Thursday, August 30, 2007

As Per Warren Ellis:
"First someone torched the big faux-Wicker Man ahead of schedule, which reportedly led to hippies wailing 'But it’s not his time!' And now, I’ve got to say, they’re not having a good time, out there in the arseweevil-riddled sands of Black Rock City:

A Burning Man participant was found dead this morning, hanging from the inside of a two-story high tent, according to Mark Pirtle, special agent in charge for the Bureau of Land Management.

The apparent suicide would be the festival’s first in its 21 year history, Pirtle said.

And did you want a reason why Black Rock City should be perhaps nuked from orbit with all hands attending?

Pirtle said the man was hanging for two hours before anyone in the large tent thought to bring him down.

'His friends thought he was doing an art piece,' Pirtle said."

Tee hee.

Tee hee-hee-hee.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Apropos of Eddie Merckxx

This guy named Ray Dobbins went and built himself a heat-rocking mega-banger of a replica of one of the Cannibal's whips from his days with the Molteni team, which went from '71 through '76. Dude even milled and drilled the same parts that Eddie used to!

The bar-tape and brake-hood color combo is FIRE!
Apropos of an EZ Board Thread
Are we merely working muscle groups when we practice the yoga? Are we just working out?

Or is the point of the yoga to manipulate our energy bodies?

Let's go with what Pattabhi Jois has always maintained, that, (imagine an Indian man shouting): "Ashtanga vinyasa yoga is Patanjali yoga!" The guy's been doing it for 60-plus years, so we ought to give some credence to that experience.

So then, what does our friend Patanali say about yoga? He cuts to the chase in the second sutra of the very first book. For those who haven't yet had it drummed into their heads: "Yogas citta vrtti nirodha." The translation that I'll use: "Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind."

Not much there about "energy bodies" or "muscle groups." Patanali then goes on to detail the various techniques one can use to still the whirpool of the mind, and again, none mention energy bodies or muscle groups. Or asana, for that matter.

Patanali goes on to lists several obstructions, or antarayah, to yoga, and the very first one he lists is vyadi, or sickness. This is the first obstruction he lists because it is the obstruction that must be dealt with immediately and before the ones that follow, for if your body is sick, it is very difficult to address the later limbs of ashtanga.

Although the practice of the ashtanga vinyasa system addresses the entirety of Patanjali's list of antarayah (i.e. styana, samsaya, pramada, etc, etc), right off the bat it will help ameliorate vyadi, and it will do this in several ways. On a mundane or merely physical level (i.e. "working muscle groups), the practice will make one stronger and more flexible. It will help establish a physical sense of well-being from which the limbs of the yoga can grow.

On a more profound level, the discipline or tapas will begin to burn clean the indriyas, or organs of perception, helping to eliminate physical sickness by making one more attentive to how one feeds and maintains the body. To deny or ignore the purely physical aspect of the yoga is to deny the profound healing and sense of well-being that a yoga asana practice can bring.

Pattabhi Jois also used to talk frequently of the pancha koshas, the five sheaths, the outermost being the annamaya kosha, or the gross body. According to this conception, contained within that are the pranamaya kosha, and within that the manomaya kosha, the vijnanamaya kosha, and ultimately, the anandamaya kosha.

The systems of poses in the ashtanga yoga directly engages the annamaya kosha with asana, but couples the asanas with the breath to engage the pranamaya kosha as a vehicle or link between the other koshas. The koshas do not exist independently of each other, and particularly with ashtanga vinyasa, we directly employ several koshas to work with the others.

Key to this idea of the sheaths is that they all effect change on the others --- except for the anandamaya kosha, which is that which is changeless. The energy body includes and is part of the physical body, and we use the physical body to engage the energy body ... and ideally we engage both the physical body and the energy body to engage other, more profound bodies.

We don't want to reduce the yoga to mere exercise, because that strands it in the gross, physical realm. But we also don't want to strand it in the subtle or energy realm, either, because that both denies the profound physical effect of the practice and leads to the trap of thinking that working with the subtle body is the chief aim of the yoga.

So is ashtanga yoga a physical system that works muscle groups, much as an aerobics or gymnastics class? The answer is yes. Is it a system that allows us to experience and manipulate "energy," however one conceives of it? The answer is also yes. Both of these these results are only side-effects of a practice, and not the aim or the purpose. The physical body and the subtle body change over time, while the yoga seeks to reunite us with that which does not change, and that which is beyond time.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Paucity of Posts

Update: Portland!
Minding a friend's shop --- Near East Yoga --- while he and his wife are out of town.

Alfred North Whitehead
"It is the duty of the future to be dangerous."

Total Video Game Script Word Count
141,000 and change.

Trips to Vancouver

Note to Customs Officials in Vancouver, B.C.
Bugger off.

Reasons for Canadian Custom Officials' Interest and Detainment
1. The other "Jason Stein" is on the Canadian "Most Wanted" list.
2. My height, weight, body-mass index, and tattoos are strikingly similar to that of many heroin addicts.

Racist Yet Eco-conscious Vancouver Cab Driver
Reducing carbon emissions and saving the planet while hating "darkies and chinks."