downward ding bike

downward dog this morning. i think i may need to start getting up an hour early because my yoga practice is not consistent or strong. i need to find the groove again. that goes for my diet as well. yesterday i went swimming in the gym in our community. i thought that would make me show some weight loss but instead i showed weight gain. it's the peanut butter consumption, plus too many other calories. i think i will start putting a list of all the reasons peanut butter is not a good food. i had not swimmed in a pool in probably two years. you don't forget the swimming strokes. being from an island, i grew up swimming. when i went to college in Notre Dame, they tested our swimming skills in physical education. i did not know how to dive, so they dinged me, assigning me to obligatory swimming classes. actually, that was a useful thing, because i improved my swimming skills. While in Texas, swimming was my main mode of exercise for probably 15 years. i need a ding with respect to yoga now.

this weekend i'm getting together with my Olympian coworker who bicycles about 80 miles daily to and from work, to buy a Dahon foldable bike. i used to drive 80 miles daily in San Antonio between my home, the YMCA downtown for swimming, my work in the southwest part of the city, and the University of Texas in San Antonio in the northwest part of the city, returning after classes to my home in the north east of the city. i can't imagine the effort to bicycle the same distance daily. i'm looking forward to this bicycle, so i can go exploring the neighborhood, or the city on weekends. Pudong is architecturally very interesting and i have still not checked it out fully.


what did the chicken tell the donkey? i'm not sure. maybe Tian Ping, who took the picture on a trip to Tiaoxuan in the northwestern of the country, knows the answer. i can tell you of the conversation i had with a snail. it was rainy yesterday and a snail decided the driveway into the residential community was slick enough to navigate it. but it could get in the path of a car, so i lifted the little guy to move it somewhere safe. it didn't want to let go of the pavement. when it was aloft it shriveled a bit wondering where the earth had gone. i walked it towards a tree and told it i was moving it to somewhere safe. it moved its head around trying to get its bearing. one of his antlers touched my fingernail and then quickly retracted. i found an area of green plants under a tree and left it there. it made me happy to help it and realized that it was a very cute creature. i have a backlog of pictures to post now - an island off Xiamen, on the south east part of the country, a park of temples, and Tiaoxuan. and there are always, yoga pictures! well, i like to make yoga art of mine. except i don't have the flow Grimmly enjoys. maybe if i concentrate more on the breath the flow will follow.


practice certification bag

i practiced towards second. is that a good way to say i practiced but didn't get too many asanas in? at least i found the breath.

regarding the certification i was pursuing, it seems i can take another test. now, however, you have to choose which track of certification you want, a general one or a specialist one. the specialist one requires 18 hours of classed yearly to maintain the status. that is difficult to achieve when you're outside the States. in the US, vendors show up at your office, bring you lunch, talk on a topic and voila! you have a green credit. have 18 of those lunches a year and you've met your requirement. that doesn't exist in other places. so i may opt for a humble certification, "green associate" in which i'm not required to take as many classes per year. i think just eight. learning Mandarin, new computer software and traveling keeps me plenty busy when i'm not working or doing yoga.

a colleague recycled a new rolling bag because he wanted a bigger one. i gratefully took it and now i can schlep my usual stuff between the apartment and the office. i was carrying a heavy laptop on a backpack, plus a Timbuk2 bag daily on my shoulders. i thought it was OK to do that, since they say carrying weight on your body helps maintain bone health. but i think that it could tire the heart out to be lugging heavy stuff all the time. plus, i do yoga daily-ishly, which makes you lift your body weight continually, so that should protect my bone health.

so here are pictures of the hotel i stayed at last week. it's rated as a business class hotel and was built about 3 years ago. the room is smallish but comfortable and had anything one would need, well, most of everything except internet access that worked. there was a refrigerator, tea kettle, double pane glass windows that isolated street noise, the modesty of wood blinds to separate the glass partition of the bathroom from the bedroom and a nice rainshower head. the bed was a tad hard. it's was a real value though. i spent 2 1/2 years scoping hotels throughout the States, so i always photograph the hotel rooms i visit.


re-establishing practice pants

this was a weekend of re-establishing practices. first the meditation practice. i went to the teacher's house. we waited for the doctor to arrive. then i sat in the meditation room. by now i have memorized the sanskrit mantras. the hand mudra is hard to accomplish. so the teacher showed me how placing the hands in hot water for a few minutes and squeezing a towel in the water helps prepare the hand muscles. i sat on the cushions and eventually the teacher helped me get into the mudra. then he left the room. he came back a few times to get my hands deeper into the mudra. after about an hour had passed and i was still chanting, my mind was wondering if the teacher was going to return and tell me it was OK to get out of the mudra. he checked that my hands had the fingers still intertwined and was pleased that they were. at that point my fingers were numb, so it was more effort to get them out of the mudra than to keep on staying in it. i'm supposed to do this nightly.

the other re-engaging was going to the shala for ashtanga. i think Bamboo Knight has found a new shala space and is in the last legs of negotiation. it may be an underground shala. i told him that could be cool. after Sunday practice i usually go get a Chinese massage at a spa in the basement of a building and it really is a peaceful and beautiful space. he could equally create that environment for yoga.

there is a Brit in our group. i need to come up with a blog name for him. i might call him Ismail Beane. LOL. he's very nice. where was i? the chuckle made my mind hickup. oh yes, practice today. Bamboo Knight mimicked for me what my breath was doing in UHP. i heard him sort of pant irregularly. my propioseption regarding breath was not present. later, i sat on the mat after a vinyasa and checked my toenail lengths. that reminds me that Leigha Nicole would drop by at those moments and tell me "no manicure". she would have added "no pedicure" today if she were observing me. Bamboo Knight came by and asked me if i was OK. i explained that i had not practiced in a little over a week, between work and study. he said that at moments of re-engaging in the practice it was more important to re-engage the breath and not worry about regaining the asanas. he added an observation about me which several months of practice with him have enabled him to make. he says i tend to breathe in the abdomen and not in the chest. i need to breath deeply in the chest so that i can release the tension i hold in the chest and in the back muscles. otherwise the bhandas will not work properly. that was some great advice.

after lunch i went to my now fave Indian restaurant. by now the wait staff know me as the guy who always wants to order the same thing - saag paneer, potato roti, cucumber salad and masala tea. on Thursday i went there because i was staying in town the day before the exam. the staff wanted me to try their mix and match set meal. it's way too much food - it included what i ordered today plus vegetable soup, rice bowl, salad, fried vegetable cakes, and a potato and vegetables curry. ironically that set menu cost less than my custom order today. but it's way too much food for me. i ended up taking some to the hotel for dinner. can you tell i practice calorie restriction? i don't like big portions.

after that i went to get some cargo pants and shorts at Marks & Spencer, which is a British brand. what i like about shopping in the city is that you can buy a few things and not spend very much. things are affordable. it makes it possible for everyone to buy a few articles of clothing and not break their budget. that must explain why people look stylish even in the middle of a blistering summer.


scenes from Thailand

these are the pictures of my colleague Tian Ping from the trip he and his wife took to Thailand. they stayed in a resort near the capital, Bankok. the weather, he said, was a bit gray during their visit. the pictures are beautiful despite the weather. you can see the creativity and eye of an architect in the composition of the pictures.

this is the resort they visited. there are beach homes that investors buy as second homes. the architecture of some of them have muslim inspired motifs. they stayed in a resort where there are individual cabins. each level has plunge pools. the ones on the second level have an infinity edge so that when you swim you feel a visual continuity with the ocean beyond.

during their stay, they visited the royal summer palace, pictured here. it's interesting to read the wikipedia article on the king of Thailand. he is the longest ruling monarch in the world. the pictures of the walkways to the ocean have an interesting perspective. with my western trained mind, i would have stood to one side of the walkway to take a similar picture, so the vanishing points would be to one side. TP, with his eastern training, stood in the middle. the symmetry in his pictures create the effect of tunnels to infinity because the vanishing point is in the center.

here are picture of a train station and of some beautiful temples

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