I don't know what all of you moon-day-observing Ashtangis out there do with the extra couple of hours that you supposedly gain on a moon day; hours that would have been spent on the mat on a non-moon-day. For me, the answer is: Absolutely nothing. I often have fantasies of getting a couple hours' more work done on moon days, but somehow, the fantasy never materializes: I wake up at pretty much the same early hour (I figure there's plenty of time to sleep more when I'm dead), do pretty much the same things, minus the practice (sometimes, like this morning, I sneak in a few Suryas anyway, because I just can't bear the thought of going through the day with a stiff body unlubricated by the practice; yes, I often think of the practice as a lube-job for the body and (hopefully) the mind... Guruji: "Body not stiff, mind stiff."). The really bizarre thing is that when midday rolls around (like right now), I find that I haven't really accomplished much more than I would have accomplished on a regular practice day. Bizarre.
Actually, come to think of it, there is one thing that I do more on moon days than on regular practice days: I seem to read more blog posts and articles online. Ha! Maybe that's where the extra couple of hours goes to... Mystery solved. This morning, I read this article by Thad Haas on Elephant Journal. Haas laments that in the get-rich-and-get-famous-quick D.I.Y. culture that characterizes so much of the contemporary American yoga scene, we see "the rampant proliferation of brand new self-stylized breeds of yoga... on an almost weekly basis." The result is that everybody wants to be the next yoga sensation/rock-star/guru, and humility and respect for tradition is quickly thrown out the window.
I think that Haas's article is very insightful. I am in much agreement with his view. I highly recommend you read the article, especially the thoughtful conversations that follow in the comments thread. But I am in a light mood today, and am not in a state of mind to discuss such weighty matters at any length. So, if you don't mind, and at the risk of trivializing what is a very serious issue, I would like to take this post in a slightly more tongue-in-cheek direction (Hmm.... I am the only person I know who prefaces his own jokes; I wonder what that says about me?).
Earlier today, I was walking around my neighborhood, and walked past this nice bistro that serves American cuisine (steaks, fish and chips, etc.). I almost never eat there, because almost nothing on the menu is vegetarian-friendly. As I walked past the bistro this morning, I saw that they had put up a sign on the sidewalk advertising today's lunch special: Fish & Chips for $8.50. Would have been great value for money if I actually eat fish, I thought to myself. Actually, truth be told, fish & chips used to be one of my favorite dishes back when I ate meat and seafood, and seeing the sign actually brought up a momentary visceral craving for the texture and taste of beer-battered fish... yum! But I kept walking, and the visceral sensation soon passed.
But this also got me thinking: If fish & chips is such a big thing here, and yoga is not (as I related in this post, yoga studios in this part of the country seem to have a lot of difficulty getting off the ground, or getting anywhere at all, for that matter), might combining yoga and fish & chips do the trick? I know, I know, I can already hear all of you yoga purists out there groaning and pointing your (fish?) fingers at me ("What?! First Yoga and Wine, then Yoga and Chocolate, then Yoga and Wine and Chocolate, and now Yoga and Fish & Chips?!"). But think about this: Maybe some enterprising yoga teacher (me?) could pair up with this restaurant, and offer a yoga class at which fish & chips (and beer?) will be served after savasana. Actually, this idea is not half as bad as it sounds, from a yoga point of view, especially if the yoga in question is Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, and if the class is offered at least three times a week, because how long can one continue to eat fish & chips while continuing to do Ashtanga? Not very long, I dare say; sooner or later, the students will have to choose between one or the other: Either (a) continue to eat fish & chips three times a week, and give up Ashtanga or (b) continue to do Ashtanga, and give up fish & chips (or at least eat it less frequently). Of course, there is a bit of a gamble here: There is always the possibility that everybody will just decide that Ashtanga is too hard, and just opt for fish & chips instead! So hopefully, more people will end up choosing (b) over (a). So yes, there is a substantial gamble involved in such a venture. But then again, what major undertaking in life isn't a gamble? If you don't gamble, you can't win...
This or Ashtanga? Mmm... my mouth waters just looking at this picture...
[Picture taken from here]
P.S. No fish (or any other kind of aquatic life) were harmed in the writing of this post.