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The secret life of yoga

on Nov 14, 2017 in Middle Age

I first encountered yoga in the 1970s when a sun salutation was a mere shadow of its incarnation today (like for example, not involving anything other than bending from the waist and moving your arms). Fast forward a few decades and yoga is well entrenched as a ‘thing’. There are purveyors of yoga of every description on every corner and yoga pants (a genre of clothing that barely existed in the 20th century) are on every bum everywhere, whether or not the wearer has ever darkened the door of yoga class.

But just in case you are not a yoga regular, this is what goes on in the average yoga studio these days. First, everyone brings their phone. Never mind that the whole point is to be on an inward journey for an hour and half – their definition of being in touch with the universe means making sure they can deal with those important messages right up to the first ‘om’ and immediately after final relaxation.

Second, everyone has their preferred mat location. Or actually, there are a limited number of preferred mat locations, which boils down to by a wall so that nobody is behind you or only one person is beside you. This means it is necessary to rush to yoga class to get there at least 15 minutes early to snag a good spot. Or it used to be sufficient to arrive 15 minutes early. The mat turf battle has since escalated so that sauntering in a mere 20 minutes before class means you are relegated to the middle of the room. But at least that gives you more pre-class phone time.

Third, there is such a thing as competitive yoga. It is not enough to work within the confines of your own body, you need to strive for perfection of pose and to be better at downward dogging than your mat neighbour. Maybe it is just me, but competitive yoga seems like the penultimate oxymoron. And should you wish to participate in this anti-yoga yoga stuff you need to get yourself to an International Yoga Asana Competition. This is where you get to show off your yoga ‘prowess’ to the universe and the assembled masses that marvel at your flexibility, contortionism, and general athleticism.

If you want to compete in the IYAC, you have to perform six yoga poses within three minutes. I don’t know about you, but I go to yoga five days a week and could barely trot out six yoga poses without prompting. But also, these are not merely warrior posing, or dancer posing or even demonstrating a decent boat pose: these are what would be considered extreme yoga, like balancing on your head while crossing your legs in an impeccable Lotus pose, or doing a Crow while your cat is on your back (honestly, working on it). At least there is one thing I can be sure of. None of it matters in the least.

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Playing in the big league

on Oct 27, 2017 in Travels

Apparently, these days you can make serious money doing almost anything – especially things that have nothing to do with solving world hunger, avoiding global nuclear war, or talking some sense into the US of A. Case in point: I have just discovered the world of Major League Fishing. MLF (as those in the know [...]

 
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Supper’s ready

on Oct 6, 2017 in Middle Age

It all started with dropping the lid of the slow cooker on my foot. No wait a minute, it actually all started with the idea of baked beans. Seeing as how I would have my hands full getting Thanksgiving dinner under control, I decided it would be a good plan to get Friday dinner off [...]

 
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The story of civilization

on Sep 17, 2017 in Middle Age

While browsing random content on the internet the other day (as one does) I happened across ‘The 7 Things You Should Never Buy at Costco’. This is a great example of prime clickbait headlining: you must use an odd number (but not too high an odd number or it will seem like too many things [...]

 
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September, we’ll remember

on Sep 10, 2017 in Houses

We are barely into the double digits of September, but already Fall is encroaching on the final weeks of summer. I had to pick my meager crop of green tomatoes (that is, the crop was meager not the green tomatoes – in fact, precious few of my tomatoes made it to red in their natural [...]

 
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My friend Walter

on Sep 3, 2017 in Middle Age

Okay, maybe Walter Becker wasn’t really my friend but I’m guessing you didn’t spend a week with him. Okay, maybe I didn’t really spend a week with him per se, but I did spend a week at the same place he was at, had dinner with him several times and hiked the same morning hike [...]

 
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Bookends

on Aug 31, 2017 in Middle Age

When Pamela Paul was 14, she started keeping a journal of every book she read. While this is certainly what one would expect of someone who would later become the current editor of the New York Times Book Review, I couldn’t help but have a huge twinge of envy accompanied with stern admonishment to my [...]

 
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Bon voyage

on Aug 24, 2017 in Travels

NASA recently announced that the Voyager 1 spacecraft has moved into interstellar space. This journey has taken forty years and that is merely a drop in the bucket when it comes to the time it would take to actually get somewhere tangible beyond our solar system. People that know these things say in about 300 [...]

 
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Yellow Bird

on Aug 21, 2017 in Middle Age

I was walking home the other day and saw a yellow bird. But of course there is much more to this story. I was walking home on Oriole Parkway, a Toronto street in an otherwise leafy and urban area with a volume of traffic and illicit speed that makes it more like a major roadway, [...]

 
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I hear music

on Aug 13, 2017 in Middle Age

You know you are getting old when you start hearing some of the music of your youth that was considered edgy at the time wafting gently out of the speakers while you are at the grocery store. I swear I heard ‘White Rabbit’, ‘Let’s Spend the Night Together’, and ‘Dead Babies’ all in the course [...]

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