4/30/09

labor day construction

it's Labor Day holiday here. the construction site in the community is buzzing as usual from 5:45am. perhaps there is a reduced staff and less frequency of the pile driving, but construction is still going on. one curious observation about people here. on two occasions, in the middle of the morning, once at 9:00am and another time at 10:30am, i heard a tremendous racket coming out of a balcony in an apartment - a continuous display of firecrackers. you wonder if they just bought a condominium and are chasing off evil spirits. it was hard to have a conversation over the din. i asked a coworker and he said that it's customary to do this is there is a marriage. it can be done in the middle of the day. companies do it also at opening celebrations.

this is a traveling weekend, so i did a yin practice of seated poses with no vinyasas. i have to pack now. here is a picture from a few weeks ago in Palo Alto, Ca, taken by V.

4/29/09

laghu story recognition

the picture is of Laghu Vajrasana from yesterday. i made a little movie of my Kapotasana, but i'm not sure if it's allowed to post it. i'm not getting enough bending yet in the upper thoracic and the hands still feel like a country mile from the feet. anyhow, i'll be offblog for a few days for the Labor Day holiday.
I wrote the following yesterday. i hope it's entertaining.

let me tell you a story. there were some Coors drinking Peruvians who found themselves nakid when they went to visit the Incas, with a cheeky, Fedora wearing girl named Cecilia, from Oman. because she's an actress, she brought a silkscreen beefy ash specimen to cover the in delicti radars on the wads and wales of the Pen Stations of Kyoto.

what? you say. yesterday, i used a character recognition software to create a word document. but wall became wads or wales, coordinated became Coors nakid, pedestrians became Peruvians, locals became Incas, check became cheek, checklist became Cecilia, fixtures became Fedora, access became actress, verified where specified became beefy ash era specimen, birdscreens became silkscreen, detector alarms became delicti radars, penetrations became Pen Stations, layouts became Kyoto. that's what would have been written if i had not reviewed the conversion. how verify became 9% is a mystery to me, as is this post. but i hope it's entertaining.

4/27/09

danurasana and urdva danurasana

i practiced Second Series, with the first few poses. the metronome helped me stay focused on the flow of the poses. starting next week i may concentrate on Third Series poses. at least that is the plan. the pictures today are Danurasana and Urdva Danurasana.

yoga holiday train

i practiced yoga this morning. this weekend is the Chinese May Holiday, the country's Labor Day weekend. i have the opportunity to meet with my friend from Beijing in a historical town called Pingyao. this is a Unesco World Heritage site. the architecture is northern and the climate is desert-like. the pictures are from this site. i am planning to fly to the city and return by train. i would have gone by train entirely but there are no sleeper beds available on the way to the capital of the province, Tayuan. this is one of those holidays where there is a lot of travel among the locals.

4/26/09

architecture sighting today

practiced today

the meditation teacher lives in this community, in the building across from this one. some things were similar to Zen, some where different. first we bowed three times. then we recited the refuges. (i take refuge in buddha, i take refuge in dharma, i take refuge in zhanga). then we recited some mantras. then we sat in meditation. the hands where placed in a mudra that is like lotus binding the fingers. it's more complicated that in this image. you could say i did yoga today.
you're supposed to hold this mudra, covered with a cloth during the seated meditation, and chant about seven words continually. that last part is where it's a bit different from zen, in that in zen we just do quiet seated meditation. the reciting of mantras in zen is part of a service, separate from sitting.
today's koan: if someone knocks once and you hear one knock, that's good. if you hear a knock and there is no one knocking, that's not good. if someone knocks once and you hear many knocks, that's not good.

why does the mind get distracted during meditation? the mind works like a fan. in the course of your day, the fan is whirling at great speed, and you don't see the individual blades as it delivers air. when you meditate, the fan blades slow down and we're able to see the individual blades and all the dust they contain. what we need to do is stop the fan at that moment during meditation, stopping the thoughts. i hope it's OK to have said all that.

4/25/09

concert photographers butterflies

i was invited to a concert held at the museum in my community, where the artists where a famous violinist and his pianist wife. it was held outdoors in front of the museum. for that reason it was necessary to amplify the instruments. there were many children in the audience. one of the things i like the most in China are the children. they are beautiful and full of wonder.

the event had as many photographers as a Hollywood movie opening. the audience, at least at the beginning, seemed as important as the artists, since we were constantly photographed. a lady who must have been a celebrity was interviewed for TV. no doubt all the fuzz was to bring attention to the community, since it is a new town that the city may have interest in encouraging people to move to. (yes i know, i shouldn't end sentences in a preposition.)

the first part of the concert was a piano solo. the artist played a program that for us accustomed to western programming was unusual. stateside there is such an influence on playing the European masters from a certain period. but we're not in San Antone. she began with a Chopin ballad, continued with several delightful classical Chinese piano pieces, then played Beethoven's Fur Elise, followed by a quick Chopin number. (yes, i said Fur Elise, which classical music students learn early in their repertoire. when played to perfection its charming. maybe people here are not as exposed to it. it's my mom's cell phone ringtone.)

During intermission they invited members of the audience to come to the stage. i imagine they were asking what province they were from. each received a CD of the artist.

after intermission, the pianist' violinist husband joined her on stage. i had heard he was now formally retired. i kept wondering, if he was retired, was all of the copious black hair all his? maybe he had a good wardrobe-preparer. the first three pieces were beautiful Chinese pieces that I could not identify. one particular number was very rapid, requiring great skill not only in his playing, but of his wife keeping up with the piano. i was surprised that many people were constantly mumbling, probably commenting on the pianist's dress, her necklace, his hair (oh, not, that was me imagining that), his hand dexterity. one girl turned back and shushed a group of ladies. i wanted to do the same to a group of men behind me, but only managed to look in their direction. it did not help. if you wanted a quiet concert experience, this was not your venue.

after three Chinese pieces, the violinist and his wife played an arrangement for piano and violin of the theme from the movie, Titanic. at that point i sympathized with the commenters behind me. i wanted to mumble something myself, if only to stifle a surprise gesture. then they launched in to a waltz right out of my grandma Pilar's French mirrored music box. i fully expected Princess Ernestine to twirl in the hands of Count Trotsky. never mind. then they played a mysterious Chinese piece, during which the event planners released thousands of soap bubbles into the air. they also released about 75 butterflies. i could say a more round number, say 100, to be poetic, but it wasn't that many. they mingled with the soap bubbles in the air and it all looked very festive, magical and beautiful. except, i thought, this could not be done in SF. environmentalists would oppose it. i worried about the short life the butterflies endured. hehe. the children loved it, though, as did the artists.

the concert concluded. but the venue continued with an impromptu music lesson. ay! i really wanted to leave at that point, because i didn't understand what was being said and did not find it was part of a concert. however, what it consisted of was having a child violinist play pieces and receive comments by the master. i ran to the quick mart and grabbed ice cream and Skippy peanut butter. it was one of those ice cream eating inducing events.

4/24/09

mayurasana

mayurasana will keep you young (photo from the internet)

trees photos architecture

the trees in the garden outside my window are definitely green. woke up early to go to a hospital for foreigners where they conduct required tests. you change into a gown and then go from room to room, where they weigh you, pinch you, examine your eyes, xray you, and look inside your body with a sonogram.
it made me feel like this afterwards (a picture on the wall of the Kodak store, where you order myriads of tiny photos to use with applications.) and as always, a trip to the city means looking at architecture.

4/23/09

mari to kukku

i continued with the Primary Practice today, from the Marichyasanas up to Kukkutasana. one hour and forty five minutes for just that. phew. it was hard on the body to pick up in the middle, but the muscles warmed up after a while. soon i remembered at a physical level that part of what attracts me to the practice is that the body feels healthy and good because of the practice, and the mind is relaxed afterwards also. my blood pressure was at 136/88 this morning and heart beat 56, weight at 131lb, 61kg. those are the best stats this week and i attribute it to eating my own prepared foods low in salt, and to yoga.

4/22/09

half holiday people

practice of half Primary was decent today. i am not sure of when i will say that i did a full series in my self practice. i take the time to practice, but the pace is tortoise like. why did i write earlier that i had the intention of going to a led class today? that's lunatic. i would have to take a bus to the last metro, take two metro trains and walk fifteen minutes to the class, then do it in reverse to get back home. it's too much dwama and i'm working late hours. on a weekend that is OK.

my yoga Teacher doesn't see a lot of me. the last three weeks were taken up with tax preparations and travel. this weekend my meditation instruction got moved to this Sunday and next Sunday is Labor Day holiday here, which means more travel. next time i seem him it will be like beginning all over again.

i once again cannot read blogs that are written with words that impress. so that means i can't read most of the UK cybershalamates posts. sorry people. ho-hum. below is Janus Sirsasana A this morning, my mac-and-cheese pose. at least today i won't be moody.

missed practice today

this morning i challenged my new routine of practicing first thing when i wake up, after only drinking tea and juice. i ate breakfast when i woke up. sure enough, i became distracted and i wimped out of the practice. as a consequence i was very moody all day long. i'm on an even keel emotionally when i don't miss practice.

4/21/09

Malapascua and Gato Island, the Phillipines


Jessica Reischel went diving in Bounty Beach, in Gato Island, Malapascua and took these pictures, which she shared.

gardens plans Chinese

the gardens are green with all the recent rain. it's difficult to talk about plans, because they might vary, but here is the outlook for this week. i had made plans a month ago to meet the meditation teacher this Saturday. i forgot about that when i agreed to take care on Saturday of something related to my permits for being here. i did not want to disappoint the teacher, so i agreed to go on Sunday. that conflicts with Mysore practice with Bamboo Knight. so i may go into town Thursday evening for a led ashtanga class with him. that will depend on my ability to tear away from the office at a reasonable time.
this is my zafu and zafuton setup at home. i'm developing facility to communicate in Chinese, with the help of a new pocket dictionary. i look for the main words of the sentence i want to communicate. by now i am familiar with the participles and connecting words so that i can construct basic sentences. if i am unfamiliar with the order in which to place the words, since the grammar is different than English, i sometimes run my sentence through the automatic translating machine and compare those results with the composition i made with the dictionary. usually i am on the right track and simply need to change the order of words. the dictionary is useful too, because if i hear words spoken around me, i can look it up in the dictionary according to the pinyin sounds and find the translation.

4/20/09

practice weight weather

i brought the old Manduka with me and a Barefoot-brand Indian practice rug which I found at Rainbeau Market
yesterday i was adjusting to my traveling. today i did a partial Primary Series. i worked hard at getting more extension in my legs in Utthita Hasta Padangustasana. my weight is good. i started documenting vital statistics such as blood pressure and heart rate again, logging it in Cron-o-meter. the weather here is in the 70s and humid.

4/19/09

pictures from a park

photos from a park in Palo Alto, California last friday. V. took these with my camera.

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