Friday, April 30, 2010


Officially NSFW. And yet I cannot look away.
So my train of thought went "Gudo Nishijima — gouda cheese; gouda cheese — bacon; bacon — unicorn bacon," which reminded me of that quote by Warren Ellis: "You may bring me unicorn bacon now."

And then I Google image'd 'bacon' in the off-chance I could get a picture of unicorn bacon and Jesus Christ, this is the first picture that came up.

Seriously, though. Hamburgers, chocolate, bananas, pears, breasts, rusty nails, you can even wrap bacon in more bacon — is there anything one cannot make more delicious by wrapping in bacon?


Gudo Nishijima
"The true enlightenment can never be any kind of sudden change, which many ignorant people might admire, but it is very quiet and balanced situations of the autonomic nervous system."
—Gudo Nishijima

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Today marks the three-year anniversary of the day Tim wed Tara and I on the front lawn of our house in Encinitas.

I was conducting a massive Google image trawl for my other blog when I came on this photo, which for some reason makes me inexplicably happy that I am married to my wife, and that we have such a terrific baby, who is not a baby any longer, of course.

A couple thoughts:

1. I have a very photogenic wife.
2. Rowan was one tiny human when we took her to India.
3. I have gained literally 25 pounds since this photo was taken.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


There is a magic synergy that arises when a large group of people from far and wide gather with the expectation and intention of something happening, whatever that something may be.

During the course of many years of practice with Tim Miller I have attended at least four of his workshops as well as two "teacher trainings."

Still, I did not know I needed to attended this workshop until I was actually in the workshop this past weekend, at which something, whatever that may have been, very much happened.

Thank you to everyone who turned up, and thank you to Jen and Alice at Yoga Pearl for hosting.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

It is just Practice.

Gudo himself.
"It is not necessary for us to get the so-called enlightenment. Because the so-called enlightenment is just a Romantic story, which many children love. But Buddhism is never a Romantic story, but it is just Action. It is just sitting. It is just Practice. It is just Reality."
—Gudo Nishijima


I had a funny idea for a wanted ad, so I Google Image'd "yoga teacher money" and this pic popped up.

On one hand, it's easy to hate on videos like this, for all the obvious reasons. My European readers might be shocked to discover that I will have to inform our Northern American readers who the hell this is: it's Geri Halliwell of the Spice Girls.

Which begets a second question: Who the fuck are the "Spice Girls"? But I digress; take a tip from me and don't waste time looking them up, either.

It's also easy to go the "It's all good, man" route. It's introducing yoga to a broader audience, increasing exposure, etc, etc.

I always look at shit like this, and no offense, Rodney, but the Rodney Yee videos on the racks at Target ("Yoga Abs") and marvel at the beauty of the packages.

A pretty, fresh-faced and scrubbed-clean blonde in short-shorts with just a hint of abzzz on a flat belly. The font and colors are coordinated with her face and skin-tone, and all are pleasing.

The video is selling a brand of yoga with which I'm not familiar ("Geri Yoga"), but it offers instant perspective on my favorite brand of yoga (ashtanga vinyasa), the ways this tradition is a brand — and the ways it is not —and how it is transmitted, as well as how it is sold in the marketplace.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Because my wife dared me.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

As the Chinese proverb goes, I had some, shall we say, interesting times as an adolescent and teenager, and but for the grace of god, emerged without Black Flag bars tattooed on my body. During one particularly interesting journey to the depths, I wrote a letter to Henry Rollins, the lead singer of Black Flag and Rollins Band.

Six or eight months later, and well after I'd forgotten all about the letter, a postcard appeared in the mailbox, one side filled with small, neat, hand-printed block letters. "Hang in there," wrote Rollins, "the next 10 years are going to blow your funky mind!"

It was compassion as Dogen describes it, a hand reaching for a pillow in the night, and damn if Rollins wasn't right.

The guy is still out there, doing his thing. Here he talks about the fact that the Black Flag logo is now flash-art at tattoo studios around the country:

"It’s what happens when anything stands still for too long. It’s why there’s bird shit on Buddha’s head, ’cause it’s a statue. That’s why monks laugh and go, 'Well, you shouldn’t be sitting there. The birds crap on you.' It’s what happens when anything sits still — it gets swept into the lexicon."

Those of us practicing and, god forbid, teaching ashtanga vinyasa are transmitting this tradition, this lineage. I have written before that ashtanga is a reflexive practice — just as it informs and transforms us, we inform and transform it.

As Eliot wrote in "The Wasteland," "Lips that would kiss/ Form prayers to broken stone." It is our duty as tradition-bearers to not cast new statues to worship. It is our duty to not practice yoga as though it were flash-art off a tattoo-studio wall.

It is our duty to not let the birds shit on our heads.

Monday, April 5, 2010


Clearly that is not enough food.

The ashtanga vinyasa yoga practice is a reflexive one, meaning it reflects on, and in turn is reflected upon, other aspects of your life.

Some of the biggest gravitational bodies to exert larger tidal pulls are diet, sleep, relationships, work, and stress.

Are you getting your 9-to-11 hours of sleep a night? No?

If you are a bipedal primate belonging to the species Homo sapiens, you need your 9 hours every night. Especially if you're undertaking a physically demanding endeavor such as two hours of ashtanga vinyasa daily.

The question of what constitutes a supportive diet --- and in turn, the question of how our practice supports, effects and influences our diet --- is much trickier. As you're a bipedal primate of the species Homo sapiens, you are an omnivore, and can survive on wood chips or filtered cow's blood (i.e. milk).

Patanjali didn't concern himself so much with the specifics of what to eat, though his suggestions for the yamas and niyamas, one's personal and social ethical qualities, provide a framework in which to make one's dietary choices.

Pattabhi Jois wrote a bit about diet in Yoga Mala. The guy was nothing if not common-sense.
"If the mortal body is to be sustained, things like food are essential. After all, by sustaining the body, does one not attain divinity through following the righteous path? Thus the food we eat should be pure (sattvic), untainted (nirmala), and acquired by righteousness, and not be secured by cheating, deceit, persecution or other unjust means. Only taking as much food as we need to maintain our bodies, and not desiring things of enjoyment which are superfluous to the physical body, is aparigraha." (P.24)

Guruji also had some suggestions of what our food should — and should not — be comprised. I don't feel the need to talk about that, save to say that genetic, personal, and social context (your samskaras) should be taken into account.

In my experience with this particular system, many people tend to under-eat. That is, many people tend to not eat enough to support recovery and growth from the physical stress of ashtanga vinyasa practice, with its emphasis on 2-hours-plus practices of strength wedded to active flexibility.

I'm sorry I'm not sorry, but if you aren't sleeping right now, you need to be eating.