Friday, October 28, 2016

yoginis and punks

Two things happened the other day that made me think critically of my wardrobe and of yoga. The first, was hearing a man complain about woman wearing yoga pants. The second, was stumbling on the Hard Times article, Aging Punk Loses Battle With Comfortable Clothes. This piece of intense journalism, showcases what it is like to have a particular sense of style and be drawn in by the evils of practicality.

The truth is, I am a post punk girl who wears yoga pants.

There seems to be controversy around woman wearing yoga pants in public. Honestly, I think the controversy comes in when a woman's body is showcased in a way that "overly stimulates" others or "visually offends" the sensitive sensibilities of the masses. There are many of us that wear yoga pants that are ignored. Mainly, because it appears we are wearing "work pants" or "leggings". Of course, there are always going to be a group of nay-sayers. I don't really care, so this is sort of a non sequitur.

The comfort of yoga pants got me thinking about my relationship with yoga. I've been doing yoga for a long time. My grandmother practiced under a Guruji  I was thereby shown a very basic practice by my mother. By the age of eight, my movements and thought process had grown by watching Lilias, Yoga and You on Public Broadcasting.


Much later (in my early twenties) I was in Los Angeles and witnessed the rebirth of, "Pilates". Seeing this was surreal to me. During high school, people would look at me as if I had grown another head when I mentioned yoga. But, all over Los Angeles woman were buying these strange rubber mats and yes, yoga pants.

Today, yoga (and the pants) are everywhere. I find it strangely suffocating. There is an obsession tied with the practice and a limited knowledge of yogic history. I mean, what would Tirumalai Krishnamacharya say about the practices of today? 

Without Krishnamacharya, a large proportion of western yoga practice wouldn't exist. The yoga that we understand today, is usually a version (or offshoot) of Krishnamacharya's Hatha yoga -- which he managed to snatch from obscurity and popularize.

This doesn't devalue yoga. I think what it does is show the tenuous flight of our human whims. The Vedic traditions hold for thousands of years culminating in a man born in 1888 who would indirectly be responsible for my favorite form of leg covering.

The wrap up? I'll listen to post punk while doing sun salutations, for the same reason I go out in public in yoga pants...I'm fucking punk.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

varying degrees of rejection and control

When I was in grade school, we had a yearly writing competition. I wrote a few stories, but twice my stories were rejected because the school felt that "my parents had told me what to write". 

Another time, I made a digital poster for Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers long before the movie came out. This too was for a competition. If I won, my work would be used for promotions of the movie. I spent a week compiling around seventy high resolution royalty free images in a collage. These images created a seamless representation of an eerie middle earth mountain pass. My entry was later rejected because I was told, "If i was using stock images I needed to alter the image in some way". I actually had to send them proof that it was a collage and by that time it was too late.

I have had images of myself rejected on websites for, "not being an image of me". I once had a manager tell me that they weren't going to hire me because I was, "too professional" during the interview. I had an art teacher accuse me of tracing artwork when I had drawn the artwork freehand. And this list continues.

Of course, I have had the usual rejections. Rejections of friendship, Rejections of affection. Rejections of love. However, my previous examples of rejection taught me something. 

Rejection (in most cases) has nothing to do with what a person has done wrong, it has to do with what an outside person perceives and prefers.

This knowledge isn't particularly helpful when you are struggling with that unrequited love situation or when you are left behind in some way. Let's face it. Life can really hurt. At the same time, we can remind ourselves that not everything is in our control. We can understand the truth of rejection and use it as a tool to be persistent in our dreams. Conversely, this way of thinking can allow us to let go of what is unhealthy for us. 

Control of ourselves might be possible. But, control of anything else is illusory.

Friday, October 7, 2016

5 strategies for creativity

1.)  Expose yourself to creativity. That means reading, watching, tasting, experiencing. Go to art shows. Pick up magazines. Listen to radio shows. Immerse yourself. 
2.)  Write it down. Every stupid and fantastic idea you have, write it down. Keep it somewhere that you can go back to. There is a poet named Janet Frame who would say, "I've been looking through the goose bath..." That was her, literally shuffling through a basin that was once used for her pet geese. It was filled with her discarded poems. Sometimes a person goes back and sees new relevance. 
3.)  Allow for mistakes. Nothing is perfect carbon copies of any other thing. It is imperfection that makes something important. Creation is not the time for criticism, it is the time to make mistakes and enjoy them. It is the time to be the Jackson Pollock of one's canvas. 
4.)  Don't be afraid. Fear only holds us back. Sure, it's great for avoiding lions in the Serengeti...not so much for like strumming out a tune. Those chords aren't going to bite you. You have to play them to find your song. 
5.)  Schedule play time. I think a part of creativity is allowing oneself to be silly. To explore. To be an over-sized child. In the business of life, a person should really allow themselves the freedom to cultivate that joyful spirit of creativity.