Sunday, October 22, 2006

Yoga and Anatomy

I had most enlightening experience yesterday as we studied anatomy in our yoga class. It appears that there are two key inhibitors to poses that are very revealing. These are compression and tension.

Compression describes where two bones come together in the context of a posture, and create a physical limit to movement. Tension describes where a muscle, tendon, or tissue grouping is tight and restrains further movement into a posture. While compression doesn't have a rememdy, tightness can be addressed by moving more deeply, and carefully, into a posture over time.

Consideration of compression versus tension as limiting factors in a posture is most enabling from both a personal and from a teaching level. While there are some movements that can be made by the body which will demonstrate compression in a manner which is visible (e.g. raising the arm forward, and watching for the shoulder rotation) there are many occasions where there is verbal feedback required. A student can tell you where they feel the posture, and this will describe whether there is compression or tension.

Interestingly, the downward facing dog is a pose where most joints are involved and provides one general posture to discover compression in joints, and for tension in the hamstrings. I learned that it is hamstring tension in my down dog that is the limiting factor in this pose for me. When a teacher wants the heels on the floor, my hamstrings hold me back. It's not compression in my ankles because I can do a squat with completely flat feet.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Yoga Teacher Weekend

I'm totally psyched as this weekend is my yoga teacher training weekend. I'm over in the condo and getting ready for the all day Saturday and Sunday class. This has been on my mind since I left class one month ago, and I'm thrilled to be going to class in the morning. It will be great to see everyone, hear how they've progressed with their assignments, and just to enjoy the company in this great learning experience.

Jenn is going to see Stephen Colbert tonight as part of the Northwestern homecoming activities. The 42 year-old Colbert is a graduate of NU, and I'm sure Jenn is going to do all she can to move in close. I know that Jenn is skilled in such matters as she easily got backstage passes for my at the Tower of Power concert at the Carter Barron theater in Washington, D.C. I know that I'll hear all about this tomorrow. If my cell phone rings in the middle of the night with a call from Jenn, I'll be sure to answer -- it may be her calling to give me a direct connection to truthiness.

And, if you have a taste for something exotic, try the Dagoba Lavendar. I think I got a head rush after the first bite as the interesting flavors sent all kinds of sensory messages to the brain.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Back Home

It was so nice to see Jenn over the weekend. We took her to one of her favorite spots -- the grocery store! She was delirious with ecstasy, shopping and buying things she loves like pita and hummus, interesting mixes of fruits and nuts, cereal, and tupperware to store things in the room. She is doing well and making lots of friends. From what I can see, she will be a leader among the pack. I can tell that she has emotional maturity that is ahead of many of the freshman.

I'm both surprised and not surprised at the drinking on campus. I attended a keg and egg party, and I suppose it's perfectly natural to drink beer at 9:30 in the morning before a football game. Maybe because the team at NU isn't that good, the alcohol makes the game more interesting? I just think the drinking is part of the scene.

In years gone by, I have consumed a more than modest quantity of alcohol. These days, I rarely drink because it tends to slow me down a bit. I'm not a teetotaller, and I'm not on a crusade to stop people from drinking. But, even I was not one to drink in the morning. And, I would have thought that the urge to binge would have passed along with high school, but not everyone has gotten this out of their system.

Overall, it was fabulous to see Jenn, and I'm very happy that she loves what she's doing now, and where she's doing it.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Back in Chicago

We came up to Chicago to visit Jenn for parent's weekend. It is just fabulous to see Jenn and know how well she is doing with school and in her new social setting. Even though the dorm is prone to partying, which does not set the stage for slumber, Jenn does seem to find a nice mix of both. It's great to see that she has a lot of friends, and to know that she's having fun an achieving in her academics as well.

We went to the Northwestern/Purdue football game today. I expererienced first-hand a keg and egg party. The marching band for Northwestern was quite good. The football team is now 2-5 for the year.

I found a few minutes in the Apple store, and keep eyeing the new iMac. The notebooks are really nice, and the pros with the 30" screen are also incredible. But I think my intro Mac could be the 17" iMac. I believe it comes with Garage Band 3, and this would keep me intrigued for many months. This would be in addition to just playing around with the computer and learning about the capabilities of the Mac.

There is an amazing shop in Old Orchard, L'Occitane (de Provence), which has the most incredible collection of products that smell wonderful. It is a French version of Bath and Body Works. I was drawn into the store by this incredible honey incense, which was buring outside and detectible about 150' from the store entrance.

Tonight, Saturday night, is not going to be a big night on the town. Jenn came out to my sister-in-law's house with use and will get a peaceful night's rest. I promised that I wouldn't stay up all night raising heck until 5:30 in the morning.

I finished reading Meditations from the Mat on Thursday. It's a really enjoyable book with 365 chapters (one for each day of the year). The book is divided into eight sections, corresponding to the eight limbs of Yoga. Each day opens with a quote from a rich variety of sources (including yoga students of the author, Rolf Gates). Gates then follows the quote with a short writing from his own experiences. I would recommend the book just for the bibliography, with the quotes and writings being a wonderful bonus.

The Windy City was supposedly named for the movement of air by the politicians, but in Evanston the wind is legitimate. I'll look forward to returning home, but will miss Jenn all over again.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

October, Already

It's been quite a while since I've written. Studying for the Yoga has kept me busy. In order to be prepared for the class later this month, I've created a set of things that I must do each day to accomplish the work. In addition, French class resumed and I took the time to read The Namesake for our book club. I also resumed some piano practice, so overall I'm quite busy.

One of the Yoga assignments is to read the book, Meditations from the Mat which is an excellent book by Rolf Gates. It examines the eight limb path of Yoga by dividing into sections, and providing a daily reading for each day of one year. We're reading the book in a month, but that's okay.

I hear from Jenn frequently, and am very happy that she is doing so well in school. While I miss seeing her on a daily basis, I realize that she's doing the best thing she could be doing for herself right now. Jenn is taking advantage of the opportunity to learn and grow, and I'm very pleased that she is engaging in this wonderful experience.