my brevity in posts is explained in that this is a seven day work week and that i am getting over a cold. i cannot get used to the idea of seven continuous days of work, created so that people have three continuous days of holidays afterwards. i usually end up working overtime so that i have the seventh day off, or take a holiday. most expats feel the same way. that is the Peace Hotel on the left designed by the same architects as my building.
thanks for reading. i barely have time to read other fellow blogger's blogs. not sure why i have a cold. calorie restriction diminishes the incidence of colds. i just finished one three weeks ago. the weather has been warm during the day and cold at night. looking forward to time off this weekend. the founder of FB is on holiday in Shanghai.
it's the type of temperature that inspires this house-holder cave yogi's practice. still using area heaters in the space, but the temperature is comfortable. there is a three day holiday this weekend, Qing Ming, tomb sweeping holiday. i was going to Chengdu, but friends postponed their trip. i paid for cancelling the airline ticket. the time will go to doing pleasant things in my apartment and start on taxes. and i can catch up with friends i have missed seeing in a while.
i did a chair-assisted urdva danurasana, upward bow today. it opened up the spine. meat has been creeping into my food lately. i don't add it to my food. but when the food is cooked by others, it creeps in small doses. unusual after so many years vegetarian. yesterday i got a sniffle. yoga will burn the congestion away.
i write about calorie restriction, but i'm able to stay within my calorie allotment and still enjoy cookies. dinner can be some cookies and soy milk. i have few readers in Shanghai, but here is something about cookies baked in Shanghai by a lady who recently graduated from Harvard and missed cookies from back in the US so she concocted her own business. her name is Lexie and i found out in her website that her cookies, called Strictly Cookies, where available at the Avocado Lady's stand on Wulumuqi Road. i picked up some oatmeal raisin ones there today after breakfast. yumm. here is the company's website. funny small expat world - i mentioned to J & N about these cookies. the night before, J had met the owner selling samples at DADA, a market that happens monthly for creative types to present their products in the city.
when i mused about why Avatar appealed to yogis i had just started watching the film. now i finished watching it. yogis might relate to the characters in the film. outsiders, humans, meet other beings in another planet, the Na'vis. the Na'vis where connected to forest life, moved deftly above tree branches, flyed perched on birds. they were courageous, connected to their ancestors through the belief that trees contained the link to their predecessors. the outsider humans wanted to mine underneath their forest, but it would have destroyed the trees. scientists with genetically engineered bodies, avatars, learned the Na'vis ways and realized how wise they were. they choose their way of living. how might this relate to yoga? being yogic involves honoring ancient wisdom, respecting nature, keeping the body lithe, moving gracefully. yoga practitioners are like avatars who become transformed by the experience. photo credit.
yesterday i attended a three hour meeting in Chinese and understood practically all. the previous day i experienced a two hour one, mostly in Chinese also. colleagues think i understand more than i do. i ask for translation of key words once in a while and get the drift of the conversation. an improvement would be my participation in Chinese. i do so only in part, for lack of vocabulary. the weather is getting warmer, which helps yoga. i started watching Avatar and i'm trying to remember how the film relates to yoga. why did it inspire ashtangis? are our yogi selves our avatars, because we would like our bodies to attain body positions that currently are unattainable? i don't know. did Nobel write about that? photo credit.
my writing has been like a monologue lately and have not had time to catch up on the yogi blogs. so to all of you out there, "atta boy", "atta girl". i'm on the supine sequence of vinyasa krama, with a lot of upward bow poses.
need to find time to post my travel pictures. late at night, it's more relaxing to watch Kung Fu Panda than processing pictures. at times of high productivity, practicing yoga becomes more important. i'm going to work towards coming to standing from urdva danurasana, bow pose, with my limited practice. i can do it. i love China; it feels safe.
back to practice. yoga is part of my spiritual practice. on days i cannot do asana movement, i sit zazen only. we're working a lot of overtime and my Chinese homework is becoming quite challenging, requiring the use of optical character recognition software, to help me read the exercises and respond. a statue at V's house.
yesterday i attended a lecture by Japanese architect Tadao Ando. i had heard him speak before at the University of California Berkeley.
the venue was held at the Mercedes Benz Arena at the Expo site. my friend, architectural photographer Peter Dixie invited me.
we estimated there were maybe 10,000 people in attendance. i had never seen such a big crowd to attend an architecture lecture. there can be 5000 to a conference of architects, but this was a general public lecture.
Ando talked about how cities develop, their challenges and opportunities. he presented the main themes of his architecture, such as reestablishing natural vegetation where it's been lost, designing buildings so they relate to nature, the importance of natural light within buildings. he mentioned his admiration for artists, for their vision and creativity. he presented four projects that are in design and construction in China.
this museum in Sanya is particularly unusual in that it is to be built on land reclaimed from the ocean, a structural feat.
at the conclusion of his one hour lecture, the period typically given to questions and answers from the public was turned into a chat on couches with a few celebrities, among them Yao Ming.
i started the practice with some soreness in the upper back, probably from my increased practice of urdvha danurasana, upward bow pose, this week. as i practiced the soreness went away. upward bow is making me aware to keep good posture during the day. if i slouch i will experience pain. a deep forward bend feels great after upward bow. i have added hanumanasana daily also; it seems to be a good leg stretch for dancing. my practices have been strong this week despite only being an hour long. zany.
drop back practice, dangling the arms backwards, and upward bow stretches the front of the body. sitting on a computer at work for 12 hours compresses the front of the body. opposing this action with chest openings is a good balance. all the dancing i'm doing lately is giving me thunder thighs. i plan to go to an architecture lecture with Japanese architect Tadao Ando. the venue is in the huge arena created for Expo. i've heard Ando speak at the University of California in Berkeley before. The first time, it was nearly impossible to find a seat; the second time we were turned away for lack of seats. Here in Shanghai we are paying for tickets as if it was a superstar entertainer - and the venue was sold out early. It must be amusing to the architect to draw such attention. I think he will be talking about a museum he's designing in an island created in the ocean floor for the purpose of the building. below is a picture of the Ion Orchard in Singapore. i could not find an image of the design for the museum on the water.
starting on the supine sequence of vinyasa krama. the weather is getting warmer. my Chinese pronounciation is getting clearer. maybe it's because i'm watching the news and other programs on TV in the language. happy as a june bug in spring.
i had not included urdva danurasana, bow pose, in my closing sequence in a while. now i'm reminded of how important this pose is for the health of the spine and plan to practice it daily again. daily yoga for me now means tuesdays through saturdays. sundays i study Chinese intensely, and monday mornings i crash from a lot of dancing. when i practiced ashtanga intensely, i crashed monday mornings from soreness. it's not that different now.
my blog posts about my daily life and yoga practice resemble tweets. i have not had time to post pictures of my trips. now i'm dating, and that requires setting aside time. my friend Peter says i should pick a day a week in which i'm going to spend blogging. for me that would mean Friday evenings, since it's the only time i'm not working/studying/dating. except my brain is a little fried then and i prefer to watch a movie. the weird thing is that a lot of people are reading my blog, between 90 and 136 people daily.
yesterday we returned to the tailor shops. my Chinese style shirt needed adjustment in the collar, so i have not used it yet. we varied the design from the traditional collar by opening it up wider than normal. the look is sort of like this one, except with a 3/4" gap opening at the shirt. my Chinese level is sufficiently high that i did all of the negotiations for my colleague.
i worked on vinyasa krama's tree poses and their vinyasas today. i was walking back home from lunch and saw a photographer with a still camera that is used by professionals for architectural photography. i started talking to her because my architectural photographer friend Peter Dixie uses a similar camera. it turned out to be an artist and landscape photographer, professor at Princeton, Yale, who also teaches at the China College of Fine Arts. Her name is Lois Conner. wow. life in China is really interesting.
it's good to smell the air of yoga again. haha. i'm on seated poses followed by "on one leg" asanas right now. i used to have more time for blogging. on TV i saw a stand up comedy in Chinese by four foreigners with perfect diction. that was a laugh.
meditated today and yesterday. not able to do yoga today but plan to do so tomorrow. have to go early to the office to do my Chinese homework, which i could not do last night because of meeting with the financial planner.
my weekends feel as if they're going too fast. my financial planner is concluding his presentations this week. it's been distracting obtaining information from many sources back in the States. one annuity i bought 30 years ago had my date of birth at three years later than my actual year. i don't know how to operate the Chinese fax machine to send the company a correction. hehaw. i had to arm wrestle my planner to tell him i was not abandoning a plan set up three years ago, which carries a very big penalty if i abandon, about 30k. he says the service fees in the plan are high. his numbers indicate i would make more by investing in other things even after giving that money away. numbers are cold and rational.
practice has been testy this week. today i did leg behind the head poses. these work the front of the trunk, around the abdominal muscles and relieves the pain in the same area of the trunk in the lower back. so my lower back pain is relieved. a colleague gave me this amazingly packaged box of oolong tea.
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).