Yoga Miscellanea

Miscellanea is a word, right? It’s one of those that seems made-up, I think. Some things I’ve been doing lately that fall under the general category of yogic hodge-podge:

    • I’ve just finished reading Lucy O’Brien’s Madonna: Like An Icon. That might not sound overly-yogic, but O’Brien looks at Madonna’s self-invention and influences, including yoga and eastern culture. It’s a solid biography because O’Brien, while sympathetic, isn’t afraid to reveal the inconsistencies in Madonna’s behavior. What’s interesting to me is how much Madonna typifies “complex personhood,” Avery F. Gordon’s description of how human beings will do things that contradict their stated intentions or seem counter-initutive. In Madonna’s case that means embracing yoga and mysticism, but also marrying the ultra-macho Guy Ritchie and subsequently taking on the very un-mystical and un-yogic persona of an English aristocrat and remaining a competitive businesswoman (among many other examples). But Madonna’s reasons for taking up yoga—at least according to O’Brien—leading to her  Ray of Light album are actually fairly relatable. O’Brien describes her as frazzled, frustrated by the reception of her previous work, tired of her current lifestyle, and looking for something settled and meaningful. Those are the same reason many women (and men) are drawn to yoga, even if they aren’t pop icons. The difference between Madonna and the rest of us seems to be the degree to  which she revamps her life in response to her frustrations–like Jane Fonda, another Hollywood icon of transformation–she seems deeply mutable. O’Brien pegs this as a sign of Madonna’s deep-seated insecurity stemming from her childhood, claims that are hard to dispute.
    • I’ve also been reading Christina Sell’s My Body is a Temple, which acts as a kind of meditation-slash-workbook for questions of wholeness, body image, and goals. While I’m not really a guru-oriented person like Sell seems to be {read: I don’t have a spiritual advisor or guru}, I think the questions she raises at the end of each section are fantastic what-if exercises that can help you, if you’re trying to figure out where you are in your beliefs, practices, and goals. Sell talks about her own struggles with body image, eating disorder, and how difficult it can be to remain consistent with your goals. She argues that sometimes you just aren’t ready until you’re ready–seeing it as a spiritual process–and that willpower alone sometimes isn’t enough, if you’re struggling with addiction. I haven’t finished the book yet, and will probably write more about the exercises later.
    • Rosie Molinary is doing a series of free exercises in August for her Shine program and Mara Glatzel (of Medicinal Marzipan fame) has retooled her website.
    • In my free time, I’ve been thinking about crafts, jewelry, and adornment. I have a PBS documentary from the library on body art that I want to watch this weekend that talks about tattoos on a spectrum of bodily art and adornment. I’m not quite brave enough for a tattoo {yet–maybe one day!}, but I do love jewelry. I made this little craft bracelet myself: 
    • I’ve also been writing a lot this month and listening to Krishna Das on Pandora. I’m particularly drawn to Om Namah Shivaya. I don’t know why it appeals to me more than other kirtan songs and mantras, but it does.

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