Friday, August 17, 2012

Fish & Chips, or Ashtanga?

Happy New Moon! I hope all of you moon-day-observing Ashtangis out there are taking a well-deserved break today from your Ashtangic labors.

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]

Anyway, these are my half-coherent thoughts on a Moon Day. May you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy rambling them off. Then again, one of these days, I might just muster up the courage to approach the owner of the bistro with such a business proposition. After all, you would think that at least some of those people who are enjoying their fish & chips in there right now must feel at least a little pang of guilt at their indulgences, and might perhaps be wanting for some kind of physical exercise that would help them to detox, right?

P.S. No fish (or any other kind of aquatic life) were harmed in the writing of this post.    


  1. You kid, but . . . you have seen this, right? :-) "Introducing the Cobra Club, Possibly the City’s First Yoga Studio and Bar":

    It happens to all of us -- having that genius of an idea that will make you rich and famous only to learn that someone else has not only thought it first, but has already implemented something similar enough to stomp out the novelty of your idea.

    Guess you'll have to keep your day job. ;-)

    1. No, I have not seen this before you linked to it here; haven't been following yoga trivial lately... but it's interesting. Club Cobra, huh? I'm not surprised at all that people in NY will come up with something like this, being enterprising and all...

      Well, maybe I can come up with a Club King Pigeon around these parts one day. Where I am is far enough from NYC that there should be no competition with Club Cobra :-) But I have zero experience in the hospitality industry... oh I know! Maybe I should try to get Gordon Ramsey from Hotel Hell to help me out ;-)

  2. Nononono, You should name it Club Raja Kapo and hire a greeter (female if possible) who looks like an extra from Fight Club. Make it look hard to get into. I really should not give this "branding" advice for free. Goes to show that some of us yogis just don't have a brain for business...:D

    1. Thanks for the branding advice (yes, you really should charge for this...). Having not seen Fight Club, I guess I'll have to go watch the movie first :-)