today observing sky

today i started on the asymmetric sequence of vinyasa krama. that means i will be doing poses on only one side of the body, a few subsequent days at a time.

i'm observing that here it's not unusual to buy Italian herbs seasoning given a Japanese name, made in China by an Austrian company. nor is it unusual to buy French style bread and British "Queen's bread" made in China by a a Japanese firm.

this is what the inside of a historical house in a Chinese village looks like before it's occupied. there's a center courtyard open to the sky.


Las Meninas Wong

this picture reminds me of the painting Las Meninas, by Velazquez. i completed the Tadasana sequence of vinyasa krama. next in the yoga agenda are the asymmetric seated sequence poses.  there was a blurb about yoga teacher Duncan Wong being in town. it was announced the day of the event. there was more than telepathy used to inform the public.


yin yoga trycicle

yoga practice has been yin lately. my routine is - get up, drink coffee, shower, read a little, do yoga, have breakfast, take the metro, work, come back at night, go to sleep. rinse, repeat. handstands are helpful when my practice is impacted. it compacts the benefits in yoga in a few simple movements. there has been no time to read blogs. i have added more google plus people to my circles, but in a place where internet is slow, that does not mean that my stream has become a river. it's still all a trickle. the pictures are of boxes on top of a carry-all tricycle. it's amazing what they manage to load up on motorcycles and tricycles here. i wish i my camera when i saw two men handling two tricycles full of empty water bottles stacked as high as these boxes.


cuteness in disaster

finding cuteness in disaster

the caption of this picture says, "bring it on, Irene, Chaco is ready for you." source.


tadasana decal inflation

i continued with the tadasana sequence of vinyasa krama. it's a long sequence. the kurmasana variations are difficult for those of us westerners who can't squat with feet fully on the floor. we lose balance there.

the landlord supplied my room with a dresser that must have been used by a teenager. he plastered it with decals. some are recognizable brands, such as "adidas." some not recognizable, such as "bathing ape". the "apple" one gets respect. every yoga practice i remove one decal at a time. i'm shedding samsaras along with the decals.

there is inflation going on in my alley's convenience store, one popsicle at a time. three weeks ago, a pineapple popsicle cost 1 rmb. two weeks ago, a banana popsicle cost 1.5 rmb. yesterday, a pineapple yogurt popsicle cost 2 rmb. is the owner raising the price each week because of her own rising costs? is she forgetting what she charged me last week? is she trying to see how high a price i am willing to pay? similar popsicles cost about 2.5 rmb in the corner convenience store, part of a big chain. they have more overhead.


alumni circulate excuse

last night i went to another alumni function. this one sought to gather graduates from different universities in the State of Pennsylvania - U Penn, Penn State, Carnegie Mellon and others. i thought there would not be many people, but there was a big turnout. it was like speed-dating. i have never speed-dated, but exchanging mingpians and chit chatting about our respective professions and schools felt that way. last week's group had a lot of lawyers. this group had a lot of architects, and insurance and financial sector people. some were charming. some help companies go public, others help investors buy share in those companies, and yet others look at the same companies from a management perspective. i have a business degree, so i can hold a conversation for 5 minutes on those subjects.

at one point i felt snubbed by someone. i wanted to leave. why did this person become haughty all of a sudden? did she pick up bad habits in the seven years she spent in the US? does the type of work make her feel superior? did i belong to a different social group? was i old? having been taught in college to circulate, circulate, i did change chairs dance and approached another group. fortune 500 companies where represented. i would be name dropping if i mentioned which. is fortune 500 a term used these days anyway? among the new people i approached was an engineer exactly my age who has a PhD in materials science. his conversation was fascinating and ranging in many topics. the whole development of China in the last 30 years felt compressed in our conversation. i talked so much and so late that i had to excuse myself because i was losing my voice.


vinyasa bringing dawdle

today i had a good practice of tadasana in vinyasa krama, with lots of squats. it was hard to keep the feet flat on the floor while squatting. my mind was quiet. i have lost 2 kilos, or about 6 lbs, bringing me closer to the weight i was at when i arrived in China. it's a comfortable weight. keeping track daily of what i eat with cronometer has helped, as well as the super long work hours. i hardly have time to dawdle.


cues turn interesting

my flatmates have style. their individual rooms and the apartment are looking sprikitin. they liked my room, so maybe they took some cues from me (cough). during practice this morning i became fuzzy, interrupting my practice to organize and move things around, paying attention to color mismatches. i had covers made to turn luggage into night tables. i put insulation on a window and covered another with a dark material to block light when the flatmates are entertaining late. i did these things in my mind. that is what is interesting about meditation. before i knew it, my practice time ended and so did the time to write this.


squats allowed condolence

i continued with tadasana sequence today, throwing in squats, titibasanas, and drop back practice. it was easy to do urdva danurasna after doing so many baby dropbacks. i'm reflecting on how Kino MacGregor will be in China shortly. i can't announce it in a blog because it's not allowed to use this medium to gather groups, regardless of the purpose. i guess people in the know - yoga students - will know. i hope she understands. i used the online translator to tell Daisy that we need to date other people. we did not enjoy each other's company last time. dating translated to setting other calendar dates for when the mutual feelings can be better. that was not the intent. my teacher helped me write a proper note, which i'm calling in spanish "carta de pesame". condolence is  not the right choice of word, but it's the one that comes to mind. a love died. my assignment on saturday is to pass the pesame. another love will soon be born.


tadasana mid beer

Tadasana practice today. i may be visiting Qingdao for mid autumn festival around September 12. i worked on a project in that city before but have never visited it. have you heard of Qingdao beer, or better, enjoyed some?


August, by Mary Oliver


When the blackberies hang
swollen in the woods, in the brambles
nobody own, I spend

all day among the high
branches, reaching
my ripped arms, thinking

of nothing, cramming
the black honey of summer
into my mouth; all day my body

accepts what it is; In the dark
creeks that run by there is
this thick paw of my life darting among

the black bells, the leaves; there is
this happy tongue.

~ Mary Oliver

Thanks to Albert Kaba for posting that.

perpective cohesive, really

like the perspective in the picture, things look a little different lately. when i can't do asana movement, i do meditation. it's always one or the other. my household is cohesive now, with hip people who want to entertain. the light fixtures are being changed so we have dimmable lights, appropriate for entertainment. plans are in place for large dinner parties. what's a yogi to do? i have to tune it out somehow when i need quiet, and engage in it when i need to be social. tuning out means i have to learn to sleep when there is a dinner party going on.

socializing outside the house is confusing at times. it seems that unless a couple is engaged, they don't refer to each other as girlfriend and boyfriend. it leaves the playing field open. K., for example, has one boyfriend to dance with on Saturdays, and a different one Sundays. N. wants to date me. when i asked about her current beau, she said he was her dance partner. people seem to have very good  friends, but no boyfriend or girlfriend, unless it's really serious. several who are married admit to it. they leave their spouses behind and come to only dance (cough). i'm not touching that.


tadasana alumni contracts

worked on a Tadasana poses and handstanding this morning. my practice is not what it used to be. grumble, grumble. i also have limited time to process and post pictures. i used the utility to scale down pictures automatically with photoshop, but at first try the results were tiny pictures, so they are not ready to be posted. went to an alumni event last friday evening at a hotel. there were about three architects, two people working in development, some engineers, and a huge group of lawyers. what does this distribution of professions say? that there is a lot of projects to  be developed here, the planners and designers are needed, and a lot of lawyers are needed to handle the contract negotiations for international commerce.


meditation now opened

i practiced meditation a little bit today, hoping to resume my yoga tomorrow. my new flatmate is a charming CostaRican of Jewish grandparents. i received an email, which i cannot find right now to provide the details, that the first fully authorized Bikram's studio opened in Shanghai. more yoga is good. in my opinion Bikram will have a hard time enforcing his copyright. hot yoga had already made it to these parts. and things are (cough) imitated here.


working today fast

working again on the Tadasana sequence of VK. today i give a presentation on historical and contemporary architecture in Japan, with my fast computer.


station inconvenience call

i woke up at 3:45am and reached Hongqiao train station by 5:45am for a 6:30am train departure to a ground breaking ceremony. while engaged in a little inconvenience i received a call that there where change of plans and we did not need to travel today. my colleague advised me to return home and rest and return at midday to the office. used to waking up for yoga, my mind was sharp, unlike this unfocused picture i took of the station. i picked up a soy latte and scone at Starbucks, absorbed the calories, went home, slept an hour and a half, woke up, caught up on blogs and meditated. doing yoga asana would not have felt right after a lot of going to and from. i'm ready for the day once again.


relationships lifetime bee

i had a friend who said that the length of relationships sounded longer when measured in dog years. so a relationship of four human years would be a third of a lifetime in dog years. my previous relationship was that long. my most recent one would be too short to count in dog years. so i researched and arrived at the conclusion that since worker bees live about four to six months, my most recent relationship, measured in worker bee years lasted a lifetime. 不错- not bad. OK that's about as much as i'll rattle on the subject. now i'll return to my short tweet-like posts about my practice or difficulties with it. which, speaking of difficulties, this week i am working super late and going to many meetings, so practicing is challenging. i've been fantasising about going on a yoga holiday for the October break. i checked out ashtanga.com. Tim Miller is doing a weeklong in Tuscany the same dates as the October break. It would be nice if there was something a bit closer, such as in Thailand.


happy seat gaffe

i'm getting  back into yoga slowly. in our conversations yesterday, D. said, "i don't know if there will be a seat on a train back to my city. i will let text you the results and tell you if i have to stay another day." later i received a text, "bought a train ticket; departing this afternoon at 5:00".

wanting to say, as in english, that i was glad D. was able to obtain a ticket, i said in chinese, "我很高兴你买票", which translated to, "i'm very happy (elated, jumping up and down happy) you bought a ticket." D. replied: "don't you have any feelings?". oops, i excused myself for the poor translation from english to chinese, which implied i was happy to be relieved of my guest. i explained i was happy D. found a seat. "there is no seat available, it's a standing only ticket." there was  no wining on this conversation so i did not reply back. since i had myself previously gone on the same trip the same way, without a seat, i knew it would be an uncomfortable 12 hours. I should have said, "我很高兴你到了票" (I'm glad you  found a ticket.)

my first reply in chinese spoke my true feelings. but if i had stronger language skills, i would have softened the words to say something in chinese such as, "that's good, have a good trip." my foot in the mouth belied my true feelings since i had a difficult weekend. i was able to laugh later at my language gaffe.


spend nothing there

i was traveling over the weekend and unable to blog or practice yoga. i resume my normal week schedule this morning. after making plans to spend the weekend in Nanjing with my date, i went. after  sightseeing a day and a half, my date said there was nothing fun to do there and asked that we go to Shanghai. as an architect, absorbing a new place is interesting enough so i wanted to stay. i had asked for time off from work to go there. my protests went nowhere.  under the stress of changing hotel reservations and train tickets, we traveled back. it's time to date other people.


this fast reporting

continued with Tadasana poses this morning. i learned there is a function in photoshop with which i could process my photos in batches, reducing them in size in large quantities. that might speed up my posts on the places to which i traveled recently. it might give me a reason to travel more, so i can get more pictures. kidding. tomorrow i'm going to Nanjing, only two hours away by fast train. it's a former capital city, with a lot of history. Daisy will meet me there and we'll find places for dancing. Kino MacGregor will be teaching in Beijing in a month. i'm reporting that; i do not know if i can go.


tadasana ongoings happening

i continued with the Tadasana standing sequence of VK today. i'm sorry for the ongoings in London. i understand better what is going on from FB posts than from the media. the media says, "awful things are happening" while the social media tries to understand why.


tadasana buy river

today i started at the beginning of the VK book once again. doing the Tadasana sequence reminds me that one can feel the prana energy flowing the moment one starts extending the arms. this sequence relaxes the shoulders a lot. i did not practice yesterday because i needed to go to a ticket vending office. the previous night i had gone to buy a round trip train ticket for my trip to Nanjing this weekend. i could not buy the return portion then, so i went to a ticket office again in the morning to buy the return portion. here tickets begin selling seven days before departure. i could not understand why on Sunday i could not buy a ticket for the following Sunday. my Chinese friends are surprised at my urgency in buying tickets, but it's because of my American mentality of planning ahead. the Chinese trust the efficiency and frequency of their public transportation and often wait until the day of departure to buy train tickets. i'm not used to that. it's about how you look at things. in the picture above, it would seem like any old village. but when you look at the image below, you realize, with greater perspective view, that there is a river running in front of the houses, and crossing a bridge is necessary to get to the houses on the right.


astavakrasana crushing typhoon

i completed the VK book, finishing with the flying bird pose, then going to closing sequence. i rolled over while attempting astavakrasana from a three point head stand, crushing the laundry basket. oops. the typhoon that was expected seems to have bypassed the city. we have gusts of wind and a little sporadic rain. the trees look like gentle giants bowing and swaying in the wind. a new flatmate in the apartment is a beautiful girl from Costa Rica, a writer and poet. i once again have the opportunity to converse in Spanish while living in Shanghai.


meditated on typhoon

i meditated on the cushion today. it felt statuesque. there's a typhoon passing by Shanghai today. the brunt of it is supposed to start around 9:00pm. i'll say hello to it for you. last night in the metro ride home i struck up a conversation with a man with a PhD who has started up 30 companies and is distributing prefabricated homes worldwide that include green, sustainable concepts. i should say he struck up a conversation with me when he saw me studying Chinese characters with my Tuttle flashcards by Phillip Yungkin Lee.


jumping path analyzing

i practiced more of the jumping and pumping poses in vinyasa krama, most of them in ashtanga. something i while reading the sites of other google plus members is bothering me. do i go down the path

of analyzing it in detail,

putting all the ducks in a row,

or do i treat it broadly, like a big canvas?

people are impersonating famous people in google plus.  it's like satire.


short poses environment

my practice was short this morning - standing poses and closing poses only. i have no one to blame but myself. i got distracted by the new dynamic environment that google + opens up and lost track of time.


jumping poses practice

today i got to the section of Vinyasa Krama that explores pumping and jumping transitions. so it made me explore a series of poses that made my practice look like ashtanga improv. i sweated a lot in my tented yoga space. there's a lot of jumping in my life outside of practice too.

cronometer on iPad

now that we can access Cronometer on the internet, i can access it on the iPad and keep track of my nutrition, weight and exercise. i have a renewed enthusiasm for CRON.


crazy like Pluto

with the hours as crazy as they have been, the only thing that felt reasonable to do was to meditate this morning. i remembered during the meditation about a personal project i once wanted to do and realized how a medium like a Tumbler blog might be the way to achieve it. still, it was just a series of mental constructs during a meditation. you can fly to Pluto and back during a meditation.
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