Archive for May, 2007

The sweet smell of marshmallows

Monday, May 21st, 2007

Hudson Mills Metropark just north of Dexter is full of Russian Olives. They are prolific on the disc golf course and I have a love/hate relationship with them.

On occasion, my disc ends up behind a Russian Olive. These big unwieldy bushes are just hard to throw around or over. The are especially my nemesis on the 600+ foot hole where they just seem to attract my discs.

On the other hand, the blooms of the Russian Olives are so sweet smelling. The whole course smells like marshmallows and it’s just a pleasure to be around that aroma.


Friday, May 18th, 2007

The Triennial National Iyengar Yoga Convention was held in one of the most non-yogaesque places in the country, Las Vegas, the first weekend of May. Almost 900 yogis and yoginis attended the general convention at Alexis Park Resort and Villas, a mile east of the Vegas strip. The theme of the convention was The Journey: From Body to Bliss.
The first couple of days I had a very difficult time understanding Geeta. With her accent and the speed in which she spoke, I caught very little of her message. It was pretty frustrating because my expectation was to go deeper into my practice and, perhaps, have a yoga breakthrough. That didn’t happen but I did pick up a few tidbits. Her main theme, that I picked up in a nutshell, was to take care of yourself.

Geeta encouraged us to practice our poses as they were meant to be practiced. That means no cheating, because cheating only hurts oneself. It also means to practice appropriately for our bodies. When injured or limited, work to the ability of the body without violence. Ask ‘how can I do this pose?’ or ‘what pose can I do instead’ if you’re limited or injured … rather than saying ‘I can’t do’.
She also talked about avoiding “pollution” by feeding a body a health diet, not disturbing the quiet that comes at the end of a practice, and closing your eyes to the pollution of the Las Vegas strip … which was her only comment about our venue (at least the only comment I caught).

For me, the quiet that comes with a yoga practice is my current bliss. This method of yoga is based on working from the external body through the layers or sheaths to the inner soul; from body to bliss. The quiet that comes is such a relief from the constant external stimulation of the day. It provides a means to reflect, connect, and figure things out that are otherwise jumbled in the mix of the day’s responsibilities.

One of the things I looked forward to was the opening ohm. At the beginning of each session, Geeta led us (in call and response) in three ohms. That first ohm with 900 voices was powerful and, for me, emotional. There’s something about a united voice with people who are all on the same page that touches something inside of me.

There were things that I didn’t get like about the convention. One was the chanting. We chanted every day, either the sutras of Patanjali or the 108 names of Patanjali, and after about 10 minutes of that, I had had enough. The chanting must have penetrated to a deeper level because when I got home and finally dropped into bed I could hear Geeta’s voice chanting the sutras in my head.

I’m glad I attended the convention. And I suspect more things penetrated than I’m conscious of and perhaps they will surface as time goes on.


A Lost Life

Friday, May 18th, 2007

Bobby Dixon served in Iraq for only three months before his life was taken by an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) this month. My partner, Daniel, and his daughter, Anathea, were close to Bobby and deeply mourn his loss.

The service this week was painful, sad, and aggravating. Even though Bobby was personally unknown to me, I felt a sense of loss and the senselessness of war.

Over 3,400 of Americans have lost their lives during the last four years we’ve occupied Iraq and over 25,000 have been wounded. All of the troops, wounded or not, will be profoundly (and negatively) changed by this experience. I think I’m a  pretty typical American and I don’t buy the reason we’re there … and I don’t see a way out. Over time the situation in Iraq hasn’t gotten any better. To me, what’s worse is the seemingly unplanned way this effort has been executed. The old quality improvement saying “If you haven’t got a plan, you have a plan for failure” seems to apply.

And young people like Bobby take the brunt of the mistakes those in power make.