Poser

I am a terrible blogger.  I’ve been working a lot this semester and the blog has suffered as a result. Sorry! Still, some exciting news. My next Where is My Guru book review, Claire Dederer’s 2011 memoir, Poser: My Life in Twenty-Three Yoga Poses, will air Friday. Dederer is really funny, smart, and touching and her work fits perfectly with WIMG’s current “GuruMamas” parenting theme. You can read more about the book here. Listen live at 11 am.

Poser

Just breathe….

Yesterday, I started feeling a little awkwardness in my  right knee on the sixth day of the Brazil Butt Lift DVDs. By the end of the night my knee felt sore in a “wrong” way–not like a good stretch, more like a misalignment during those squats and curtsey lunges. It hurt. Now, I do not mess around with joint pain. At all. This meme? The “it’s not your knees giving out, it’s your head” line? That is SO not me. I believe in protecting your knees.

You only get two of them, after all. So, I’m returning the DVDs. I don’t think they’re the right fit for me, although your mileage may vary. I’m sticking with my low-impact elliptical and yoga workouts. You know what shows up when you google “gentle exercise”? This article from WebMD. Their “gentlest, kindest” exercises?

1. Elliptical machines

2. Recumbent bikes

3. Yoga

4. Pilates

These are all the things I’ve been doing regularly, except Pilates! That’s almost irritating. Obviously, I need to dig out my Pilates DVDs and spent more time in mat-based work. It’s frustrating to think you’re doing something correctly, then hurting yourself. It definitely made me feel like a mere mortal. On that note, check out my latest Daily Muse column on superheroes here. That said, there’s research to suggest that walking is the best thing for you. 

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Let go, be bold, unfold!

If you aren’t following the Where is My Guru Facebook page, we’ve announced my first Book Guru book! I got to choose the book I’d take with me to a desert island. It took a little thought—and then I realized I had the perfect book.

Longtime blog readers will recognize this as one of my absolute favorites: Flora Bowley’s Brave Intuitive Painting. There’s a sneak peek from my much-loved personal copy, below. Isn’t it gorgeous? I am so excited to share this amazing book with WIMG’s listeners! If you are looking to tap into your own creativity and explore art, Bowley is an inspiring teacher. Read more on the WIMG blog or tune in Friday at at 11am to listen live!

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Awkward White Girl Yoga Trance Dancing

So, I tried out the first part of Shiva Rea’s Yoga Trance Dance last night. Let’s just say it was more “awkward white girl with no rhythm dancing” for me! If I had better balance (one of the effects of my cerebral palsy is difficulty with balance when standing), it would probably be really fun, but for me it was more of sensation of joy mixed with nervousness: one part of my brain was going ‘don’t fall down, don’t fall down’ for almost the entire 30 minutes. Have you seen those joke Zumba memes with Jim Carrey? That was how I felt.

And this was just the basic “introduction to trance dance” flow, which opens with some fluid stretching and then alternates between sections of free-form dancing and shorter sequences of mat work. In particular, the twisting kriya section is comprised of these big, sweeping movements, where you twist your torso and circle your arms around your body.

Which is not to say this isn’t a great DVD. It’s gorgeously choreographed and filmed at White Sands National Park, a landscape so beautiful it doesn’t seem real. Plus, you really work up a sweat (that could have just been me, though!). If I get brave, I might try out some of the other sequences.

Wow. Just wow.

It feels like a million things are happening at once. Wait, scratch that: a million fantastic things, including:

  • Nick, Jenn, & I were added to the Where Is My Guru About page. I do my first Book Guru radio segment this week. Friday! It’s going to be about a classic book that I love. Just wait, you’ll love the book. And we’ve decided on my second book which is new and exciting and will be released soon.  I am trying not to die of radio newbie nervousness in the interim.
  • It’s All Yoga, Baby ran my guest post on the Bikram scandal and abuse scandals in yoga on Friday, which is getting a really positive response from readers. Go on over and comment.
  • I realized that, because of the Daily Muse’s content sharing relationship with Forbes, my interview with Susan Cain from last year–about introverts at work–was on Forbes’ website. Which is hilarious, as this may be the only time “Forbes” and my name appear in the same sentence (I wish it was the billionaires’ list, but a girl can dream of book sales, right?). Susan Cain was an amazing interview, so if you’re an introvert or know an introvert, you’ll love her.
  • You should go vote for one of my favorite yoga blogs, The Bliss Project, by watching Manon’s video. She’s trying to win a contest to fund her yoga teacher training! It looks like fun!
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Speaking of Burning Man….

Today’s a Burning Man Day, y’all! Jessica at Where Is My Guru? just announced that Burning Man co-founder Chip Conley will be Friday’s podcast guest. Wooo-hooo! Here’s Chip’s TEDtalk on finding your passion. But if you aren’t up on Where Is My Guru?, check out some of my favorite interviews:

  • Sally Kempton on Awakening Shakti!
  • Interviews with Tara Brach and Carol Horton on her fabulous book, Yoga PhD.
  • Countless other cool interviews and series (Wanderlust or Bust!, the Guru Experts Series, etc.)

Yoga Trance Dance

I got a copy of Shiva Rea’s Yoga Trance Dance from Netflix today, which I have been wanting to try out. I’ve been feeling a little blah and I thought some free-form movement might be fun. Have you seen Rea’s Burning Man TEDtalk on the value of movement to our well-being? It’s fun–dancing babies, world music, and hippies swaying.

Mindfulness Memos

Did I tell you I signed up for a Tranquility du Jour e-course? It’s Kimberly Wilson’s latest Mindfulness-themed course, called “Tranquility Within.” I’m very excited to jump into the course materials and learn more. I feel like I have a lot of yoga-themed or related work on the horizon, which is wonderful: the Mindfulness ecourse, my first “Where is My Guru?” review, and revising some yoga-related writing. Exciting things!

I took this photo on campus a few days ago. Pretty, right?

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Things just out of our grasp

I love supine twists. I feel like I’ve blogged about that before, but I do. I know that some people say twists (and hip openers) can be uncomfortable and even emotionally challenging for them, but I find them oddly relaxing. I was doing the “lunar” series of poses from Shiva Rea’s Lunar Flow Yoga last night, which features a series of supine twists. Rea gives this lovely little instruction–it’s really a small thing–to oscillate your neck from side to side as you settle into the pose, before you turn your head in the opposite direction of the “twisting” movement. It helps you relax and let go of any tension you might have in your neck and shoulders as you stretched your legs. A small thing, but important.

What pose do I wish I loved? Bow pose (Dhanurasana). This one is tough for me. I don’t have the flexibility in my legs and back to quite reach the full pose. It’s just out of my grasp. Isn’t that an interesting metaphor? To say something is just out of your grasp implies that you’ve reached for it, but it is tantalizingly too far away. I was browsing Diane Ackerman’s fabulous book, A Natural History of the Senses, which is made up of small, beautiful essays, organized by the five senses–smell, taste, touch, vision, and hearing. Here she is in in the short essay called ‘Speaking of Touch,’ which reminds me of  that feeling of stretching backwards, unable to reach:

We call our emotions feelings, and we care most deeply when something “touches” us. Problems can be thorny, ticklish, sticky, or need to be handled with kid gloves…Music teachers often chide students for having “no sense of touch,” by which they mean an indefinable delicacy of execution. In fencing, saying touché means you have been touched by the foil and are conceding to your opponent, although, of course, we also say it when we think we have been foiled because someone’s argumentative point is well made…What seems real we call “tangible,” as if it were a fruit whose rind we could feel.” 

Beautiful, yes?