Monday, May 20, 2013

Days of Being Wild(ly hungover), strange Ashtanga dream, and a surprisingly fast practice

I discovered something interesting in the last twenty-four hours: It is possible to get an emotional hang-over from watching a certain kind of movie. Specifically, movies by the Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai. More specifically, Days of Being Wild (DOBW). Set in Hong Kong and the Philippines during the 1960s, the main character of DOBW is this self-indulgent, self-absorbed guy who goes around seducing women and getting into relationships with them, only to dump them once they start demanding some deeper level of emotional commitment from him (there's a reason for this behavior of his, but I won't spoil the story here...). Not a very unusual storyline as storylines go, but Wong's use of camerawork and the soundtrack (as well as the acting) gives the audience this claustrophobic feeling of moving in slow motion through a thick slush of emotional isolation and disconnection. It's a little bit like watching a train-wreck in slow motion ("Why does she have to keep going back to that A-hole who's treating her like shit?"), except the train-wreck is so beautifully filmed that you can't bear to look away. At the end of the movie, one feels as if one has had too much emotional slush to drink (hence the hangover).

Maggie Cheung and Leslie Cheung on the movie poster
[Image taken from here]

Anyway... I'm probably saying a lot without really telling you what the movie is about. But I don't want to spoil the movie. Let me just say one more thing, and then I'll move on to something else: If works like Camus's The Stranger or Sartre's No Exit are up your alley, then this movie will probably speak to you. Check it out (or not). I know it's available for instant streaming on NetFlix. Oh, and one more thing: The movie's in Cantonese, so unless you happen to speak Cantonese, you will need to read subtitles. Not a deal-breaker, I would hope... After all, we're all Smart People, right? (Ha, can't resist a cheap shot here...) 

Perhaps as a result of watching the movie, I had a strange dream last night. In the dream, I was at some big Ashtanga workshop taught by a senior Ashtanga teacher. Or it may even have been an event featuring more than one senior teacher (maybe it's the Ashtanga Yoga Confluence or something along those lines, although I can't say for sure, since I did not make either of the two Confluences that have been held to date).

Anyway, in the dream, I was at this big workshop/event. I had set up my mat, and was about ready to begin practicing (it was a Mysore session) when I suddenly needed to go to the bathroom. So I went to the bathroom, and was about to go back to my mat, when I suddenly felt the need to go to the bathroom again! So I went to the bathroom again. I then tried to make my way back to the mat, but some series of events came up to stop me from going back to my mat. I can't remember now what those events were; at any rate, when I finally made it back to the mat, more than two hours had passed, and the Mysore session was almost over. I had just barely enough time to squeeze in a very half-assed three Surya As and three Surya Bs before the teacher told me that I needed to take rest.


I can't recall the rest of the dream. Suffice to say that the entire dream was permeated by this overwhelming feeling of anxiety and futility. When I woke up, this feeling was so strong and dense that my entire being felt very heavy and dense. Had to sit on the bed for a whole half-hour before I could finally get my body to get up and go to the bathroom.

Getting to the mat was a struggle too. But here's what's really interesting. Once I got past Surya A, everything just kind of chugged along like a train (no train-wrecks ;-)), and I finished my usual practice (full primary and second up to Supta Vajrasana) in an hour and twenty-eight minutes. And I didn't even feel like I was rushing or anything.

It's been an interesting twenty-four hours, don't you think?               


  1. Maggie Cheung = Goddess

    1. Can't agree more. Hey, you just gave me an idea. Maybe I'll include a screenshot of Maggie Cheung in an updated version of this post.

    2. I get a hangover watching her in Hero. Jet Li and the other dudes in that film are pretty rad also.

  2. This is a really good read for me, I must say you put your best effort for this blog.

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