst these folks. But then you never know. And as I am finding more and more, the more I know, the more I realize I don't know.

So, yoga, where was the yoga today? I did try to work on a cool partner exercise for my Breast Cancer Survivors class - something along the lines of two people standing back to back, one forward bending, one back bending. I tried it with my older son, who is almost my height, but he is weighs so little that we were ill-matched. Then I tried it with my husband, who pulled me so hard into a backbend that I saw stars. Guess it's not a great thing to do with people who are not experienced in yoga. Ah well, live and learn.

Oh yeah, and the song - I have been humming it all day, and thinking about the words and the concept of music setting the soul free. Does that make playing/listening to music a form of yoga? I read an interview with John Scott where he said that his first "yoga" was golf - the focus, the "being the ball" (he really said that!). And for me, I believe my first "yoga" was long-distance running, but that my best "yoga" before actually getting on the mat was figure skating, which I took up as an adult and practiced as much as four times a week before my bilateral mastectomies sidelined me: it truly did feel as if I became one with what my body was doing, such that there was nothing but the movement, no mind at all, only the carefully focused process of sending messages to the various parts of my body. I think that it is important not to forget that yoga is not just asana - it is whatever you do that corrals the mind and brings focus to the exclusion of the vrittis. The Ashtanga system is a wonderful MEANS toward yoga.

Anyway....tomorrow begins a new week of Ashtanga....must get sleep!

YC

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

i bet you, they are very happy in the woodstock area that those hamptonites that you mentioned are not ever going to hang out in woodstock!!!(tee-hee)
(enjoy your blog immensely, keep going!)
ivdp

yoga chickie said...

thanks ivdp...believe it or not, i am still thinking about this and wondering what it was about woodstock that made it so unappealing to me. it's not like i am a stuffy person - i love the east village and i love all the different people i meet through the ashtanga practice. but for some reason, woodstock was just a turnoff to me....go figure....

Anonymous said...

i think woodstock is a state of mind, which has nothing to do with
the town of woodstock, the first time that i ever went there, i ran into three people i know from new york (within the first half hour), and i was wondering why i had
not just stayed at home, if i wanted to meet new yorkers. anyway, i have been there twice more and always quite liked it as an "outing" there are acually quite a few "welknown, maybe even famous" people in the area, they are just very low key. greetings,
ivdp

yoga chickie said...

it's funny - my husband and i went to woodstock a long time ago - before we had kids, probably 9 years ago. and we loved it! it felt really different then. maybe it woul have been more enjoyable this time if we were able to spend time meandering around the galleries instead of dealing with the kids bickering. perhaps the problem i had with woodstock this time around wasn't woodstock, but just generally mommy-stress....lauren

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About Me

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Northern Westchester, New York, United States
I live by a duck pond. I used to live by the East River. I don't work. I used to work a lot. Now, not so much. I used to teach a lot of yoga. Now not so much. I still practice a lot of yoga though. A LOT. I love my kids, being outdoors, taking photos, reading magazines, writing and stirring the pot. Enjoy responsibly.

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