11/29/08

Miami Beach nite pictures

i did what tourists do, photograph the old well-lit art deco hotels along Ocean Drive. while on the way there, someone asked me which direction Collins Avenue was. i directed him towards Alton Road. when i realized i had sent him in exactly the opposite direction, i ran back to him to tell give him the correct directions. since we were both going to Collins, we chatted on the way. it turns out he had been in the military infantry, had been shot and now was considering career options. he was interested in historical renovation of buildings, so i offered him some advice regarding that. one should not lose these opportunities to meet other people and help or be helped.
on the way to The TidesThe Tides, or should that be pronounced, "da toides" in your best NY accent?
the most photographed hotel. can you name it?
city hall lit at night
OK, sorry to put this ugly thing up here. but i snapped the picture because it makes me wonder how, in a city that prides itself in architectural beauty, where it is difficult to get past the construction permit folks, how do they get away with installing these pimple like dishes right on the exterior wall? if these thingies are getting their signals from the heavens, which is quite far away, what difficulty is there in putting them out of site on the roof of this three story building? i'm sure they would still function. someone would probably dismiss my complaint by saying the codes are different as respect temporary (non permanent) installations. the problem is that these so called temporary installations will probably be defacing the building for a looooong time.

practice and the shala

the led class was very nice, properly counted and called out. my body was a bit sluggish, to the point that I would have wanted to stop at baddha konasana but it felt good to finish the practice. the shala is very beautiful. i wish i had the inspired way that (0v0) talks, as when she said that the AYSF studio practice space felt like being inside a whale. well, practicing at the MLC studio isn't like being inside a whale. i just like the many wonderful touches. first, the floor. oh! bamboo planks probably floated on a cushioned underlay. the main practice room windows have frosted glass up to about 5'-2", clear glass above. they face north, which in the harsh light of Miami Beach, the light that comes from the windows is always very pleasant. there are a lot of pictures of Guruji and of a swami, i think. (i'm swami-naming challenged this week). the reception area is very welcoming, with two very large sofas that could probably seat 12 calorie restricting yogis at one time. the bathroom has all kinds of aromatherapy diffusers. the changing room has a shower. the floor and walls are finished in beautiful stone. there are some comfortable benches. on the walls of the bathroom and changing rooms are beautifully framed mandalas, and framed pages of Sanskrit chants. i'm sure there is attention to feng sui and probably to Hindi vastru throughout. i have studied feng sui, but not vastru, so i'm not sure about the latter. the picture above is of Lucy, Lucas' mom's cat. below is Mali, who likes to sleep in this basket.

11/28/08

restorative yoga class

i sneaked a led restorative yoga class in today. it was led by one of my earliest hatha teachers. i found out her asana teacher is Iyengar. she also follows another guru for spirituality, but i'll botch up the name if i try to come up with it. she says there is an ashram of his followers in SF. well the class felt perfect since my routine had been interrupted. it was like doing most movements i typically do, but with the aid of bolsters, blocks, straps, the wall, and rugs. tomorrow i may take an ashtanga led class and Sunday do mysore. at least those are my plans.

11/27/08

more Miami Beach pics

i walked to the Boardwalk on 21st st up to 40th along Miami Beach. the light was ideal for photography. it turns out i have to miss Tim's Mysore class tomorrow because the friend who invited me to Miami on the basis that I helped him with the design of a vacation house could only see me exactly at the same time as the class, 8:30am. oh well. so here are more pictures. i lived here 4 years. being away has sharpened my observations of the city. Miami beach is inspiring architecturally.to the right of the second umbrella there was a ferrari parked. i almost took a picture of it but then asked myself why? it was parked in front of a real estate office. the next ferrari i saw was parked in front of a hotel, and the next in front of a restaurant. i bet the owner uses a different car to buy groceries and lives in a condo nearby where he doesn't have to spend a lot of gas to get to. the real estate market here is suffering, so why not drive a BMW to work? an architectural statement in glass block. doesn't make a lot of sense, but it's eye catching.
a very beautiful and light screen treatment of a facace.the undulating stair exit to the convention center parking lot. i used to put my car there during hurricanes.Frank Gehry designed the New World Symphony building which is under construction. San Francisco Symphony's Michael Tilson Thomas is the artistic director. the Delano and the National hotels.the skyline at sunset.a building with interesting shapes under construction where previously there was an uninteresting one.the shapes should be interesting even to people who usually don't pay attention to architecture.this reminds me of something Louise Nevelson said: "that chair isn't so hot, but look at the shadow it casts." at sunset, even architecture that is uncomplicated looks pretty in the light.the colors are amazing. when i lived here and needed to sort out things in my life, i would come and walk this boardwalk and go over my thoughts. these days Buddhist meditation seems to do this for me in SF, or a walk in the forest in the mountains.
i wasn't going to post this picture, because i find the architecture a bit kistchy. but going along with the Nevelson statement, i can see the beauty in the job they did illuminating it. i enjoyed viewing a great spectacle with 100 Spanish artists there once. it reminds me that this city is very culturally developed, despite it feeling primarily like a beach town.

walk to shala

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all. I'm grateful for my family, friends, colleagues, cyber and real shalamates on this Thanksgiving. i walked to Kino and Tim's shala after enjoying some strong Cuban coffee and smashed bread. Tim was at the front desk. we had a nice chat. i think i overheard Kino leading a class. but i was late for that one and since it is a moon day, there is no Mysore practice. so I could practice Mysore style with Tim tomorrow and Sunday morning. i missed seeing Greg N., who is away visiting family. i asked for recommendations to vegetarian restaurants. the shala is spacious and beautiful - bamboo flooring, contemporary furniture, aromatherapy in the air, a Buddha statue gracing the space. i remember many years ago eating at a restaurant in the same space. walking back i stopped by Wild Oats Market, now owned by Whole Foods. i bought ingredients for a pottage, which i prepared. yum.
here are some pictures of multifamily residences, on the streets going to and coming from the shala. one is quintessential Miami Deco, kitschy too, when you look at the flamingos. the other is quintessential Miami contemporary low rise residential style. i also saw a lot of people running, going to the gym, or walking their dogs. it reminded me that when i moved here i was able for the first time as an adult to take control of my weight and exercise consistently. it's nice that people attend to that here.

11/26/08

miami cell phone

i had made plans back in April to go to Miami Beach during Thanksgiving. i'm writing from my friend's computer. i might be able to practice at Kino and Tim's shala. i'll have to check the schedule for the weekend. it seemed that most people traveling for the holiday were students going to see their families, and a lot of foreigners passing through Miami or visiting. what the papers said about lighter travel this Thanksgiving could be true. there were seats available in the plane. there was not enough staff at the self service counter at the airline when i checked in.

ahem, i think it's probably appropriate to make this observation regarding my cell phone service, because the problem is quite constant. my cellphone service was Big Company, which was bought by Big Southwestern Company, which became The Original Name in Telephone Company. well, i used to accept their routine offer that every two years you could get a new phone if you renewed for a 2 year contract. a year ago, i did not renew he contract. guess what happens to me without fault, regardless of whether i originate the call or someone calls me? at about exactly 30 minutes into the conversation, the call is dropped. after reengaging the call by dialing again, the call is dropped at 15 minutes intervals. i timed it today. now, wouldn't that say to you that Big Phone Co. would like you to renew the 2 years contract, accept their offer of a new phone and then your calls won't be dropped? Because why otherwise would they offer lousy service, in a competitive market? i thought that my phone was defective. so i bought an identical one. then i thought the battery was bad and was causing the call dropping. so i replaced the battery - twice. but still the dropping occurs. ahem. is that a concidence, or is it planned?

11/25/08

lentil-carrot-mushroom-sweet potato medley

i prepared a vegetable dish yesterday that is actually tasty, with a nice texture and flavors. the ingredients where: 
six mushrooms, sliced thinly
one carrot, sliced thinly
one sweet potato, sliced,
1/2 cup lentils, (approximately)
dehydrated garlic
dehydrated onions
dash cumin
dash of salt and pepper
1 large vegetable boullion cube

i placed the vegetables in a pot, adding sufficient water to cover them and added the seasonings. i set it to low and let it simmer about 20 minutes, until the vegetables were cooked and the lentils had absorved most of the water. this is good with barley or rice.

yin Beijing music

i went to the shala, but since my stomach felt a bit queasy i asked Teacher if i could do yin yoga. it's just nerves, i guess. i know that Primary would have strengthened the digestive system, but i just did seated poses plus closing sequence.

a colleague returned to live and work in Beijing. the other day i posted here the article of two SF yoginis who started a vinyasa flow shala there, yoga yard. out of curiosity, i emailed them asking them about mysore style shalas in Beijing and they pointed to this site: fine-yoga. Neat. there are lots of pictures of Guruji, Lino, Manju, etc. in the site.

Bindi tagged me with a meme on, i guess my favorite music?  i may botch this Bindi. my reflection is that i no longer have the early music around. if there was a little history of me musically speaking, i would say that the progression would be: 1) early years of vinyl - the usual stuff people had then - the Beatles, music my relatives wanted me to appreciate, such as Verdi's operas, pop music from France - Paul Mauriat. 2) then vinyl disappeared and i would buy cassette decks. so my collection then was the usual for that time, Billy Joel, the Cars, Donna Summer, Huey Lewis, and a lot of Baroque classical music; 3) then cassette decks disappeared and i went through a club house CD music phase - Victor Calderone mix, plus music from my latin roots - salsa and merengue and everything i could get of Celia Cruz.  that stuff is somewhere around here still. 4) but then my yoga phase arrived and i collected Krishna Das, Snatam Kaur Khalsa, Thomas Barquee, sacred chants of Shiva. 5) i don't know what phase i will be in next. maybe minimalist electronic music.

11/23/08

short practice

i did a short practice at the shala today because i needed to be home to receive a phone call. i like Skype. the communications through it are very clear.

speaking of adaptive reuse - converting a building to a new use, such as a hotel, this is the case of a retired jumbo jet converted to a hostel in Stockholm. it's conveniently located near the airport, so you can sleep there if your flight is delayed.

11/22/08

high PYD index today

went to a led class today, since i wasn't able to get to practice yesterday. was it a man's holiday? i don't know. too many things pressing my mind. so the led class today was a flow. there were three ashtangis present, including Quiet Strength and Banda Girl. they sure do a lot of asanas there. one does, or attempts doing things that are from 3rd series, which some of us regular ashtangis sometimes get to do in talleres or in self practice at home - things such as koundinyasana exit, astavakrasana, tripod headstand to kukkutasana, eka pada viparita dansasana, hanumanasana, natarajasana, eka pada raja kapotasana. the most curious invention, i thought, was gomukasana hands with uttihita parsvottanasana feet. that one did feel weird in not having the reverse namaste hands in the back. i enjoyed palak paneer and roti for lunch afterwards. well, i've lost most everyone already with all the sanskrit, so have a nice saturday! as a mere ashtangi mortal, this is one of the few times i get to confer such "priviledged yogic discourse" (PYD). my PYD index today is high.

11/21/08

Bangaan Rice Terraces

my friend Jessica R. went to visit the Bangaan Rice Terraces in Banaue, the Phillipines. these terraces are 2,000 years old and are a UNESCO World Heritage Site - a living cultural landscape. they had to hike for a great part of the way because there are no roads. she generously shared these amazing photos. as always she captures the candor in people and the beauty of places. the comments under the pictures are hers. Jessica writes, in an email giving me permission to post these pictures, "despite all the negative talk about violence...global warming and the economy... our world is beautiful too!!" Indeed!

11/20/08

purvottanasana and janus sirsasana C

quiet practice today, Primary Series to Janus Sirsasana C, then the first three of Third Series. i mentioned to Seven Petal Lotus that i recently learned to not lean the neck back in Purvotanasana and concentrate in lifting the pelvis more, as if it where Urdvha Danurasana. She agreed and suggested that the gaze can be downward as if you were in jalabara bhanda. my left hand was splayed out to the left, so she instructed to place the two hands parallel to each other, then when aloft, to rotate the arms inwards. i got a good lift.

something that Tim Miller said recently regarding Janus Sirsasana C has really helped. i have always thought that only contortionists and die hards could do this. he said that the heel goes to the belly button. i'm sure that we hear this in our first yoga classes. but i really tried lifting the heel, preparing the leg as if it was going to go into a leg behind the head pose, and concentrated in nothing else but bringing the heel to the belly button. the result was that when I brought the toes to the floor, the asana was much better expressed.

i noticed that when Muscleman comes to a handstand when coming to Uttanasana, his neck is craned up and looking at what seems to be the floor boards ahead of him. that's good to know, since i asked Napa Lilac about this yesterday. and noticing Surfer Guy's practice today, i realized i forgot to do Nakrasana yesterday :(  that's all i want to say today. om chakka lakka lakka.

11/19/08

look knee correctly

practiced Second Series, Mayurasana to the Seven Headstands. i tried doing a handstand when coming to standing in the Surya Namaskars. i asked Napa Lilac, who was assisting Seven Petal Lotus, where my gaze should be, since for handstand you kind of look toward the front of the mat. she agreed. 

there were little nuances to Parvritta Trikonasanas to learn today, such as that the hip that is furthest up in the air while revolving, needs to be relaxed, then one concentrates the attention on the lifting of the chest up. In Parvritta Parsva Konasana i learned that you have to exhale deeply while setting up the arm to the floor, reaching around the bent knee.

i must have done Mayurasana 6 times. SPL was teaching the correct coordination between the breath, the placing of the arms, the lowering of the head, the jump back. the asana is basically salabasana while balancing on your arms. she suggested that the fingers need to touch on the floor. the hands can touch if possible, but if not, it's OK if they are a bit apart. the chest has to pull forward so that the weight shifts and the elbows act as a fulcrum. the legs have to be together and act as one - one leg lifting up as the chest lifts up.

in Parighasana, Napa Lilac recommend putting emphasis on exhaling energetically as you reach the hands to the feet, then when bound, inhaling as you twist the torso. i forgot to do Gomukasana :(   SPL and i had some discussion regarding the wrapping of the wrist, grabbing the feet. i know of at least one certified teacher who tends to hurt himself while rolling up. so he does it only when he's in front of Guruji or Sharath, but not in his home practice. when he does it according to the full expression, he experiences wrist pain for a month. with respect to me, being an architect and needing to protect my wrist, i may need to modify. i tried holding the foot with a towel. despite that the wrist was not under my torso as i rolled up, the weight of the body was enough to cause pain. Teacher says that the foot that is extended needs to be held snug to the body all the time and the grip needs to be really tight for the asana to be done correctly. well, it looks like i should keep modifying on that one.


in the last of the Seven Headstands, SPL said that the position of the hands is on the back of the shoulders. i appreciate that comment because i used to curl the fingers into the crook formed in the shoulders when i do this pose. putting the hands flat on the back have a calming effect, sort of like patting yourself on the back.


yoga-food tees

my friend and fellow CRONster Erin, who writes the vegan blog (link on the right) sent me a link to yoga and food themed t-shirts. the site is located here. i took the liberty to suggest that the eggplant be named "sponge pose", what a hatha teacher of mine used to call savasana, since she used English names for the asanas didn't like to call that one "corpse pose."

talking about fruits and poses, L.N. and Seven Petal Lotus would sometimes say when assisting me in handstand, if i wasn't doing it correctly, "no banana boat." these days i don't banana boat around here. you could have a t-shirt with a banana shown vertically, an "x" placed through it, with the caption, "handstand, no banana"

11/18/08

fun pratfall dropbacks

practice was fun today, Second Series from Bakasana to Karandavasana. i could not find the water bottle, with which to spray the towel on the mat, so i used the water with tea tree oil used for general cleanup. between that and the light jasmine scent LR was wearing, there were some interesting smells. LR contributed to the light atmosphere by doing a few pratfalls and laughing.

Teacher's adjustments during standing sequence made those poses very scientific and intense. they were making me sweat a lot.

Composer's Muse was practicing up to Chakorasana and then did tic tocs. Surfer Guy, with teacher's assistance, almost got to the full expression of Chakra Bandasana. His hands could had easily been on his thighs in the assisted Urdva Danurasana. Teacher helped me with Karandavasana, pointing to how the fingers really need to be spread wide on the floor when setting up. She also assisted with dropbacks. My back feels really nice from the effort. Earlier i had put blankets there to see if I would fall to the floor by myself and fall on the blankets. But they make the hands slip, so I took them out. 

11/16/08

yoga jaunt today

i thought i would take photos of what a jaunt to the shala in SF means for me. this is where i practice most days, whereas sometimes i go over to Berkeley, which requires more adventurous travel (three buses going, two trains returning).


on sundays we practice in the smaller room in the studio. today it meant that the mats where about a hand's distance apart. i kept feeling a hand grazing my head, nose, cheeks and legs during the practice, as if flies were being swatted, or as if those were supposed to be mysterious angels buzzing about my aura a la Sixth Sense. i don't know if my neighbor heard my muffled snickers. anyhow, here is a progression of pictures depicting the jaunt. leaving the apartment
crossing market st.
walking up Taylor. that's golden gate theatre. Kathleen Turner played there not too long ago.
Glide Memorial Church, a must stop on a Sunday, for anyone visiting the city; the music rocks.
the bus stops here.
the hotel across the street
the bus arriving. the fellow bus rider was surprised at my taking a picture. i said i was documenting a journey. he thought that was interesting.
arriving at the shala stop
an attractive medical building of UCSF, on the way to the shala
an architectural statement a clever architect designed. it's not an elevator. i think it's meant to capture light into the basement below. ok. whatever.
another beautiful medical building on the way to the shala.
and another. this is getting architectural.
a new store with a sense of humor in their marketing. at first i thought they were offering manny as opposed to nanny services.
finally, the studio.
Snow White and i had a photo op today.
the lobby of the studio. really it's a very nice design, and all green.
the studio space, which i was able to photograph because on Sundays we practice in the one next to this one.
the Buddha altar in the corner
SW wanted a picture of me near the altar. i'm not sure what the circle painting symbolizes. the circle is important in Chinese architecture. it's also an element that typically does not have human scale because we cannot relate it to the size of an element of our bodies.
on the way back, catching the bus back to return. this is another beautiful medical building, connected to what appears to be a resident's hall and a memorial chapel.
i'm not kidding that these buildings are connected. that element in between them is called a "hyphen" in architecture. i've always seen something funny in this. it's as if the buildings are telling you, "if you're not well, come here and we'll make you better. if unfortunately you don't improve, they can take care of you in the corner." i hope that doesn't offend anyone, but am i the only one that sees a humorous connection between these buildings? (well i know of at least one other ashtangi, who happens to work there, that thinks that's a funny thought.)
the bus going back home. forgive the mess on the floor.
the farmer's market at Civic Center. Ciao!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...