Sunday, December 23, 2018

Year 2019 - New Year Resolution

My condo entrance - former Church of Christ, Scientist

Today is Sunday, December 23 and I am about to post my New Year's Resolution, out there to the Universe at large. I thought about it for a quite some time and being serious about my plans I was a bit hesitant to publish it.

I am quite satisfied with my life. True, I'm not young anymore and I feel it. In 2019 I will be 54, skin changes, wrinkles, gray hair, belly fat, you name it, have started to show up and they won't go away. Fuck it, I am not going to give up so easily. I'm feeling motivated to eat better, exercise more, drink less...

In 2019, the lifestyle changes are necessary and welcomed. This resolution is a realistic plan which will be accomplished by steady discipline and careful monitoring. I'm ready to live differently in 2019 and I'm committing to the change.

In 2019 - daily yoga practice

1. Regular, daily exercise

The main point of concern in my life is regular ashtanga yoga practice. Five to six days a week, 45 minutes, half primary, practice. In 2018 I was lazy and daily yoga was difficult.

What counts is effort, it’s about showing up on mat every single day. It’s about doing the best I can do with my body strength and breath. It isn’t about whether I can do jump through or not, it is all about persistence.

So, in 2019, the yoga practice is on the first place. Nothing should be more important than the ashtanga practice. I have to do it early in the morning before any other activity.

In 2019 - yoga practice, walking and eating healthy

2. Living healthy

At present my weight is 92 kg and I am overweight. I want to be somewhere between 86-88 kg. I must exercise more and eat less. In 2019, I have to do a lot of walking and sometimes go to the gym.

Everything starts by going to bed early, around 9:30 to 10 pm. Seven hours of uninterrupted sleep is perfect for feeling rested and being eager to start my new day with yoga. Waking up at 6 am is my goal.

I have to drink less beer and wine and increase consumption of water.

In 2019 - start new career as a contractor

3. Improve professional skills

My intent for 2019 is to improve my professional skills. I've already started to study new concepts of Java micro services SOA architecture using Spring Boot, REST, Hibernate, Maven, Nexus etc.. etc...  The learning will be completed by the April 2019.

By the end of April I want to be very proficient in that area and at the same time I will start searching for a contract position. Yes, after 3 years of working as a full time employee, Zmark Software Inc. is coming into life again.

In 2019 my life will consists of daily exercise, work at my job and every free time I will use to gain more knowledge in programming the micro services. I have a lot of free time and so far I wasted it on internet, Facebook and watching movies.

2019 - The year for paying off the mortgage

4. Saving money

My financial situation is okay. Although I have no savings, I have no debt either. But I must be careful with spending. I have calculated that $35 daily is quite enough for me to maintain a good life.

In 2019, I will not go to Caribbean vacation like I did in 2018. My plan is to go back home in the end of May and be there about 10 days. Maybe I will visit Prague and stay couple days there before I go to my home town. Will see. Nothing else is planned for 2019.

If everything goes as planned I will start working on contract after my vacation somewhere in June 2019.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Waiting for Godot

We waited and waited. All of us. Didn't the shrink know that waiting was one of the things that drove people crazy? People waited all their lives. They waited to live, they waited to die. They waited in line to buy toilet paper. They waited in line for money. And if they didn't have any money they waited in longer lines. You waited to go to sleep and then you waited to awaken. You waited to get married and you waited to get divorced. You waited for it to rain, you waited for it to stop. You waited to eat and then you waited to eat again. You waited in a shrink's office with a bunch of psychos and you wondered if you were one. - Charles Bukowski

As I sit with my coffee this moment, waiting for my friend to come to pick me up, I'm posting this article feeling a sense of indifference. I want to tell you the secret... shhh, they are lying to you, there is no journey.

You are conditioned that way. You are thinking that you are on a journey. You want to become rich, to be famous, to be smart and that is causing a feeling of lack, of not-so-good-enough or whatever. So, what you actually do... you are seeking something to destroy that feeling.

I have never hit that magical point where I figured out exactly what I really want to do with my life. I have no clue what I'm doing, and I embarrass myself, repeatedly. But I laugh at myself knowing very well that my laugh is useless.

Have you watched Waiting for Godot?

If you did not ... Waiting for Godot, published by Samuel Beckett in 1949, is a play in which two characters (Estragon and Vladimir) are waiting for someone who never comes. If you want to impress someone, you say Waiting for Godot explores themes of existentialist philosophy. The emptiness and randomness of the plot causes the audience to wonder is there any meaning in the play – or in life.

At one moment Estragon asks Vladimir what it is that he has requested from Godot:

VLADIMIR: Oh ... nothing very definite.
ESTRAGON: A kind of prayer.
VLADIMIR: Precisely.
ESTRAGON: A vague supplication (asking or begging for something).

Sounds familiar? That is what we do all our life.

If someone asked me to describe life in one word, that word would be... WAITING.

Our whole life we are waiting for something. We're waiting for the dawn, birthday, holiday, train, children, summer, Friday, payment, vacation, recognition, dinner, enlightenment, love, new year, answer, smile, call, truth, destiny, death ...

I have stopped waiting for Godot.

I don't really wait for anything anymore. I have no ambition, nowhere to go, no one to be or become. I don't need to distract myself from anything or convince myself of anything. There is nothing that I think isn't as it should be, and I have no hope that things will be better. I have nothing to hope for.

I don't seem to be bored or unhappy about it, so I guess it is weird.

The Waiting for Godot plays quickly because it gives situations which don't offer anything. Thus the main theme of the play and the meaning of life is set in two sentences:

ESTRAGON: Nothing to be done.
VLADIMIR: I'm beginning to come round to that opinion.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Mysore changes which you might not be aware of

Like most who practice ashtanga yoga, naturally, you're considering whether a pilgrimage to the birthplace of Ashtanga yoga, in Mysore, India, would be right for you.

In 2018, we have witnessed many happenings in the world of Ashtanga Yoga. Some teachers, the old school, underground ashtangis, slipped out of the Sharat's list of teachers and then miraculously, some of them, re-appeared again.

It appears that making money by doing Ashtanga Workshops is not recommended by Sharath. Looking at things you can say the Big Boss is in position of power, he uses his power... but who gave him that power? 

Ashtanga yoga was brought to light by my grandfather, Pattabhi Jois. He established ashtanga at his Lakshmipuram shala. Before, people didn’t know ashtanga yoga. Ashtanga yoga is all of the eight limbs. What is its purpose? What are its benefits? Can you go straight to samadhi as soon as you enter the shala? Can you get a certificate for samadhi?! Not possible. The certificate is just for your own satisfaction. It won’t take you anywhere.

- Sharath's Conference Notes - March 15th, 2015

K. Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute (KPJAYI) is still the source of modern ashtanga yoga. And it must stay that way.

Thousands of experienced ashtanga yoga students go to the main shala in Mysore and practice there with a Paramaguru of Ashtanga Yoga.

If you're planning to go to Mysore, or you have already been there and you want to re-visit the experience, please note there are a lot of changes which you might not be aware of:

The global "Me Too" Neo-liberal movement for sexual misconduct awareness is felt in Mysore floor at KPJAYI as well. Women are not allowed to practice wearing shorts any longer. And no sport bras as a top. That is not allowed.

The prices are higher now due to increasing inflation in India and global economic uncertainty.

No more practice without the student cards. Every student must have a towel during the practice and clearly display the student card.

The chanting is a thing to do if you want to practice on the main floor. It requires an extra payment though.

The students who come without a cotton mat won’t be allowed to practice there and will be sent back home. So cotton mat is a must, but be careful that is free of Om, Shiva or any other sacred symbols, aka tridents, or any three lines logos.

At the end of the practice, no more long shavasana in the changing rooms. One minute and than you're out, take your rest at home.

What they do at the gym, there is so much aggression if you see. These people have so much aggression. You see in the Olympics, they do so much and then you see their Ego. "I did this." But Yoga is different. The Asana is different. You are not doing the Asana to please anyone, you’re doing the Asana to calm your mind, to bring flexibility to your body, to bring stability to your body, to bring steadiness to your mind and body. This is the reason why we are doing Asanas. It is not to compete with anyone. So this you have to understand. Many people, oh I can do Kapotasana. After class you see in the coconut stand, many people giving lecture "oh you should do back bending like this". Lecture is easy. Unless you understand, you experience, you do your hard work, it won’t come.

- Sharath's Conference Notes - January 10th, 2015

If you decide to go to Mysore, I give you a word of warning. You may be a little bit off of your expectations. It is always good to ask yourself, are you miserable because of your practice, or is your practice miserable because of you?

The truth is... in Ashtanga yoga you have nothing to learn, nothing to do. Really, there should be no ambition, nowhere to go, no one to be or become. You don't need to distract yourself comparing your practice to others or convincing yourself you're not good enough, the Big Boss will tell you...

"You stop there"!!!

I admire the Big Boss. His message is simple, just do your asana, read Bhagavad Gita, be nice and say you are sorry when you done wrong. Do not eat meat and don’t kill spiders, give couple cents to beggars, hope for transcendental bliss, cosmic consciousness, supreme love... be quiet, make babies, smile, breathe deeply, keep moola bandha, be good, don’t ask questions, don’t use your mind, don’t make a disturbance ...

"No one owns yoga" but ability to carry on and convey the teaching of ashtanga yoga is assessed by Sharath and Sharath alone. Chain of command is very important, try to trust his judgement in these matters, and keep going to Mysore.

Monday, December 17, 2018

The End of 2018

The photo of the year... April 2018

The end of the 2018 is coming. Two more weeks and I will be 54 years old. Scary shit.

I don't have old photos. I destroyed all paper photos during a period of my spiritual search. I have done a complete recapitulation of my life and as part of that technique I burned my old photographs so I have no attachment to my past.

It’s been nearly sixteen years since I started out on the spiritual journey of self-discovery. Since then I've changed so much, I come so far, it’s hard to remember exactly who I once was. I know I was very ambitious, eager to make something of myself, to get the best of life. I was pushy, loud, confident, I had no idea what really matters in life.

At age of 29, I arrived in Canada with my eight months old daughter, my wife and $10K cash money. I was learning English and I worked hard as a dishwasher to support family. My wife did not work. After a year of making salads and washing dishes I got my job as a computer programmer. I bought our first condo in 1999 which I paid off ten years later, and just couple of years later I got divorced.

In 2018 I had 25 days at Caribbean... yes that was a long vacation

I hear people of my age talking about retirement, pension plans, and future in general. They are very much afraid of what will happen to them. They are afraid of getting old. I do not worry about such things. What is the future after all? An imagination. The future does not exist, it is just in the mind. People lose present moment worrying about the future, worrying about something that does not exist.

I am free to say that I have discovered the truth - nothing has value in this life. Events arouse desire, fear, anger, and you think it is "you". You get stuck talking to yourself, explaining, hoping, trying to find any meaning in all this.

Life has no explanations to give. It is an empty, meaningless flow of events that just go on and on. Whatever happens has little or no importance. People are born, they live their pity lives... they eat, shit, fuck, work and work and work more until they die.

In 2018 I made my last will. Upon my death my body is to be cremated and ashes spread in water and earth. No reminder of my existence should be left. That's my last will.

I have only a few people in my life that I really care for, my daughter, sister, father, niece... I love my daughter the most and I try to help her as much as I can.

In my last will I left everything that I have to my daughter.

To find the truth, to see what is real and to lead a genuine life is a goal of everyone. Life is rarely straightforward as we may wish. Life is both profound and simple, yet process of understanding it tends to be very difficult, if not downright complicated.

A great secret of life is that we exists not in order to achieve something but actually to simplify things. We are here to cut through our crowded thoughts and paranoia, to cut through our confusions and doubts.

 I try so hard to give her the advice about life. 

Two huge mistakes we make in life!

The heart of all confusions is that we have a sense of self which seems to us to be continuous and solid. When a thought or feelings or event occurs, there is a sense of someone being conscious of what is happening.

The sense of self is actually imagination, transitory and discontinuous "thing". So we end up with this confused view as being real, we struggle to maintain it and do everything possible to enhance this "solid" sense of self. We try to feed it with pleasures and shield it from pain.

So our life became endless pursuit of physical comfort, security and pleasure. We've organized society in this way - we try to control the nature, we fear change, we try to avoid irritations at all costs.

We always search for the "reason", why things happen the way they happen. We try to rationalize, justify, find set of rules, find interpretation of how and why things happen as they do. And doing that we actually do not see things as they are.

Our interpretation of reality is taken too seriously, so our world looks very much static and rigid place to live in. Such a solid world reassures us that we are a solid, "something", continuous as well. The world exists so therefore we, the seers of the world, exist.

 We are not progressing anywhere, instead we are just getting older. 

Hopes and expectations are our main enemies!

We must get rid of our hopes and expectations as well as our fears. Drop altogether the idea of security and see the irony of our attempts to secure yourself.

Accept yourself as you are, instead of what you would like to be. Fear, hope, loss, gain, good, bad - these are on-going actions of our current life, the self-maintaining structure of our own self-deception

The truth is... we exists only in the NOW. When we face things as they are we have no hope of something better to come. We actually living.

Give up the memories and imagination and be nothing, understand nothing, do nothing. No one is coming to save you, to the extent that no one is going magically to enlighten you. The life is a lonely road and you travel alone. You may have a companion or not but you must know, no one will take care of you at the end.

The life experiences are your product and living is nothing else but the process of dismantling, undoing, opening, giving up, of everything. It is the end of struggle to be "something". Once you give up the struggle there is no one left to conquire it.

We have to give up trying to defend and improve ourselves.

The world is reflection of ourselves!

All fears come from uncertainty of who we are, from the panic of forgetfulness. We distrust ourselves, feeling that we are inadequate to deal with that mysterious life that is threatening us. What will happen to us?

The world reflects our uncertainty and our fears. The world is a mirror projection of ourselves! Our uncertainty is haunting us. To know this, it is wisdom.

We must enjoy the world and stop being afraid of ourselves by cultivating the good sense of humor. We have to understand and accept our insignificance, stop all seriousness and enjoy life as it comes, from moment to moment.

We must laugh at people making a big deals about small things. We must closely observe our own behavior and laugh about it too. Once we are completely familiar with negative aspects of the state of our being, then we know the "way out"... that's it.

The fear of life is generated from uncertainty of who we are.

Courage and optimism diminish with time.

As you grow older, as time is passing by, you are becoming more and more a coward. With age you lack the courage to do or endure unpleasant things. Some of you appear as cynics but actually you are just timid, easily intimidated person.

The house that you own, the money in retirement fund etc. do not really protect you. It fools you. There is no security or any rest in this world, the picture of old people on the beach is not realistic. It does not show, the pills for high blood pressure, diapers, the lack of sleep, rheumatism etc...

With the age, you start remembering the most embarrassing crap you did in your life with perfect clarity. The kind things you did will be pushed away, you will forget them. The bad things come out from the dirt of subconsciousness. Instead to correct yourself, you start correcting other people in your life, your kids, spouse, neighbors, co workers. With age you have a fleeting sense of superiority over younger people so they start to resent you.

Believe me, nothing worthwhile comes with age.

There’s no meaning to your life, no reward for achieving all the things you've achieved. And please, stop saying that things were better back then in your youth. When you were young, the life was cheaper, happier and people were nicer. Oh well.

Seriously, do whatever the fuck you want!

Trust yourself, really.

Do. Whatever. You Want. The life is your show. It is your universe. Who else knows about your thoughts and feelings? There is no one else there, you are completely on your own. Everything is available to you. No one else can lead you, pull you, push you or carry you. No one else is necessary for you.

Be courageous, enough to fulfill a life fully understanding that there is only a glaring nothingness awaiting you on the other side. Live, fight like it matters...

You are on your life journey. Many of you are on completely different routes than I am, so the answers to questions Is There Truth in Life? is not applicable. Truth is relative. In my 53 years I have concluded that there is not such thing as truth. Everything that you know is false, there are only lies. You may have concluded something else... Does it really matter?

Friday, December 14, 2018

Want A Better Yoga Practice? ... Get Tattooed

Do you practice yoga? Do you feel discouraged, frustrated, and stiff? Admit it. You are trying so hard to find ways to get your body to do what everyone else in the class is doing. But by forcing yourself into a pose, you're really opening yourself up to injury, not to mention losing your focus on breathing and missing out a lot of the benefits of yoga.

Fortunately, I have done the research and I am here to disclose the deepest yoga secret so you can stop beating yourself up and start reaping what the yoga has to offer.

The practice of yoga is not just a workout, it is a full-fledged way of life. You have truly devoted and committed yourself to live by what you stand for and it really sucks that you struggle with your practice. If you want to stop the struggle, get yoga-inspired tattoos! Your practice is in direct correlation of how many, and how large, yoga tattoos you have on the canvas of your body.

The Canadian Yoga Safety Commission (CYSC) continuously conducts research studies on a variety of areas including the influence of yoga-inspired tattoos on yoga practitioners. The information gathered in these studies serves as the guide for 200 hours Yoga Teacher Training Certifications all around the world.

Part of the CYSC's mandate is to provide objective scientific, technical and regulatory information to the yoga studio owners on yoga-related topics. A recent study, led by Dr. Jeff Holbrook and published in the May 2017 edition of the scientific journal Chronic Yoga Struggle and Injuries, has confirmed that the lack of yoga tattoos is associated with an increased risk of short and inadequate shavasana.

This study is important because it isolates yoga tattoos as the one of the main factor for an improved yoga experience. More often, the lack of tattoos are combined with yoga issues such as lack of motivation to do the practice, the chronically hunched over downwarddog, feeling tight, achy and sore around the neck, shoulders, and upper and lower back, as well as farting in the yoga class.

I experience anxiety and depression. In my life, I have fallen into despair and loneliness. So I started yoga because the physical practice helps me shift my physiological and psychological states, even if it's just for an hour. 

I got my first mandala tattoo last September, so now, I constantly remember that I am more than just my thoughts and emotions. I have a glimpse that there is something stable, pure, and beautiful within me. My version of mandala tattoo is the lotus flower. It stands for being whole, one in unity with the universe, and completeness. 

My invitation is... please get yoga-inspired tattoo to the mat. And bring your body too. 

Has the mandala tattoo helped me personally with yoga? Yes. It's one of the reasons that I am a yoga teacher now. The tattoo has given me an alternate form of income, when I'd rather just drink wine, eat cake, and watch Netflix. 

- Cindy, 33 years old, Yoga Teacher, Pasadena CA

I practice yoga for the last 30 days and I have OM (AUM) tattoo on my left shoulder. Have you ever seen how great yogis sit in the snow and how the snow around them melts away? I want to do the same! I want to melt the ice with my ass. It is my life's goal.

At present, I'm practicing with the ice from the fridge. I sit on the ice this morning and I can tell you... there is a great movement in the right direction. After only 5 minutes, my underwear was completely wet.

Without the tattoo I could not do this great accomplishment. My tattoo is written in Sanskrit, and offers different meanings for every part curve of the writing. OM tattoo helps me raising my personal vibration by doing specific energy work with my Higher Self. This frequency raising energy is necessary to melt the ice.

- Daniel, 42 years old, Ice Breaker, Toronto ON

There are some rules and guidelines that must also be observed when getting yoga-inspired tattoos. Since these symbols have specific and profound meanings, the illustration itself must also be just as specific and appropriate as well.

For example, the lotus flower’s number of petals are dependent on kapotasana. Eight petals are reserved for advanced ashtanga second series practitioners. If you can do drawbacks from standing to wheel pose and back you can get a tattoo with seven petals. If you can do just wheel pose then you should be satisfied with six petals lotus tattoo.

If you also have a Ganesha tattoo done on your back, it’s believed to bring a stronger kind of back so you can easily do pincha maryachasana — which is a longstanding belief passed on from Patanjali. As for chakras, it’s highly recommended to have all seven chakras placed on the spine to symbolize dormant energy that’s waiting to be raised and awoken to bring awareness to the body.