Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Blogging Ennui: What I blog about when I have nothing to blog about

Hello Blogosphere,
                                I'm just writing to let you know that I am still alive and kicking, even though I haven't blogged much the last few days. I don't really know why, but I couldn't seem to get motivated enough to write much about anything. There is, of course, that NYT article about that ex-Ashtangi who claims that Ashtanga didn't do much to get her a tight ass. Ho hum.

And then there was that big hoo-ha about Lululemon's latest shenanigan (all that Ayn-Rand-who-is-John-Galt business). To be quite honest, I just don't get what the fuss is about: I've never had any illusions about what Lululemon is, i.e. a big corporation that tries to make a big buck (and does so very successfully, I have to say) under the guise of the "yoga lifestyle". So I really don't understand why everybody in the yoga world seems to be so up in arms about what Lulu is doing: Why is it so shocking to many folks that Lulu has chosen to blatantly trumpet its brazenly capitalistic outlook on its shopping bags? If anything, we may even commend Lululemon for being so honest, where other corporations try to disguise or draw attention away from their questionable practices by jumping on the free-trade-label bandwagon. Not that there's anything for Lulu to brag about being free-trade about (free-trade ambassadors? Hmm...) Anyway, excuse me for saying this, but I really think that anybody who thought any differently about Lulu's capitalistic motivations from the get-go (and are now scandalized by the whole John-Galt affair) is clearly being naive. Wow... how many people did I just offend?

Hmm... are my days as a blogger numbered? I mean, if this whole trend of not finding anything interesting worth blogging about is any indication, I may have to take a break from blogging soon.


But I guess I should stop ranting. Maybe I'll tell you a little about what I did over the Thanksgiving break. Well, I had a quiet and relatively uneventful time. I spent much of the time reading. Over the weekend, I read The End of the Beginning, by Harry Turtledove. Turtledove specializes in the sub-genre of science-fiction known as alternate history. Alternate history novels basically invite the reader to imagine a world in which a particular historical event had turned out differently (e.g what if Germany had won WWII, what if the Japanese had followed up the bombing of Pearl Harbor with a subsequent invasion of the Hawaiian islands).

The End of the Beginning is part of a series of two novels which is set in an alternate universe in which the Japanese followed up the bombing of Pearl Harbor with an invasion of Hawaii. After occupying Hawaii, they install a puppet King and Queen of Hawaii. There are a number of characters in Turtledove's story; some of them are actual historical figures, and some of them are totally fictional characters. Turtledove does a really good job of depicting the trials and tribulations of these characters as the war affects their lives. There is the Japanese commander who planned the whole attack and invasion, who carries on an affair with the Queen. There is a U.S. Army officer who becomes a POW, and who is forced to do hard labor under terrible conditions. And there is his ex-wife, who is forced into prostitution by the Japanese Army. All in all, Turtledove is a good storyteller, and this is a very absorbing read. Well, you may not find any of this very interesting, but I'm bit of an amateur history buff myself. 


I guess I should also say a little about my practice, since, well, this a yoga blog, after all. Nothing much to say here, except that I have basically resolved to really follow the "any sensation is too much sensation" rule when it comes to my left knee. I've decided that I really need to do this in order to give me the best chance of healing completely and quickly (well, "quickly" is a very relative term when it comes to knee injuries...).

And boy, is it hard to practice this way. There are so many padmasana variations in primary, that it is quite shocking how different one's practice becomes when one cuts out all these variations, even if only on the left side. I will even venture to say that this is even harder than, say, working on landing Karandavasana. At least in that case, you just do one pose, maybe fall, then move on. But working with injury... gosh, the injury permeates the entire practice, turning the practice into a totally different monster (did I just say "monster..."?). Sometimes, I get the feeling that more than half the primary series is designed to make fun of my present condition. Okay, I'm probably taking things too personally. But what has to be done has to be done, and what I need to do right now is to do everything I can to make the practice healing and not hurting. So it is.


  1. "I just don't get what the fuss is about: I've never had any illusions about what Lululemon is, i.e. a big corporation that tries to make a big buck (and does so very successfully, I have to say) under the guise of the "yoga lifestyle". So I really don't understand why everybody in the yoga world seems to be so up in arms about what Lulu is doing: Why is it so shocking to many folks that Lulu has chosen to blatantly trumpet its brazenly capitalistic outlook on its shopping bags?"

    THANK YOU! my feelings exactly! and when I said that on another yoga blog I was told: "i really disagree. lululemon still calls itself a “yoga-inspired” company. if you go to their website, the front page is full of people in yoga poses. their community ambassadors are local yoga teachers. in my city, lululemon organizes free public yoga events attended by 400+ people."

  2. I am totally with you on the left knee thing. It helps to focus on the poses that don't require the lotus, settle your ambitions upon improving the jumpthrough and solidifying pinca mayurasana or whatever. Of course now my shoulder hurts, so perhaps it is this ambition itself that is the problem. Someone wrote somewhere, I think it was yogarose about Richard Freeman's new book, that there comes a point where you have to find a different reason to practice than collecting asanas. But the ego, at least my ego, is having a hard time indeed missing the lotus in the primary series. Sometimes it does seem that the entire practice is mocking my injury. Good luck!

  3. I have some topics you could post on - what about those of us who feel like we could be cheating in yoga? How do you know when enough is enough, when you are striving enough, and when you are just going through the motions? And if you keep getting new poses without mastering the old ones, you feel like you're cheating, but to avoid that feeling, you strive for asana perfection, which isn't supposed to be ideal either (I know, you cannot really "master" a pose)
    And, if you practice in a mysore room, how do you avoid the jealousy that comes with others getting more poses more quickly than you are - I personally attribute it to the nagging feeling that I've been "cheating", but if I let go of that (as I know I should) I am unable to reconcile how others can progress more quickly. Maybe this is all an elaborate construction stemming from the Protestant Work Ethic?
    :) Some thoughts of yours on those would make a fantastic post, I think.

  4. Thanks for commenting, Linda. I've never been to the Lululemon website, although I'm really not surprised that the front page is full of people in yoga postures. But does that mean anything? If Sports Illustrated were to run a special yoga issue next week, full of models in yoga postures, and then claim itself to have become a yoga-inspired company, should we then start looking at Sports Illustrated as a publication dedicated to holistic yogic living, and overlook its capitalistic nature?

    Again, excuse me for saying this, but the fact that many people have come to see Lululemon as synonymous with yoga says more about these peoples' understanding of what yoga is about than about what Lulu really is: Lulu is a capitalistic machine through and through, and anybody who confuses it with anything else is either naive or seriously misguided. Do we have a responsibility to "educate" these people? Well, I don't know; I'm certainly not up to such a big responsibility :-)

    Hmm... it looks like I have more to say about this whole Lululemon business than I thought...

  5. Thanks for sharing, DeborahS. I think Freeman is definitely right that there comes a time when one needs to find some other reason to practice than collecting asanas. All I can say to this right now is that I'm not there yet: While I'm not exactly collecting asanas (not least because I'm in no position to do so, given the present state of my body...), I do have ambition.

    Like you, I'm also trying as much as possible to direct my attention to other things that can be worked on. Without quite intending to, I've found myself working more on my dropbacks and backbends in general. Hmm... maybe I can post on this in the near future. Maybe this will get me out of my blogging ennui...

  6. Thanks for the topic suggestions, Anonymous. They are very interesting. I especially like the one about the Protestant Work Ethic. I will keep this in mind. Thanks!

  7. Ohhh. I should so check out his books then. THanks!

  8. You're welcome, yoginicory. I hope you enjoy his work as much as I do :-)