Thursday, December 27, 2007

Superbad Lady

Comic: "So then the rabbi says to the horse..."

Buddha: "Ha, ha, ha! Stop! You're killing me!"

Title of Cartoon: "If you meet the Buddha, kill the Buddha"

(reprinted from


If there's a blog war going on, no one's told me about it.

But let me see what I can do about that.

It has recently come to my attention that some people practice Ashtanga for the purpose of finding peace or truth or "that place inside all of us that contains the universe entire" (so said a Bikram teacher whose class I recently attended), or in order to accept with equanimity, the "duality in everything, whereby hardness contains softness and ease contains effort and sadness contains happiness" (so said an Anusara teacher whose class I recently happened to overhear, long story, don't ask).

I even remember a time when perhaps, cough, I might have had such lofty ideals, myself. But please do not remind me of this.

At the moment, there is one reason that I practice Ashtanga, and it is because it is the best friggin workout EVER. For me, at least. It is perfectly perfect for me in ever way, except for, perhaps, how long it takes me to get through an entire practice. But physically, it is the BALLS. And nothing has gotten my body in shape like Ashtanga, not running, not biking, not skating. NOTHING. And I want to keep that going. So, I continue to practice, even when I don't feel like it.

I don't maintain a daily practice with the notion of any particula Sutra in mind (steadiness, blah blah blah). I don't seek to keep my mind on one point. It JUST HAPPENS. It's a happy side effect of the physical practice.

But let me tell you: I get into a deeper meditative state when I am sewing (my parents bought me a sewing machine for my birthday, and so far, I have hemmed several pairs of my jeans whose hems had been dragging on the ground, I have tailored my own ski pants to fit my slimmer frame, I have sewn two neck rolls and slip-covered an ottoman) or when I am doing just about any DIY project at home (painting Brian's room the color of Boston College's uniform was incredibly meditative). But I sure as hell wouldn't trade sewing or painting or hanging pictures or organizing my photos or reupholstering chair seats for 10 Surya Namaskars followed by Standing and then Primary (and a little bit of Second).

Someday maybe the chicken will come after egg. But right now, it's all about the egg.

And what's funny is, other than the fact that I have just now outed myself vis a vis my anti-yoga-establishment attitude, I could practice anywhere with anyone til the cows come home, as they say, and no one would EVER know the difference. I could be the MOST "yogic" of people. OR NOT. And no one would know what was going on inside my head.

I don't believe in, worship or care for Hindu "gods". They're not gods to me, and although I enjoy the story of Hanuman, Ram and Sita, it's more about the story, kind of like the way I like the story of Orpheus or Narcissus from Greek mythology). Truthfully, I don't like most Indian food. I have no desire to wear a Sari. I don't want to go to Mysore because I really really really like my Western luxuries. I don't want to paint myself in Henna. I don't want to bathe in the Ganges. I practice when I want with whom I want to practice. I don't do the Invocation unless the entire room is doing it, and then, only once per day. I have ceased to do the Closing Mantra altogether. Because it's a prayer, and I come for the workout, not for the religious experience.

I am what you might call, a SUPERBAD LADY.

But I am comfortable with it. I wonder who else out here is as "superbad" as me.



Anonymous said...

no, this isn't incitement to war! come on! when's your idler's week? 1st week back at school? We should have something like that here in seattle because everyone just leaves their engine running when they are waiting for the bridges to go up or down. I live by a school and we get a lot of fuckers idling there when they come to pick up their lazy ass spoiled high school students.

Dawn of a New Day said...

My experience with Ashtanga Yoga has been different. However, I appreciate your honesty and candor. More power to you! Take care!

JFdel said...

Yours is a refreshing Yoga page...
Thank you for taking the Yoga excess from Yoga...
It took me many years to get a similar approach. Now I practice it without practicing it, even when writing to you...
By the way, you are also a very intuitive person. You linked immediately Hindu gods to Greek myths. We were discussing some weeks ago, in a Greek Myth page, how Hindu and Greek myths arose from the same sociopolitical experience. Indo European patriarchal tribes overwhelming matrilineal ones in both regions.
The god tales represent that...
Thank you again for your nice page, it was pure pleasure reading it.

samasthiti said...

Yes! Ashtanga is fucking exercise people!
YC is right! And sewing is much more meditative, she's right again! I never think about how incompetent, bad, or fat I am when I am sewing.

lgr said...

YC...very bad girl. You may spend eternity in Ashtnaga hell, having to eat only ghee and lentils forever and ever...and maybe an occasional kingfisher beer.

urbanashtangi said...

Your not a superbad lady. Your just not an Ashtangi. There isnt anything wrong with that. Follow your bliss!!!

Yoga Chickie said...

I am an ashtangi. What is an ashtangi if not one who practices ashtanga? I do practice ashtanga. I just come to the other limbs by implication, without seeking them. I also find the limbs in other things I do, not just in the workout, but then, it's not yoga when I am sewing - it is something different, but with the same result. Same ends, different means. Personally, I am more comfortable at the moment with finding inner quiet through physical labor than by studying the bhagavad gita.

Michelle said...

I'm most impressed with how hard my butt gets with an Ashtanga practice. There's more to yoga than exercise but it is, in fact, a fabulous exercise. Rock on.

StevenCX said...

Bad girl!

(0v0) said...

Too many words, YC!

Therefore, this is not good blog war material. :) :) :)

Also, I think you might want to read that Norman interview again. Or not. You're not interested.

Not interested is not interesting.


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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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