5/31/10

while waiting for the plane to Hong Kong i had a little time to organize the pictures from my recent trip to a northern province. i didn't bring my travel notes with me, so i will wait until the weekend to begin posting, depending if i have free time this coming weekend.

on the trip to to Hong Kong i enjoyed the best meal on a plane ever. i could not have eaten better at home. i flew on Dragon Airlines / Cathay. Cathay has a great reputation for service. i called ahead to request a vegetarian meal. they gave me three types as choices - Indian, Western and Asian. i chose Asian. the meal consisted of rice, mushrooms, seitan in brown sauce, brocolli and sweet potato, a warm roll and butter, a salad with shredded pickeled cabbage, beans and carrots, fresh fruits (dragon fruit, water melon), vanilla ice cream and apple juice. that's worthy of a journal entry.

when we landed and arrived at the concourse, on the tramway to the terminal building i mentioned to a beautiful blonde woman that i noticed that she was carrying her yoga mat. i told her i was also carrying mine. her face lighened into a warm smile and she looked behind my back to see where my mat was, but i mentioned it was in my bag. i explained i did ashtanga and had been practicing 8 years. she said she had just come from an ashtanga teacher training in Boracay Island. she asked me where i practiced ashtanga in Hong Kong. i explained i lived in the mainland and practiced with an authorized teacher. she asked, "authorized by Patthabi Jois"? yes, i nodded. then i went into what poses i was practicing, that many poses had been taken away. she said, "there must be a reason for that." i was a bit incredulous about the spontenaeity and the subject of the conversation with a stranger just getting off a plane. it's like those people who start talking in airports about sport teams and discuss personal things about what is hapenning with the players that season.

the interchange and following the herd mentality made me forget that one has to fill out extra paperwork everytime one enters and leaves the country. i didn't realize until i was next in line for my tet-a-tet. the guard was ready for distracted people like myself and pulled the necessary form and lent me a pen. such efficiency.

i had not been in Hong Kong in 8 months and intuitively it seemed i know where i was going with public transportation. i didn't get too lost on the way to the hotel. i'm hurrying up to write this because the internet at the hotel, while being very fast, is charged by the hour. my newphew and his wife had a baby. that makes me a grand-uncle. yikes.

i brought my yoga mat. i may practice in the room while here, doing the practice my teacher has me on currently. i don't know if i will have time to go to the Mandarin Oriental for H's class and have time to do the things i need to do while here. if i go, it would be on Wednesday. the drop in rates here are expensive. i'm not complaining, just saying.

5/29/10

nice feet tow

there's a nice assistant that Teacher is training. many of the practitioners are lithe Chinese girls whose bodies probably don't give a lot of resistance to being put into asanas. when it comes to getting me into Marichyasana D it needs an expert's crank. so i was the model and got a good crank so the assistant could learn. Teacher asked first if myknees are OK, which they are. later, in my own practice of Urdvha Danurasana, i walked the hands towards the feet several times and lifted as high as I could. i wonder if that led to a hurt in the back by the time of headstand, which i skipped. on the way to the office i stopped by the bakery on Anfu Lu that is owned by Wagas. it has the most incredible breads and croissants. every time i go it seems to be foreigner central, laoweis with all of their kids in tow. one lady said she was hear on a four year contract. i said i wanted one of those.

friends visiting grandmother

last night i arrived around 9:00pm from work. around 10:00 there was a little commotion outside my room. after a little while, my flatmate, a nice German guy, knocked on the door and asked me if it was allright that there would be some friends visiting for two hours. they would try to be quiet. i said sure, that my other flatmate and i were working all weekend but there was no problem. i went to sleep dreaming of parties. my sleep was more like what what my grandmother would have called "dormitando", translated something like "walking around sleeping." around 11:55pm i woke up and turned on a light. i was ready to mention to the group that i needed to get up at 5:00am and needed sleep. but before the chariots turned to pumkins at 12:00, the group left. i liked the German precision of the flatmate; he asked for 2 hours and very considerately took only 2 hours. i can't wait until i can start posting pictures again in my blog. it's been only words lately.

5/28/10

room reads you


are you still there? yes, i am, but super busy. today, for example, i can't join the meditation group. i have started organizing the photos from the recent trip. but i need to organize my room and do calculations for taxes first. i won't have time until the next holiday in the middle of june. for my friends hosted by that wordy press, i reads you, and comment, but the cat eats the comments.

a friend asked me if i had ever married. apparently he has never married, a condition he calls "forty single". when he found out my age he said, "we should call you papa." another friend chimed in and asked us if we were friends of Dorothy's because he and his best bud know her personally. i met Dorothy and there is a divorcee here who is eyeing me. but besides dancing salsa, i can do a good Mexican hat dance around these subjects. i'm doing one now. Donuts, that's about a much as i'll say about that interchange. the topic conveniently changed to the weather. i found out it's hot most of the time in Taipei and Hong Kong but there are two weeks during winter when it can be cold. cough.

5/27/10

giant moon translate

having a moon day today and not having to practice ashtanga meant getting more sleep. i didn't like moon days before but today it's welcome. as i was working late last night, i could see the giant moon outside the window. i could not tell a colleague with a straight face that Friday was a moon day and i didn't need to practice yoga. some things just don't translate.

5/26/10

practice no pain

the joy of today's practice was there was no pain. and with the current practice i guess i'll practice coming to standing from UD more. my body welcomes that, specially the lower back.

i have to work all weekend again and then go to Hong Kong for three days on Monday. it would be nice (in my dreams) to have a personal assistant.

5/25/10

breathe

"on difficult poses it's hard to adjust you because you're not breathing. life is stressful outside. when you come here to practice, breathe, specially on the difficult poses." wise words from Bamboo Knight today. i breathed more on asanas after those words.

5/24/10

back shoulder mattress

the back feels good today. i practiced half of Primary to Navasana and Intermediate to Ustrasana, with Teacher's permission. after a lot of baby dropback practices i started doing handstands. teacher tapped me and said that i should not do handstands because they stiffen the shoulders and my shoulders are already stiff. i agree.

my office is near a school of music. the weather is warm. the flatmate rejected a mattress the landlord brought for her because it was used, so it occupies part of the hallway permanently until who knows when. she brought her own mattress to the apartment. it didn't fit and now the landlord does not want to buy a new one for her.

5/23/10

short yoga pain

it was a short practice today, since i worked until 9:00 pm last night and consequently went to bed late yesterday. Teacher has an assistant visiting and helping in the room. my back hurts in forward bends. i need to do intermediate poses starting tomorrow or risk more pain that makes me wonder if yoga has to cause pain.

5/20/10

led aches drumming

today it was a led class. my back aches, so forward bends are testy. the pace was quickish. i think i heard Teacher drumming in the adjacent room after people where in savasana. i don't have a free moment this weekend. after work i'm in a full weekend workshop, followed by Mandarin lessons and language exchange. i think i will put my room in order in the coming holiday within 2 weeks.

5/19/10

split routine taught

i asked permission to split the routine at Navasana and go to half of intermediate. i experienced the familiar pain in the lower back after too much primary practice by the time i got to Janus Sirsasana C. i went to the room for closing to do baby back practices at the wall and Ustrasana and Teacher came over to ask what i was doing. after some explanation, he gave me permission to split ocassionally and go to Ustrasana. he thinks my strength has to grown and if i do Kapotasana i will just be cranking my body. it's also how he was taught by Guruji. after Marichyasana D he asked me if my back hurt. it didn't. maybe the twisting sideways relieves back pain too.

chakorasana much better

today my Chakorasana was much better. i concentrated in curling my body a ball as i went back. it went faster and smoother.

on the way back from work, while bicycling with many others in an impeccably clean street, i noticed the person next to me throw on the road the wrapper from her snack and the bag it came in. i got off my bike right in front of her and put it in my basket, then placed it in a wastebasket when i passed by one.

here is an interesting picture of a building being built.

5/18/10

channeling hands sneak

i had a good practice today. ha! i'm channeling Grimmly and Kai. i bound the hands by meself in Supta Kurmasana and almost got Marichyasana D once again. i was joined by Leaping Lung and Cobra Tamer. Mellowman was doing Intermediate, which i don't when i will be doing once again. maybe i'll sneak it in. ha. i've been meaning to say, "a good breath was had by all", but today saying, "a good sweat was had by all" would be more appropriate. cheers.

my flatmate had an argument with the landlord. guess who won? it's best not to argue. it's a new apartment so everything is not yet fixed and set.

5/17/10

forgot change of clothes

i forgot to bring my change of underwear so i had the choice of doing a no sweat yin yoga, or a short ashtanga sequence with time to go back to the apartment to retrieve the item. Teacher suggested a short ashtanga sequence. i didn't realize that the stance for utihita trikonasana was very short. the focus is on the squaring of the hips. i returned to the apartment and was on time at the office. except i forgot my access card. my pants are clean but not ironed. the joys of getting settled in a new routine.

new routine chains

today was the try of the new routine - bike to yoga, practice, bike to work, work, bike back home. I thought i'd be spaced out from yoga, because i was on Sunday, but i wasn't today. i'm doing primary for now, since Bamboo Knight wants me to get with the program. the only unusual adjustment was pressure on the bent leg in warrior one, to get a lower lunge, while pulling my back arm back to get the right centering. i bound the hands in supta kurmasana with his help. soon the feet will return to binding. he's been helping me bind in marichyasana D on a regular basis. that's another that i have to get back.

around the office building, people leave their bikes basically with chains tied around the wheels but not to anything in particular. that leads to the possibility of the bike being lifted and taken. i found a place i could connect it to a guardrail. if someone is going to go through the trouble of stealing my new inexpensive bike, they are going to have to work for it. they are not getting it for free. i remember how once i had a bike stolen on the second week of owning it and when i replaced it, i bought a chain rated for New York city, guaranteed to be impossible to break. it weighs 15lbs. it's in storage; there was no point in making my luggage heavier by bringing it.

the landlord came with a handyman to do some repairs and completions of unfinished work at the apartment. that it's great, but since it's close to 10pm, it made a racket that brought the neighbor to demand that they stop. i would have done the same thing. they call remodeling here "decoration". regardless of the level of noise made. even the neighbor drills through concrete or demolishes a wall with a sledgehamer making the whole building shake, it's called "decoration".

i would very much like to post my pictures from the recent trip but i haven't finished organizing my room. i also have to study Mandarin.

5/16/10

practiced new bike


today i walked to the shala and practiced the full primary series. it felt great. people really breathe deeply in the group. i did not bind in supta kurmasana by myself, but it will come again. later on my friend the Olympian and his wife went with me to buy a new bike. it's the least expensive of the Giant line. it was also the lightest, which should help so that at night i can carry it up the stairs of the apartment. at the shala there is no cable at street level on which one can tie the bike, but i hear that at the office there is. hopefully the time of yoga practice is early enough and the bike will be safe enough. the bike, i think, may be designed for women, because of the height if the middle part. it also has some graphics of flowers. but my friend said it should not matter. i can view it as flower power. the bike is shown in the kitchen, but we're still settling in, so it's not ready for being photographed yet.

5/15/10

yesterday joined mudras

i joined the meditation group yesterday morning at the teacher's apartment. you could have added a ferry boat ride to the means of getting there to round up the public transportation. i took a bus to the metro, changed three lines, then took a taxi to the apartment. on the way back, one of my colleagues brought me in her car to the street i live on. phew!

the group had not seen me in three weeks because i had been traveling and moving apartments. the teacher's daughter joined us yesterday and also helped in cooking a sumptuous vegetarian feast that included steamed veggie buns, string beans cooked in mushroom oil, carrots and broccoli, rice, fried taro balls filled with egg, tomato-tofu and quail egg soup, fava beans, and a tofu and spinach-like green veggie dish.

i'm having problems with my weight, so i hope the implementation of yoga this week and preparing my soups will bring my weight back in line. another challenge to the diet is that the colleagues eat out for lunch and invite me. i usually manage my weight by cooking my own meals. eating out is bad for weight management and the pocketbook.

but i digress. we spent two hours at the meditation cushion and at several intervals the teacher came and adjusted our hand mudras so that we experienced three different ones. these are yoga of the hands. when i've asked their purpose, i've been told it's the antenna to receive Buddha's message. i take it that since we're doing at least three complicated ones, the Buddha, like radio stations, must send his message in different frequencies so you have to adjust. sometimes you receive it through the classical station section, sometimes in the pop, sometimes in the rock. pop and rock, hmmm.

5/13/10

moon day hehaw

today i did the dryest of the dry runs. i went all the way to the shala walking. hehaw. although i read last night in my email that today was a moon day and checked the website to confirm, that was yesterday. the person i have to have patience with is myself. i remembered when the door of the shala did not open. by the time i got to the office 45 minutes had passed and i was bursting to go to the bathroom, but my new key did not open the door. this is where i get frustrated at not having the perfect accent when asking for the bathroom. i have to say it pronouncing it six different ways and various ways in English, and write "WC" in the air before i'm understood. the guard's giggle for the morning in conversation with his coworker was having helped me in my rush moment.

5/12/10

another dry run


today i had another dry run of an attempt to get to the shala. i think i need to set an earlier time to wake up if i'm going to get to it on time. 4:00am or no later than 4:30am needs to be the time. today i was ready to leave at 7:00 and would have had 1/2 hour to practice. i've also realized that i need to buy a cheap bike that i don't mind leaving parked outside. that will make the commute to yoga and work very quick. maybe i'll obtain that this weekend. yesterday during a dinner outing with the entire work team, i found out a colleague is also passionate about yoga. cool beans.
i'm trying to get settled in my routine. it's not easy with so many time demands. but there is light at the end of the tunnel. picture is from the tunnel in Guoliang, taken two weeks ago.

5/11/10

dry run suits

i may try doing a dry run of going to the shala today. my weight is plumping up because i'm not settled into my routine yet and going out to lunch is bad for calorie restriction practice. so i may give a try to going to the shala and see how it works out. it's not easy to get out of the room because it is still in disarray. it will take until the weekend to organize it. i may give a dry run of coming to lunch to the apartment as well, where i can control what i eat by preparing my own meals.

actually, now that i wrote that, the truth is that all i did was organize what i would need to go to the shala. it was a small exercise. i really would need to leave earlier to get a decent practice in. if i leave now i will have half an hour there.

i would like to resume posting nice pictures here and i have hundreds from the recent trip to organize, but it will need to wait until i'm more settled.

i may need to wear dark (read black) suits with a plain shirt and no ties on a routine basis now. it's a good thing you can have suits made for a song by tailors at the giant cloth market.

5/10/10

orientation cleaned things

yesterday was an orientation day for me at the new job. today the real work starts. i'm not settled in the apartment and now i have less time during the week to organize it. so what to do about yoga practice? i may need to do yin yoga at home during the next few days. i listened to a statement in a self-help tape that, a man goes out with the intent of conquering the world and he hasn't even cleaned out his garage. that's not right intention. i can't find things in the half unpacked state they are in, so i need to focus on organizing those things. the organization needs to start at home.

my dreams have been unusual. yesterday i dreamed that every mentor i've had in my field of work where all working in the same company. some construction needed to be done in their offices, so we all ended in a big conference room sitting elbow to elbow. there where a lot simultaneous meetings going on, with the din from talking being confusing. i went to my mentor Ana and asked her what task she thought i should start first. she commended me for consulting her and suggested i work with a particular team in the corner. at this group my task was to open a package and identify its contents. i opened it ad declared it to be a group of clay Christmas figurines from a nativity cresh.

i read a statistic that currently, the average citizen of a major US city causes approximately 12.5 metric tonnes of greenhouse gases to be emitted each year. it made me wonder if the emissions caused by people who work in certain public occupations is greater than those of people in regular occupations. people who talk a lot come to mind.

i noticed that i'm rounding up my answer to how long i have been in China to a year and a half. it's like being asked, "how old are you?" the exact answer of a year and a quarter sounds chinsy and correctly rounding it to one year makes is sound scant. i feel like the kid who wants to say, "i'm 4 1/2 years old, but i will be 5 years old in six months."

5/8/10

practiced in jeans

this was a first, practicing at the shala in jeans. i moved last night to the new apartment and found that i needed to obtain some furniture so i can store basic things. the room is full of boxes and suitcases while i find those at Ikea. my mind was planning in the morning, but i redirected it to going to the shala, only that i forgot the practice shorts. i told Bamboo Knight, "i'm out of my mind today because i moved yesterday and i forgot my practice clothes, can i practice in jeans?" "sure," he said. the clothing constrained the practice though. i went up to Navasana. the place sounded like one big lung.

the apartment was newly renovated and many things come from Ikea. we have a knife holder block but no knives, because the store is withholding from selling knives during Expo. that is puzzling to me, as well as to my flatmate, who is a native. we don't understand their reasoning.

5/7/10

traveled island language

i traveled two more days, this time to the island of Putuoshan. being from an island it feels nice to visit one. my notes and pictures related to it will need to wait since tomorrow is packing and moving day. the new apartment is ready and the movers are coming to pick me up tomorrow evening. one of my colleagues will be sharing the flat and will also be joining the same firm.

i hope to resume my yoga Sunday. yoga and calorie restriction suffered with all of the traveling in the past week. my Mandarin improved since it was necessary to use for communications. i am aware that sometimes i ask my brain how to say something, and the lag of time can be 45 minutes before it starts composing the sentence, if it contains words i have not used in a while. i have to study Chinese almost daily. sometimes it feels like the retention is slow. i often ask myself what the word is for something, knowing very well that the word has been given to me before. such is learning a language.

speaking of chinglish, i enjoyed this article in the NY times on it. there is also a slide presentation in the article. personally i like the funny translations, to get a giggle and understand the way the Chinese think. my western-trained chinese friend finds it funny that a western toilet here might be labeled "special for deformed".

5/4/10

great way day

i got to see the Great Wall. i went the way local people go with public transportation and enjoyed the day, hanging out with a college-age lady and two ladies my age. i will post pictures and tell the story later. on the metro station there was a picture of Lauren Hutton for an advertisement of H&M, so i took a picture of it, bringing laughs from the girls caught in the picture, who said, "Meiguo de" - American. i'm returning to Shanghai today, then going by bus and boat to Putuoshan for 2 days. upon my return it's packing and moving day. work starts Monday. so i'm busy.


this reminds me of a story a Zen priest told me. she is a friend of someone in the film industry in Hollywood who every year gives her tickets to the bleachers in front of the red carpet outside the Oscars. she always goes, accompanied by her teenage daughter. being a priest living in a farm, she rarely recognizes anyone on the carpet. a few years ago, however, she recognized Lauren Hutton on the carpet and thought, "oh, here is someone i know, from MY generation." so she started screaming, "wo-hoo, Lauren, way to go!" and cheering. that drew a puzzled look in her direction from the star, a look that said, "who is this crazy person?"

5/3/10

traveling


we returned earlier to Beijing, so today i may go to see the Great Wall, since my return to Shanghai is not until tomorrow. i'll answer comments later on, since i have limited time on the computer. here are some pictures from Guoliang. just teasing, yes, coz these are unedited. i did a Skippety self picture, but i had the setting to microphotography, so the background is fuzzy.
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