Waking Up Again!
September 28th, 2011

It’s funny that I am writing a post now about “Waking Up”, when what I really should be doing is trying to go to sleep. I’ve been having a difficult time lately, but that’s not what this is about.

I’ve been waking something else up these last few weeks during my yoga training. The 8 limbs of Ashtanga are ringing true to my ear. They are thoughts I’ve already had in slightly different words or phrasings. We are all just another physical manifestation of the same energy. You don’t need the yoga, but it makes it easier to still the mind chatter (plus it’s fun!).

I say again because I’ve done this in other lives, and even other times in this one. But this one is clear because it is the horizon, the first glimmer of light coming through half-open eyes, but not the full awakeness that comes with looking around. All is coming, so long as I keep with my practice.

Severe Yoga!
September 10th, 2011

Man it has been a while since I posted a blog entry….

But I have exciting news! This Sunday I started a 28 day Ashtanga Vinyasa It’s Yoga Teacher Training, held at Asta Yoga, a studio I started going to in January.

This might be somewhat shocking to many people – “But Severe, aren’t you like, all about the Bikram? Well, yes I am, but I’m not sure teaching Bikram is really the right path for me. First of all it is ridiculously expensive (as in, ~11K). There’s no flexibility in how to study it. You have to go to a training, live in the expensive hotel room for 5 weeks, give up everything, and succumb to the cult of Bikram. I’m not necessarily opposed to the cult of Bikram, but I do feel that some Bikram yoga teachers don’t get it – they think the only way to teach is to be a militant screamer. While that approach does work in some ways, I feel it overlooks the heart of the practice, which is to shut up, listen, and just do the yoga and let the benefits manifest.

Anyway, this isn’t a rant against Bikram – I do love Bikram. But the Ashtanga Vinyasa series appeals to me in a lot of ways, especially in the flexibility of structuring a class. Also, I’m able to work a few hours a day at the jobby-job (Sometimes onsite, sometimes from home) in addition to doing the program, which is awesome, AND it’s considerably more affordable. Originally I was going to take the training in October, but was told to do September b/c they might not be offering October. Once I got the okay from work, I was signed up and ready to go.

That’s not to say it’s easy – it’s actually quite exhausting doing some work, taking at least one class a day, being onsite for the daily “Circle”, and then trying to get another practice in (whether at the studio or at home). But I am feeling great, strong, and not even all that sore.

There are some growing pains – I am learning about my body and what years of bass playing and computers have done to it. I’m noticing things that I overlooked for quite some time. I never knew that my left pinky finger clawed up when I transitioned into Downward Dog (Ardho Mukhva Svanasana – yes, I have to learn some Sanskrit). I’d been standing w. my feet too close together all this time as well. There’s more too.

Not everyone who takes this training ends up being a yoga teacher – in fact, I’d guess about half don’t. So do I want to be a Yoga Teacher? I do. Is it my next career path? Maybe not. I sort of feel like I still have a bit to go in my practice before I’m ready to teach – at the same time, I know the best way to get better at something is to just do it – regularly and with intention. So if I want to help others find yoga and what it can do for you, the best way to do that is to start sooner rather then later. We’ll just have to see where the cards fall. I’m not ready to quit my job – I still like my job actually. But if this can be the start of a healthier and more aware Severe, then that can only be a good thing, right?

Another reason I’m doing it is I need a challenge. Every few years I like to take myself out of my comfort zone (by going to musick school, or Australia, or moving across the country, etc). It’s been a while since I’ve had to do that. I’ve been working this job for 3.5 years, living in this house for just about as long, and while I like routine, it’s nice to break it up and push myself so I can come out the other side stronger and more confident.

The big thing is though, that doing this now feels right. I feel that this is exactly what I should be doing right now. In some ways it’s really good that I’m doing this so early in my practice – I can correct those bad habits that some people might continue doing for years. And it’s really opening my eyes/ears/chakras to the fact that the physical practice of yoga is really just a proponent of the lifestyle. It seems like a pool so big you can’t measure it, and the more I keep swimming/diving/exploring, the more I realize that this is just the beginning. I’m not sure what it is the beginning of just yet – and maybe I won’t find out. But as I’ve heard in many different situations, It’s the journey, not the destination.

Better Late Then Never
January 6th, 2011

Read it in...

On just about anything I suppose, although this title is really because it’s a few days behind the New Year to be writing a post about time moving on. But I’m going to do it anyway.

Last year, I wrote a post about how I don’t believe in resolutions, but instead believe in goals. Sadly, I failed almost every one of those goals this year. (my actual score was 2 and two-halves [two of them I feel I did about half the time or got halfway there], out of a potential total of 8). I don’t feel bad about all of it, but I was thinking about why I couldn’t reach these goals, and I came up with a few things.

What it all boils down to though is that these weren’t the right goals for me. I did many many other things – I accomplished a lot of the brainstorm I had last February about where to put my intentions. I’m not quite as far as I wanted to be, but neither the work I did on myself nor any of my projects is reflected in the goals I identified in January – no matter how well intentioned they were.

So this year I’m going to put more emphasis on intentions and outcomes. And I’ve really realized that what I do can be driven by three words:

Musick. Yoga. Friends.

I consider Family in there with Friends, but I think what this really means is that what I am doing should be with those three things considered. Of course that doesn’t mean I can’t garden next year, or that bike maintenance isn’t a priority, or that I don’t want more money (for the record, I would love more money), or my day job isn’t important. It just means that when I have time for myself, I should check in and make sure that I am doing what I can to pursue these three things.

Why they are important I think is obvious, but I’ll go into them briefly. For musick, I really need to be making sure I am putting my best effort forth to being an active and continually improving musician. That means learning more about the ways I can record my own music on my own time, writing more songs, and practicing regularly. It’s a growing year – time to find my voice.

Yoga is increasingly becoming more important to me because it teaches me not just about my body, it reminds me to keep paying attention to my body and how it is doing. It can help heal that body when it’s not at it’s best. There’s also what it can do for my mind – bikram yoga helps me keep things in perspective and generally retain my composure. It brings a lot of things into perspective, and I love the journey that it’s taking me on.

Friends, as I’ve mentioned, is overarching and really means those who are special to me, related or not. Sometimes I need to be reminded that I need to take effort – even if I feel like I’m almost always the one taking the effort. The effort in the act of initiation is greatly outweighed by connecting and reconnecting with other humans, especially those with the ability to make me think (or crack me up).

Anyway, I am working on trying to keep my posts brief (both for writing sake, but also because translating them into Severe Slang is easier), so I will sign off with the question – what’s important to you in 2011?

Thanks for reading!

P.S. If you want to see what goals I did and did not keep, see here.

P.P.S. Pics from the Severe Bass and the Bad Decisions gig are here!


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