8/31/10

half fish courtesy

i tried the second half of Primary, first poses of Intermediate today. it was nice, except my legs were not warm enought to do the Eka Pada prep for Supta Kurmasana. It was also impossible to loop my hands through in Garba Pindasana. Asians like to eat dry fish. when a yogini unrolled her mat i felt a waft of dry fish smell. i'm familiar with it because my flatmate brought packages of it from her recent visit up north. i laughed at the names i could come up with for my fellow practioner, but settled on Flora diMare. tomorrow we go to the World Expo, courtesy of the Swedish Pavilion.

8/30/10

days in kapotasana

Bamboo Knight said on some days i could go from standing poses to Buja Pidasana and to the end of Primary, then go on to the Intermediate poses i'm currently doing. someone who was having difficulties in his practice was given this routine by S. in Mysore. i told him that would be good, as i would get all of the Primary during the week. Seven Petal Lotus use to put The Writer on this routine sometimes in San Francisco. my left foot is more relaxed lately. how is yours? you think when we meet in the flesh we'll ask each other, "how is your kapotasana?"

Today's Kai (tm) Report:
adjustments: Prasarita D, Marychiasana D
energy: good
mind: focused
breath: could have been stronger
dristhe: on
practiced next to Cobra Tamer and in front of Pinecone Sister
Sheered mirror on the wall said: head could have been lower in Prasaritas; lunge in Warrior 2 good.

8/29/10

first change underwear

was the first to arrive at the shala. forgot to bring a change of underwear so had to do a roundtrip back to the apartment to fetch one. hence my practice was short.

deciphered story chuffling

with the help of my tutor, we quickly deciphered what i had spent money on. at a pharmacy that i frequent, where i typically purchase a stomach digestive aid called angli yihao, it seems i once also bought something that translates to "medicine for brain". is that aspirin, maybe, to detach the brain from the source of pain? it seems lost in translation. supplements translate to health food.

i wanted to tell the story of something i experienced the other night. i don't know; it's one of those things that are curious and fascinating about the culture here. i was waiting at a light in my electric bike. in front, on my left, where, all in one electric bike, a man and two women seated in a row. the middle woman was extending her arms back, hugging the woman behind her. to their right was a man in another bike, with a child in his arms. the child screamed for his mommy. the mommy turned out to be the woman in the back of the first bike. she got off, walked to the other bike, took the kid in her arms and seated herself behind the man, her husband. in the other bike, the girl that was in the middle got off. her boyfriend moved back and she sat in front to drive, her boyfriend hugging her. all the chuffling between people related to each other on two different bikes was complicated to watch and endearing at the same time.

8/28/10

stomach Miss Piggy


Globie is a dragon; it's his birthday month. So is Laruga's and Joy's... i am almost finished editing my pictures from my trip of four months ago. it's a good thing, since i have a new trip coming up and should finish posting the pictures of the last one. above is a dragon detail from a temple in PutuoShan.
my stomach is going "blu blu" this morning. maybe i consumed too much dairy yesterday. i don't digest lactose well but consume some yogurt daily for calcium. yesterday i had a dairy popsicle after a massage. the massage was so strong it was scary at times. all of that combined, plus needing to get ready for my Chinese lesson and continue with my expenses calculations made me opt for a half hour of meditation and not two hours of yoga this morning. it makes me feel like a wuz. where Kai is strong, practicing through colds, upset stomach and such, i find glee in an excuse. tomorrow i have to show up at the shala like the prodigal son, eating humble pie. i have to go, or i'll feel paranoid the rest of the day. i need to find a Miss Piggy doll to represent Kai in my council of cybershalamates. (image from this fun site.)

year bag schedule

i'm calculating my expenses of last year and this year. it's not an easy task since the majority of receipts are in Chinese. i'm learning that i need to annotate what a receipt stands for before putting it in a bag. to decipher those i did not label i will have to ask my tutor to tell me what type of item i bought, then i can figure out if it counts as a deduction or not. to finish these calculations will possibly take 36 hours and i have already spent about 15. no wonder i have delayed the task, considering the busy schedule i have. it consumes my weekends and i usually have work to do on weekends.

among my receipts i found one for $313.55 spent at Torrey Pines Club in La Jolla, California. i wonder how that receipt ended in my box, given that on that date i was in San Francisco. that's a mystery; i don't golf.

8/26/10

yin drying perch

i did a half hour of yin yoga poses at home this morning. i paid attention to the breath even though it's a quiet practice. i was busy otherwise, such as recuing my clothes which fell two floor from their drying perch to the electrical lines below, during last night's thunderstorm. our office's summer party is tonight. (edit, here is a picture of the city towards the north, from the 50th floor of the hotel where the party was held.)

8/25/10

room fuzz balance

i stayed at home sleeping longer and organizing my room. i did not practice. when you come to China they say, "you need to learn Chinese? get a girlfriend." maybe that's good advice and the flatmates are away, so i gave that a try... dating is a lot of fuzz, and a lot of expenditure - emotionally, time-wise and financially. maybe those are reasons i don't typically date. but someone was insisting in going on a date, so i decided to give it a try. dating doesn't help yoga practice. but then you have to balance things in life. i seem unthankful of having dated and that's not good. sometimes you have to accept when attraction comes your way. but relationships vary. if it's one where you don't feel zapped, then it's a good one. if it's one where you're put in a situation where you are a father figure, ATM, organizer, host, entertainer, lover and cook, then there has got to be a thief somewhere in the story.

8/24/10

short space bruises

practice was short and good. Mrs. Swan took my usual space. so i went to the opposite wall. there are mirrors for the other types of yoga that go on in the space, which are covered with shear curtains for ashtanga. i could however see how far to the mat my head was in the Prasaritas - about 3 inches. that's improvement. i got greedy and wanted to get the head to the floor. Teacher and Pot of Poppies and Cobra Tamer compared results of a variation of the firecups treatment that removes moisture from the muscles. they had a lot of bruises-looking bruises.

8/23/10

happy moon day


Happy Moon Day
Photo by Wylie Tsang

tidy tic tocs

i wrote a tidy blog entry this morning and proceeded to accidentaly delete it. that hapenned because the computer is slow and i wrote my entry in notepad, then forgot to cut and paste it. i'm not sure if i can replicate everything. the lady who lives in the shala space was late in opening but eventually responded to my knocks. soon, the Pine Cone Sisters arrived and asked me in Chinese where the changing room was. i didn't understand their question until they pointed to the clothes they were wearing. i pointed to the dressing room. they went in. a guy was in there. maybe he lives there too. they giggled and found a different place to change.

Mellow Man practiced next to me. he probably thought we were crowded, because he faced the opposite way. that made Teacher laugh as he asked him to face the front. i didn't lose my dristhe, but because of his proximity i noticed a great Pasasana, an equally nice Kapotasana and an impressive Mayurasana. I'm not sure why he stopped before the Seven Deadlies. When doing Urdva Danurasana, he was so quick to come up to standing i thought i lost my mind momentarily. blessed flexibility. Tic Tocs? no problem.

my story in comparison is more humble. my left leg almost allowed me to bind in Marichyasana D on the right side by myself. i got a good lift in Urdva Danurasana. i keep looking for that day when coming to standing will be there. this evening Teacher texted that we'll be observing the moon day tomorrow. his website said Wednesday, but that was an error. i was wondering, because as he texted, i had seen a full moon outside.

8/21/10

primary hissing week

i went to practice this morning where i did Primary Series today, since i had not practiced since Thursday. Thursday I practiced next to Mrs. Swan. outside of practice, she and Mr. Swan are always elegantly dressed in a variation of white and white, gray and black or black and black. they are a lovey dovey couple. where was i? oh, practice. so I asked Green Giant where he went to a taller with John Scott. it was in Beijing, where he comes to teach yearly. i hope John Scott comes to Shanghai sometime.

today i practiced in between Jumping Beane and Purple Skiboat. whenever Purple Skiboat does her cobra hissing, my chest starts shaking from laughter that i suppress. let's say there is no stale air in her when she's done with that routine.

where was i? oh, practice. i said to myself as i did multiple mini dropbacks, "i surrender", as i think Claudia was talking about this week. in any case, i think that my droback practice is better on days that i do intermediate, where i feel more bending in the thoracic.

8/19/10

talk issues tomorrow

last night my colleague wanted to talk about work issues. it kept me away from doing my Chinese homework for today's class. so i had to chose between studying Chinese this morning or going to the led class. i'm studying. maybe i might go to a led class tomorrow. (edit- i found out there is no led class tomorrow but i could find one in another studio a block from home.)


Gloria Estefan sings,
"Ayer encontre la flor que tu me diste
imagen del amor que me ofreciste.
aun guarda el aroma aquel tierno clavel.
Ayer encontre la flor que tu me diste.
Regresa por favor; lo pasado no importa.
De todo, nuestro orgullo es lo peor.
Renovemos la pasion, pues la vida es
muy corta. Llenemos de calor el corazon."

lighting thunderstorm

yesterday there was a big lighting thunderstorm around noon. we all stopped working and gathered around the windows marveling at the display. here are some photos taken by my colleague Lena R. the lighting rods on top of buildings where performing their function. the lighting was landing on different buildings throughout the city. these pictures are of the strike to one building.



today we had a beautiful sunny day with a more agreable temperature.

8/18/10

today wet shirt

i did primary practice today. the most interesting and helpful trick was when i was doing eka pada prep for supta kurmasana, on the left, tight side. the head needs to be up and i'm usually craning downwards. so he suggested that i put both hand on my chin and push up. i think this actually healed the tightness in the left feet i've been feeling.

i forgot to charge the battery in the bike last night. i almost didn't make it to the office in the bike. i'm glad i wore a brown shirt. where i change in the shala is used as a janitor closet and the maid left a full pail of water used to mop the floor. when things were shifted around, my clothes fell into it. someone put the clothes to dry. the bycicle ride on a windy morning helped the drying process. i'll change the shirt at lunch.

8/17/10

closer upwards thirst

i got closer to binding on the right side in Marichyasana D with Teacher's assist. The leg is less tight since using an electric bike to get to the shala. But there is still a lot of pain in it when attempting the pose correctly. i'm getting up higher in my Urdva Danurasana and craning the neck towards the feet while pushing upwards.

i greeted Whale Whisperer in the morning again today. He's French. after class i am usually very thirsty. the half hour wait to get coffee in the office is agonizing in a way because the thirst is voracious. today i walked to the convenience store nearby and downed a gatorade. i suppose i should get small bottles of the stuff and carry it in my backpack. only more weight to carry and i already lug two big packs every morning, the back pack and the clothes/ practice rug pack.

8/16/10

rain whisperer good


it's supposed to rain soon, so the heat is abating. when i arrived to the shala, there was another foreigner practitioner. it was his first time practicing in the new space, but he had practiced in the previous one. he was about my age and had a smooth, flowing practice. his breath sounded like a whale spouting so I will call him Whale Whisperer. image from this source. i think he's a German who speaks Chinese.
i'm getting closer with the hands towards the feet in Urdva Danurasana. i noticed that my head was painlessly craning towards the feet and i could have almost seen the feet. am i supposed to see them before coming up to standing, or would that be doing Bhanda Chakrasana? anyway, it feels good.

8/15/10

130 second list

for the 130 second report. went to practice. received a lot of good advice. i asked if i should attempt supta kurmasana from dwi pada, which others do. since my chin is not up when getting the leg behind the head on the left side, Teacher does not recommend it. in one of the last poses of Primary, one of the leg raises that you roll into, i tend to list to the right. my mind is forgetting the name of the asana. will edit post later. he asked that i bend the legs somewhat and concentrate on sitting on both sitting bones. i tend to sit on the side of the buns of my tight side, the left one. so my asanas list to the left.

8/14/10

streak dream check

i seem to be on a streak of the wrong kind. after having breakfast and showering in preparation to go to the shala, i went back to sleep for two hours. so i have basically missed yoga three days for the same reason. someone was advising fivefootwo when she complained of a yoga slump to do some Surya Namaskars and see what happens. she did so and ended doing a full practice. remembering that, i dreamed of doing Surya Namaskars. is that a good substitute? haha! i think i also dreamed of someone flying on a small plane on a cloudless sky, somewhat recklessly and too close to the ground, then landing it on a tractor so he could keep moving in the direction he was flying, the tractor being big enough that it could run over obstacles.

so i'm asking myself what is going on. why am i moody and not my usual peppy self? high temperatures? check. you wake up and it's 33 celsius/91 fahrenheit. the heat index today is going to be 115 f. insufficient protein in my diet? check. i went ahead and added a lot of brewers yeast to my soup - the protein and b-12 should kick in the energy. i've been forgetting to supplement with my protein powders in the last week so i need to start doing that again.

8/13/10

Great Badaling Chifu

last april i went to see the Great Wall during a holiday. i haven't posted pictures yet because, four months later, i am still preparing the photos of the trip. the trees in the surroundings where in bloom.
i met this nice, generous lady while waiting in line for the bus that would take us to the section of the wall called Badaling, the most developed one.


but though the photo looks devoid of people, in reality there where many and sometimes caused situations like this, where someone innocently barged into the photo.

"Chifu, get out of the way, please."

then, to get a perfect photo of a couple that had t-shirts that when they stood next to each other created a full heart and completed the word love

i had to ask other people to hold from walking in front.


it's funny to see the interruptions of a good photo, though. the lady i accompanied became friends with two other ladies and we all hanged out together walking up and down the wall. at the end we took this group photo. it was fun visiting an important cultural and historical site with local Chinese, who were happy to share their landmarks with a foreigner.

8/12/10

queasy hydrating battery

today i felt queasy as i prepared to leave for yoga. i opted to go back to sleep for an hour, then got up and meditated 30 minutes. maybe i am not hydrating properly. i think we're experiencing record high temperatures here. i recharged the battery of the bycicle with electricity and recharged my battery with sleep. actually, i think the temperatures have been so high that the refrigerator in my apartment probably did not keep the soup i made on Sunday fresh. this soup usually lasts a week. so i may have eaten some yesterday past its expiry and now am experiencing bad digestion. (hi Kai!)

8/11/10

drink settled demand


on Sunday my tutor asked me if i would join her other students, my former colleagues, for a drink late on Wednesday. i don't usually go out at night in the middle of the week because it breaks my yoga routine. it was nice to see her and hear of her plans to go study in France for two years. earlier this year, i introduced her to one of my French former roommates who was in Shanghai for an internship. they became friends. he is back in Paris and is helping her find temporary housing before she gets settled in her university dorm. after our drink, it was difficult to find a taxi to get back home. when the metros close around 10:30pm in the city, the taxis are in great demand since it's the only remaining method of public transportation. i started walking back home and didn't find an available taxi until i had walked a mile away from the popular spot of Xintiandi, where we met for tea. arriving home near midnight, i was not able to wake up in time for yoga practice.

8/10/10

someone needs those

someone lives at the shala, so it's possible to get there at 6:15am and start practicing. i got there about that time today and was able to do my warmups and a full practice of primary. it feels "uhm uhm good." that's a cliche. why do i do warmups? because if i didn't do them there in the morning i would need to do them at home before or after class. the body just needs it. it's too jaring to just start with the asanas in the sequences. sorry. besides, teachers gave me those :)

yoga rally in Mexico City

psst! i hear Mexico City is going to have a massive yoga rally in the Zocalo, somewhat like the one that ocurred in Times Square recently. y'all that are in that side of the world do share pictures in the blogs, OK? Actually, I found it's in three days and here are some links: first and second. It's from 8:00am to 10:00am on Sunday the 20th and is expected to draw a lot of people, but the reports on the number of people expected to attend vary in the tens of thousands.

8/9/10

wash impeccably clean

i wash the dishes after i use them and don't leave them in the sink overnight. that may be because i've lived in many places and learned to do it, or because my mother taught me to do so, or because i remember the following story of my Aunt Annie. my cousin M. keeps her kitchen impeccably clean. she once told me that her mom, my aunt, told her that you always need to clean the dishes every day. that way, if you die that day, while your family is making the funeral preparations they don't have to wash your dishes. Titi Annie had a funny sense of logic for getting one to do things, but it worked. i might pass this tidbit of wisdom on to my flatmates. the maid comes on Mondays and Thursdays, so that is an excuse to leave things piling the day before. but i have to see the dirty dishes during my breakfast and lunch at home before the maid gets to clean them. they are sometimes forgotten on other days, as if the maid is magically going to appear. I am going to email this post to them.

8/8/10

electric flexy strong

i somewhat cut the path of another electric bike; i didn't know it was Bamboo Knight on it until he asked me as i arrived at the shala, "was that you?" oops. i practiced next to Purple Skiboat, who is also a Cobra Tamer and very flexy. i think i will come to standing from Urdva Danurasana soon. i can feel it. the electric bike is letting my legs relax and be strong for yoga. riding back to the office was an experience in the morning rush with vegetable stand sellers, bikes, motorbikes, cars, buses, pedestrians - all in the path.

8/7/10

practice back rocking

practice of half Primary and Intermediate to Laghu Vajrasana was nice today. i increasingly feel i could come up to standing from Urdva Danurasana and could drop back do the floor in the same. my Teacher might have a different opinion, though, since he sees my body from a different vantage point. it took 15 minutes to go by electric bike to the shala. that is what it used to take to go to the earlier location by pedaling alone. i practiced next to elegant Purple Skiboat. she's really rocking to come up to standing in UD. Ay Bendito; pobrecita. she'll probably be there shortly.

Longhua vegetarian bracelets

we went to Longhua Temple to pray. it's the biggest Buddhist temple in the city, and one with the most number of buildings remaining intact.

next to the temple is a famous vegetarian restaurant that I wrote about a year and a half ago. i just can't find the post. back then i never visited the restaurant despite being given a discount coupon. it seemed to serve too much food in buffet style. well, there where no surprises except for how fancy it was. you pay a lot for the meal and there is an incredible array of choices of foods - 15 types of drinks, 10 Japanese food choices, 15 types of salads, 30 Chinese vegetarian dishes including soups, stir fries, fake vegetarian frogs (I could not touch those), fake pork meat (i put it in my plate and did not touch it either.). There were 20 kinds of desserts and ice cream. did i enjoy it? yes, it impressed the heck out of me. but i still think it's too much food. my flatmate was treating me because of my birthday. i will invite her to Expo next week. (Edit: I found the post on the restaurant; I only posted pictures from their website.)

after lunch we bought pink bracelets and made an offering to Amitofo Buddha, as they call the Buddha here. the staff at the temple shops thought it was cute we were buying bracelets in the same color together - they probably thought we were a couple. we prayed we find love.

8/6/10

here is the new moped


here is the new moped. it was the cheapest in the giant Carrefours store. the sales guys wanted to dissuade me from buying it saying it was not fast enough and it was jumpy. since my Mandarin is good enough for basic negotiating but not beyond, they did not try to have a discussion on the fine points of why a more expensive one was better suited for me. so they let me have it without further argument. haha. what shall I call this bike? Randy? Delia? Stella? Any suggestions?
the ride home was scary at times, like hanging on to the breaks at the same time as the power. the things i do for yoga. this is so that i protect my thighs from overpedaling, now that the shala is further away from the apartment and the office. i bought three locks. my philosophy is that if they are going to steal it, they will have to work hard to have it. so now i must deal with more keys for everyday living than my grandmother used to have. those plastic deahlies are the devices for accessing internet banking.
today i'm accompanying my flatmate, a beautiful Chinese lady, to the largest Buddist temple here. she says that if one buys a hand bracelet in the color pink and makes an offering, one will attract a loved one. it can't hurt. i'll be ready for it. i may wear it only in my room, though. black, green and brown are more my color. haha.

8/5/10

good floor cooling.

today's was the first good practice in two weeks - a led class. it was in Chinese, so i learned terms such as inhale, exhale, left foot, right foot, etc. did i mention i like the floor a lot? it's a blonde wood with a nice feel for practice. i've been avoiding chakrasana and substituting for Marichyasana D in led classes. the weather is still hot, so after showering and dressing i was completely wet in my clothes. the taxi ride to the office served as time of evaporative cooling.

8/4/10

priced mopeds

i priced mopeds yesterday. today i went again by taxi to the shala, still not arriving early enough for a full practice. there was a new practitioner joining us, Sargent Float, a floater in vinyasas.

8/3/10

Wild flowers of Yunnan Province

These beautiful images of wildflowers were taken by colleagues of mine who travel to remote areas of Yunnan Province, where they are helping to rebuild pedestrian bridges that have been swept by natural forces. This is the website of the cause.

8/2/10

godmother trained head

i'm just not able to go to the shala this morning, having arrived near midnight to the apartment last night. it's been four weeks of intense work and i may have some respite in the later part of the week. last night i dreamed i went to visit my godmother in the hospital. in real life, she was my sister's godmother, but i adopted her as mine too. in life, she was stern, demanding and loving at the same time. she wanted the best for me so she used discipline wrapped in kindness to teach me the value of hard work. in the dream i brought her something, which she sneered at because she thought it was not good enough. i returned the next day with the similar thing and did not accept the repeat of her sneer. i gave my best, so what if she didn't think it was so, was my thought.

i enjoy reading the calorie restriction newsgroup posts, even the technical ones. i don't worry that i'm not trained scientifically. after years of reading them, they actually made sense. but since i'm in a creative mode recently, i thought i would throw together a soup of words culled from some of these posts. this is not supposed to make sense. just think of it as poetic. so here goes such a construct:

life extension is achieved when the nematode elegans comes to the rescue of the mytochondrial. dietary shift to calorie restriction decreases bacterial toxity. disruption of insulin signaling helps the bionergetic competence of the mytochondria, counteracting dysfunctions by modulating metabolic fluxes, biosynthesis and autophagy. it leads to lifespan optimization and celular-nuclear epistasis. it lets you lotus your feet and bind your arms in marichyasana D and put your legs behind the head daily.

8/1/10

busy Buddhist nun

we've been working 15 hours days including weekends. so i was late to the shala, late to work. i have to go by taxi to the new location until i can get a moped. getting a taxi was difficult at morning rush hour. getting late to work made me nervous. i pressed 5 wrong buttons on the cappucino machine before i got the milk correctly. Teacher gave me a modified sequence for a busy period. i shared an elevator ride with a Buddhist nun on the way down from the studio. i bowed for a blessing and received one.
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