I need to retrieve my Manduka from the shala. Maybe I'll go after my practice on Sunday to do so. I don't think I will practice at the shala in December. I'm traveling two weeks this month and my body needs to heal from two injuries. Today I'm researching Urdvha Kukutasana A at home. It's good to be doing inversions again.
My friend TangLiang and his wife, XuYe, both architects, recently spent two months bicycling from Chengdu, Sichuan to Llasa, Tibet. I refered to Tangliang as "The Olympian" in my blog, because of the daily trek he made between his home and work by bycicle of 50miles or 80km. He and his wife shared several albums of photos with me and I am preparing to post them. They spent two hours over lunch recently answering questions I had about their trip, so I plan to present their pictures accompanied by their story. A first set of pictures they shared is from parks located about eight hours by bus from Chengdu.
This is Jiou Zhai Gou park, noted for waters of deep turquoise. You can read more about the park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, here.
This picture is of Huan Long, or Yellow Dragon Park, also a natural world heritage site. It is located a distance of two hours by bus from Jiou Zhai Gou Park. It is characterized by unique travertine rimstone pools. You can read more about it here
A next set of pictures is about Tibetan customs. Sometimes along the way, TL and XY would meet pious Tibetans who commit to walking from their villages to reach Da Zhao Si, or Jokhang Temple in Llasa.
They prostrate themselves every step along the way. The journey can take many years to complete. People assist them along the way with food. Because of the length of time it takes to complete the journey, they camp often. Sometimes it's individuals traveling, other times it is entire families.
This man is showing a stone that was passed by generations of his family to him. It is called 擦擦, or "wipe", a Tibetan word transliterated from Sanskrit, meaning to "copy" a molded clay Buddha. The stones are relics that carry significance back in history to when Bodhidharma brought Buddhism to China. They are rare. TL says that you could offer a small fortune to this man for his stones and not be able to purchase it, because his mother gave it to him; she received it from her grandmother, who received it from her grandparents, and so on...
Stuppas where people ring the bells constantly in Llasa.
The destination of the devotees is this temple, Da Zhao Si, or Jokhang Temple, a very large complex.
Once reaching there, they continue with more prostration practices.
These are painting of the Buddha, at the base of the Potara Palace, which is seen beyond in the upper part of the photo.
View of the Potara Palace from a stuppa. The climb to the palace is up steep stairs.
I looked forward to my morning practice today. I researched Bhairavasana. If I'm going to take pictures of my practice, I have to organize my room more. For that I need a lot of little white boxes from Ikea to put my "cachibaches" into and out of sight. So no photos of my practice for a while.
As my first teacher used to say, sometimes people go to Mysore and study yoga intensely and their bodies are able to do everything in the various series. The experience allows them to advance quickly. Some of us are householders and job holders and can't take that route. Advanced yoga practitioners don't do primary every day. During their week they do intermediate one day, third series another, primary the next, and so forth. During their week they experience a lot of different asanas. A long time practitioner should be able to do the same, despite not having perfected any series, or at least attempt to do so with substitutions. It seems healthier to the bone and muscle structure to give the body a variety of poses during the week, not the same ones over and over until you're sort of "broken in". That "broken in" could result in actually getting broken, in my opinion.
At 7:00am I reminded myself I would need to get ready to go to the shala around 7:30am. At 7:30am I told myself to get ready. At 7:40 I changed in to my outdoor weather clothes while asking myself, why am I going? I'm going to do Primary. Where is the joy? Hmm, there is suffering. I pull out the Matthew Sweeney Vinyasa Krama. The moon sequence looks like fun to do. I look at his book on Ashtanga. I ask myself, why not attempt Third series poses, the way I do it, in it's hideous imperfection? That sounds like fun. That is the mental chatter going on. The time passing means that now I need to practice at home, because going to the shala now means there might not be space. I changed into my practice pants and practiced at home.
Didn't David Swenson say the only reason to do yoga is to have fun? If you are not enjoying it you should not be doing it. Between Sweeney's book and Arjuna's website for the count, I did Third series stuff. I think I'm doing an age-appropriate practice, one non-harming to myself.
By vasisthasana my energy was rising. The pain in the lower left back was a memory. My Kasyapasana looked more like a one leg dead bug pose with substitution. But hey. The image of dead bug pose is from this site.
My colleague Le Lu recently visited the district of Qingpu, a suburb of Shanghai. Qingpu is the district where the waterside historic site of Zhujiajiao is located. During her visit, she went to see the Qingpu New Town Plaza, an assembly of lakes, TV tower, avenues, and sports ground surrounding a numbera number of cultural, office and commercial buildings. They are examples of new architecture by young Chinese architects. The first three photographs are from this site.
The Exhibition Center for the new city is by Jiakun Architects Studio.
The remainder of the photographs are by Le Lu, who was accompanied by my former colleague Wang Yan.
The Exhibition Center buildings conform to topography
Glass facade with colored class accents.
Detail of paving.
The buildings are sited next to a lake.
Through the use of progressive layers of landscape design, a good urban public space creates open relationship between the buildings and reflect that the government buildings are open to the public.
Materials used include black stone, concrete, glass. The facade has stone louvers.
Wang Yan. When I met her, I could not pronounce Chinese names, so I would call her Guanyin, the name of the Chinese Buddha, a name that would stick in my mind. She thought that was funny.
Interesting stone pattern.
Workers look like Spidermen.
An office building with an interesting transluscent treatment.
Plan of the building
View from the parking area.
Glass railings reflected on paving.
The pattern on a glass door.
The shape and materials are interesting. However they did not treat the lightning rods in the roof properly, leading to rust streaming down the facade.
Hip curtain wall.
The color, density, materials, space and other elements of the new town evoque the "water village" atmosphere.
Bridge combining new materials with ancient patterns.
I'm an architect, originally from Puerto Rico, living and working in Shanghai, China. I practice ashtanga yoga and Buddhist meditation. I also observe calorie restriction while seeking optimal nutrition (CRON).