Sunday, August 31, 2008


Why keep returning to Encinitas?

After all, at a certain point, usually after seven or eight years, one has achieved a relative mastery of one's chosen craft. That's roughly the length of most apprenticeships in many trades, and seems to correlate with skill acquisition, whether it's blowing glass, playing an instrument, speaking a foreign language, or, as our friend Patanjali has it, "Desha bandhas cittasya dharana," fixing one's attention on one thing for long periods of time.

So why keep returning to Encinitas? Emerson said, "What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say." The silence that emanates from Tim Miller is so loud and so still, and reaches into such a deep place in me that speech becomes superfluous, in fact futile.

So? "I did not go to my master to learn his words of wisdom," a Hasidic rabbi once said, "but to see how he tied and untied his shoes."

Thursday, August 14, 2008


It's a tightrope act sometimes, isn't it? You want to practice every day, as teachers and texts prescribe, and because, y'know, it's what feels good. So you shuffle and organize your life in whatever ways are appropriate to make this happen — negotiating with employers, clients, spouses and children or child-care to carve out the requisite time.

The other side of the tightrope, though, is that once the time has been marked out, the space for the practice demarcated, and the pattern of behaviour established — get up, wash face, pranayama for 45 minutes, sit for 20, chug espresso, drive to yoga studio, unroll mat — the entire thing becomes what you've worked so hard to build, that is to say, it becomes routine, with all the negative connotations that word implies, such as rote, habitual and unconscious.

It never gets easier, either. My wife's warm body in the pre-dawn hour has not gotten less warm, less comforting, less inviting (traits for which I continue to blame her, of course), and the thought of turning off the alarm has not become less tempting. This practice, any practice, continues to refuse to do itself — I still have to initiate it, tend to it like a banked fire, expend however skillfully the energy required to complete it.

My wife and I both continue to practice, though, supporting each other as best we can, reaching to the texts, ancient and new, for impetus and inspiration, and modeling the long-time practitioner with whom we studied for those many years and who we call our teacher. It's like sailing a ship, a lifelong journey during which we make minute and constant adjustments of our course in the face of unexpected gale winds, long periods of daily routine, and patches of becalmed sea.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Mind you, not that I disagree with conservatives (not that I disagree with liberals, either), but Douglas Adams summed up quite well the strain of thought I find most troubling in what I perceive to be typical conservative thinking.

"1) Everything that’s already in the world when you’re born is just normal.

2) Anything that gets invented between then and before you turn thirty is incredibly exciting and creative and with any luck you can make a career out of it;.

3) Anything that gets invented after you’re thirty is against the natural order of things and the beginning of the end of civilisation as we know it until it’s been around for about ten years when it gradually turns out to be alright really."


Publicly, I maintain that my kid would love a plushie Kali doll. Privately, I want it for myself.

Created by artist Leeanna Butcher after designs by Sanjay Patel, and as displayed on Butcher's blog of plushie creations, Meet Sam and Pete.

Saturday, August 9, 2008


I'm writing treatments for several yoga-related novels! They're gonna be squarely in the female romance-cum-memoir genre — chick lit, baby! — and they're gonna be aimed squarely at the beating heart lodged beneath the silicon-enhanced bosom of upper middle-class white women. (In the old days they used to call 'em JAPS or WASPS, though I'll have to check Wikipedia for confirmation.)

The Devil Wears Prana
A young yoga teacher — a woman, naturally — recently graduated from a Baron Baptiste Power Yoga Teacher Training, takes a job as an assistant to one of the world's premier power yoga teachers. Shenanigans ensue as the young yoga teacher struggles to cope with her boss' outrageous, bitchy personality and ridiculous requests. The yoga world will be buzzing, I assure you, as it attempts to guess on whom the identity of the powerful yoga teacher is based!

Yoga High School
After their guru takes mahasamadhi, a group of devoted teenage yogis and yoginis, with the help of Jai Uttal and the Pagan Love Orchestra, take over their ashram to combat its newly installed oppressive administration. Picture this closing scene! Yogis and yoginis twist and contort in various advanced asanas as the ashram burns to the ground behind them and Jai and his merry bunch get all bhakti'd out on the front steps! I'll pitch this to the Weinsteins as "Fame meets Rock 'n' Roll High School — but with yoga!"

Starve, Curse, Hate
The rebellion of no rebellion! The dropping out of dropping in! An upper middle-class white woman, tired of living a life of spontaneous, free-wheeling yoga practice in a yoga ashram in India, enrolls in college, obtains a law degree, and joins a law firm. At the same time, she falls in love, gets married, has children and helps maintain a family — all while engaging in a daily spiritual practice, as part of a living tradition and under the auspices of a teacher! This is pure escapist fantasy that's gonna hit every yurt-dwelling, granola-eating Burning Man yogini right in the chest-plate.

This is the story of the yogini Martine, a young mother who arrives at a small, insular yoga school in the Pacific Northwest with her 6-year-old daughter Penelope. Martine, a gifted cook, begins preparing and selling various dishes, all of which feature heroic amounts of the titular ghee. Her cooking siddhis begin to change the lives of the yoga students through magic, which puts her in direct opposition to the school's guru, who sees Martine's use of siddhis as a distraction on the path to Self-realization. Salty tears will spatter your Lululemon top upon completion of this little gem, I assure you! Though I trust that, if it's Lululemon, it will wick away the moisture appropriately.

Sex and the Siddhi
This is gonna detail the intimate life of a sassy, raunchy New York City yogini who regularly meets her three yogini friends for lunch at various posh Hare Krishna temples in order to dish intimate details and eat veg samosas. Sample dialogue: "Then he manipulated my muladhara, I contracted my bandhas, and the kundalini rocketed right up my sushumna!" Titillation ensues. Each of the narrator's three friends is an extension of an aspect of her own personality, and together they function as her very own Trimurti!

Sunday, August 3, 2008


Ah ... not quite exactly Pallas Athene or Gaia ... but we do have the Gorgon from Clash of the Titans and Athena from the OG Battlestar Galactica!

I don't quite know how you'd package, as per Erato's request, all the flora and fauna of creation, like if you'd just have several expansion packs or try to put 'em out grouped by phyla, but I suppose as long as the aforementioned flora and fauna had articulated joints and some sort of weapons, I'm all for it.

Friday, August 1, 2008


You have to say it just like that, too: "What!" Pause. "Does this have to do with yoga?"

I would just like to say that I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Vaneigem, in that people, that is to say, human beings everywhere, are funnier, smarter, and more creative than they're usually given credit. Perhaps that's a tenuous leap to make after watching such a short clip, but the idea that someone recorded this, digitized it, then posted it for the rest of us leads me to believe this is so.

Hat-tip to William Gibson.