Thursday, December 13, 2018

How about you?

If you don't follow my blog but you came here from the Facebook "I Love Ashtanga Yoga" and "YOGA" and you just read one single article, you might wonder what I'm actually writing about. Well, I'm writing about yoga and awakening...

To be quite honest I'm just having a fun.

Writing a blog today is not easy. Everything is already written and all ideas are out there. The Google search just about anything imaginable will reveal thousands of articles. It can be confusing at a time. Anyway, my post What Does It Mean To Be An Ashtangi has been published by Elephant Journal. Nice, the editor changed "you" to "us" they say they do not like direct writing. It is okay, however I prefer writing directly.

Don't believe everything you read on the internet. That included news, articles, scientific and statistical reports... blog posts, especially blogs. People are writing all kinds of bullshit. Take for example my own blog. It is a kill-the-time endeavor. I'm writing for entertainment only.

Life is ridiculous! I mean, you were born on certain date and until around 2 or 3 years old you didn't know yourself, and then suddenly "I am" notion appears and you start knowing yourself. If you lucky enough not to go to kindergarten, very soon in school, you will find out that the life is some serious shit.

As a kid I wondered about many questions. 

Sadly, to this day, I did not found answers due to repetition, grades, discipline, useless tasks, socializing... step by step I became a person with desire to please others around me. Was that my  mother or father or my daughter, ex spouse, or boss, it does not matter. I lived my life for others until I became this old...

By living my life, every single day I am faced with a million little things that encourage me to take life seriously. I am self-centered so many things bother me. I am free to say that my life is nothing but one frustration after another.

When I say that I am  taking life too seriously, I mean that I'm turning everyday situations into problems, constantly on the lookout for shit to complain about and I'm worrying about a bunch of things that simply do not matter. My bare needs are a place to sleep, something to wear and to have two meals a day. Everything else is luxury to please my vanity.

Anyway, back to my childhood questions...

The first question was: Do other people exist when I am not in direct contact with them? I, as center of universe have all kind of relationships. I play my role as a father, brother, boyfriend, friend, lover, co worker, neighbor etc.. What if all these people that I know are here only as far as I am paying attention to them, when I am in a direct contact to them. Interesting.

The second question was even more mysterious: How can I leave something as a reminder of this life to my next life? And that brings me to third question: Did I left a reminder from previous life for this life? Did I? What that can be? I find the fact that I don't remember previous lives to be very cruel.

Next question that often came on my mind was: What if dreams are more real, than what I perceive to be my waking life? What if waking life is also just a fantasy.

Silly me, I would like to find answers on these and other interesting questions. It is useless to ponder about it but I like it. If I talk about this to other people I may be labeled as a freak. Truth and the world are two completely different things, and my world is distorted by my beliefs about what it is and what it should be. And yes, the world plays around my in my appearance, qualities, abilities and achievements. And I don't blame myself! I’ve been lied to my entire life.

Everything in this world, including my sense of myself, is FAKE. 

I am fake, my world, aspirations and desires, your family, friends, neighbors, teachers, idols... my country, my job, my interests, striving, hopes  and everything else... are one layer of lies on the top of another.

I realized that I live this life just for one reason - to see through this pile of shit, to see falseness of everything. But instead, I make life serious by setting all kinds of goals - to save money, to get rid of belly fat, to complete primary series, to visit Prague, to complete this asana, to swim with dolphins, to become rich, to be my own boss, to own my condo, to drive a Corvette, to find true love - the list, mostly mundane and predictable, is endless.

Unfortunately, this is what society wants from me. I live life where goals, timelines, and deadlines are normal thing. Society tells me that setting and achieving is the only way to lead a fulfilling life, and thus the only way to be truly happy, and they say, I also need to enjoy the process in between - the “journey,” they call it.

How about you?

I am writing this because I am straightforward. There is nothing here to be understood. I'm only telling you that my life is a lie and I think your life is a lie too. If I'm not so convincing, so what? You and I will continue living our wonderful life just as we did before.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Keep it as simple as possible !!!

Tuesday morning, 6 am, cold morning in Toronto, the winter is here. I have started liking being alone. Some of you think of “being alone” as a bad thing. It may mean I'm anti-social but actually only by being alone I'm really myself. Since I'm not spending so much time processing the thoughts and feelings of others, it’s the best time to turn my focus on what I really want...

I don't like the optimism, you know, hoping that something better will come.

Nothing better will come, getting old sucks big way. Whoever told you that with age you will become smarter lied to you. Fuck it. You were young and stupid and then you are not young anymore.

I really don't like optimism. Overly optimistic people have no clue how the real world works. They are totally fake, soft and weak-minded. They stick their heads in the sand and ignore reality thinking happy thoughts while doing nothing.

On another hand, I am not a pessimist either. I don't expect only bad outcomes, I am not gloomy, joyless and unhopeful. Well, scratch unhopeful. Although I went through so many disappointments, I don't expect the misfortune in my future.

I'm not a pessimist, I'm not an optimist, I am a realist. 

I have no clue if being a realist is something good to acquire, but I ended up here, in the middle of the bullshit. What does it mean to be a realist anyway?

Being realistic is not downplaying the good things in life and trying to see the bad as inevitable. I try to make no prejudice for what people believe and how they behave, I try to be impartial, with no judgments. Seldom I succeed.

The attitude is the thing. I'm a realist, and I'm here to set the record straight. Forget those glasses that can be half empty or half full, the glass could be filled to the brim or emptied to the last drop, it depends how thirsty you are, that’s how unpredictable life is. I make sense of the world, and that’s why I have advantage over general population.

We live in the universe where everything get spoiled.

I'm going to tell you a small secret of life. Things in life tend to go their own way just up to the certain point and then a little twist happen and things start to deteriorate and again events go until next little twist. In the end, if nothing is done, what was planned became quite different.

Take for example musical scale. The frequencies of vibration of the seven notes of the octave are: Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, La, Si. In this scale, there are 5 “whole tones”, and two smaller tones, so called half-tones Mi-Fa and Si-Do. It is natural representation that things do not go straight and that some other work needs to be done in order to achieve things as they are planned.

In any work where you wish certain outcome you have to recognize the "twists" and put additional effort. Let’s be honest; it’s great to always have a cheerful outlook, but it’s downright stupid to think that’s the only possible outcome. Be prepared for anything.

I don’t trust people and that’s a good thing.

I don't trust friends, relatives or anyone else. Once upon a time I did that and it turned out to be the one of my biggest disappointment of my life.

Do you think it’s so cute when you meet someone who automatically trusts everyone and believes everyone is full of kindness? Or do you think they’re incredibly naive? Many of you started out that way, until you discovered that not everyone is good inside and that you should have higher standards for who you trust, because some people will destroy you mercilessly to achieve their own agendas.

I believe in love, but I also know that women use the love to try to take advantage of me.

When I meet someone and I'm skeptical, open just to the point, it’s not because I honestly believe that every single woman in the world is bad. It’s because I know that a certain percentage of them are, and I want to carefully avoid them.

Everyone has had such people in their life, those persons who call you and want to hang out with you, find out secrets about you, and blabs them all over town. I'm naturally careful about who I let into my life, so I'm on the lookout for sketchy behavior.

It drives me crazy when people tell me that I shouldn’t be so negative or untrusting. Oh, do you want me to change myself? I am being realistic about life and the future, and I know that it helps me get through each day with as few complications as possible.

... keep it simple­čśÄ

Monday, December 10, 2018

Ashtanga Yoga Led Primary Series Class

I am practicing Ashtanga yoga for the last 12 years. I am 53 years old and I still do full primary series. For how long I don't know. I am not an advanced practitioner, far from it. I do struggle and here is the post about that. :)

My muscles are sore and I feel tired this morning. Last night I was on led full primary series in the local studio. The class was at 6:00 PM, it was packed, there were more than 20 people and energy was high. During the class, I tried to place my attention on mula bandha. It is really hard...

We started with the chant followed by Sun Salutations... 5 A and 3 B. I'm not quite sure what is the reason but nowadays at the lead primary class it is always 3A+3B or 5A+3B. I was taught that it should be 5A+5B. Anyway, in sun salutations I was stretching myself and I enjoyed the movements.

Padagustasanas, Trigonasanas and Parsvakonasanas were strong and I did it with precision and long breaths. I kept contracting mula bandha while I was pulling my stomach in. Teacher counted a long 5 breaths in each pose and my heart-rate increased.

I calmed the breath in Prasarita poses and Parsvotanasana. In Prasarita, my head is just an inch from the floor. Since I started daily practice, here, I see the most improvement. I'm hoping by next month or so I'll be able to touch the floor with my head.

In Uthita-hasta-padangustasanas my standing leg was not straight and I was fighting with the balance. Teacher counted so slowly and I lost balance and touched the floor couple of times. I was breathing heavily and mula bandha was nowhere to be found.

I did the modification for Ardha-badha-padmotanasana, I bend the knee and touched the floor with my both hands. I was feeling pain like something pulling out from the hips. Indeed, good hip opener but very unpleasant pose.

Utkatasana and Virabidrasanas were okay. I was breathing heavily and my legs were trembling. Long five breaths on each side so I felt we are in the poses forever. I could hardly wait to sit down. I noticed that I don't bend the legs enough like in sun salutation B.

Breathing heavily and sweating like in the rain, I sit in Pashimotanasanas. I tried to engage mula bandha as hard as I could. I used long ujai breathing in order to calm the heart. In Urvatasana I was refreshed and strong.

In Janu-sirsasanas I tried to save the energy as much as I can. Long inhalation and exhalations in the poses and strong arms in vinayasas. I used blocks for the vinayasas. I am learning jump back and now I can lift myself up, do the rolling and extend my legs back. For now, I can do that only with the blocks. Then I put blocks on the side and do jump through but that is not even close to how should be.

Maryachasana A was okay, B - done with modification, C - just stop sigh, I can not bind as I use to do it before (stomach fat issue), and D - done with modification.

Navasana, 5 times, 5 long counts, with straight legs. On the third time I started trembling and shaking, my heart started to beat faster... First time since we started the practice I was feeling tired. Yes I was accustomed to half primary class. But here I have to continue.

Bujapidasanas and kurmasana are out of my comfort zone so I did just modification, mimicking the poses. I was breathing heavily and I tried to reconnect with the ujai breathing and keep a kind of pressure on mula bandha.

I don't know how I did Pindasana and Kukutasana, I simply don't remember those poses. My mind went blank. My breath returned in Badha Konasanas and Padagustasanas. I felt a bit recovered from tiredness, my breathing become normal and I performed Setu-bandasana okay. I even did chakrasana.

Urdva Dandursana was performed 3 times with five breaths. I was quick and I did not follow teacher's count but I did it three times. I went straight to forward bend, my heart wanted to go out of the chest. The back-bend was so intense and I almost strengthen my hands. I felt warm and flexible.

I calmed the breath in Sarvagasana and Halasana. I was feeling the panic in pindasanas. My stomach was pressing me. OMG such a large stomach I have. I can see it clearly in these poses. Matsyasana was okay and I did Utana-padmasana too. I like those poses, they feel good for the back.

Sirsana - 15 breath counts. I was strong and I supported the pose by arms and elbows and very little by the head. I can not stand more than 15 breaths in the pose due to such balance or rather an imbalance, I am not relaxed into the pose.

I can not sit in the lotus position so Yoga-mudra, Padmasana and Utplithi were done with cross-legged modification. I was exhausted and when we stand for the last sun salutation I was so shaky. But my mind was quiet.

Shavasana I did not think. I did not have the power to think. I just lied down observing my trembling muscles.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Yoga after 50 and the end of midlelife crisis

Have you read the article in Elephant Journal, Yoga After 40 will kill you? I read it with a sense of nostalgia. Those were the days. Anyway, I am 53 and I practice Ashtanga yoga half primary, almost daily, and that makes me competent to write this article.

An unfortunate pitfall of being in the 50s is that you're at a high risk of getting disappointed and hurt by life. Maybe your life did let you down in certain aspects, kids are left, you're divorced, you are overweight, your sleep pattern is disturbed, you've started drinking a bit, you've started panicking about health issues, you've started asking yourself "is this all there is"...

After 50 you have reached maturity, you see that you cannot improve your reality, you can just lower your expectations. You have no hope that something better will come and you've realized that "expect the unexpected, believe in the unbelievable, and achieve the unachievable" is simple bullshit.

You're feeling as if you are unseen and unheard, although you still have hope but dammit if I know what you're hoping for. Elvis has left the building, you are feeling lifeless and lost and there’s none here to help you get through this crap except you.

If you are over 50, you should start challenging yourself by moving out of your comfort zone. The comfort zone is a killer. You've read enough inspirational quotes that encourage you to get out and do something strange, something you wouldn't normally do. So here it is, something perfect for you... YOGA.

There's actually a lot of science that explains why it's so hard to start and sustain yoga practice but don't bother, who believe in science anyway. This calls for strength, passion, determination and so much humor it hurts.

After 50, it's really important to push the boundaries of your common activities. Start your daily yoga practice but always wonder if it’s really about yoga? Always remember shit New Age girls say... Fake it until you achieve it.

I urge you to get out of your comfy couch and go to the downward dog. Your arms may be shaky. So what? Your belly might sways left, then right but eventually it'll settle into place. Pull it in. Remember your glorious 40s, oh well ... 30s.

Try to strengthen the legs.

Your hamstrings will protest, let's be forewarned, you will probably try to overstretch it until you get the muscle spasms. Try to scream, it may help. Keep holding downward dog pose. Push your arms through the middle finger, feel your palms... stay firm connected to the earth and breathe. WTF breathe my friend, with every breath, it is not going to be easier, just harder.

Suck your belly in!

Count the breaths, one, two, three... don't worry, you may take an anti-inflammatory drug after the practice so you can continue practicing tomorrow as well.

As far as I can tell your practice sucks, just as mine. You have to work out on your breathing, it is shallow. And you didn't even move from downward dog. Maybe one day you will learn to do jump-back and jump-through from this downward dog pose. Ah... Nah. Don't bother, you will never learn that.

When you reach five breaths or if you notice you gonna fell down, you stop. Get out of the downward dog and just stand. They call that Tadasana or mountain pose. Very important pose for people after 50s. You may hold Tadasana posture for 20 or 30 breaths. The variations are endless. What’s required is the willingness to keep standing, resist overwhelmed urge to lay down.

The great results of practicing yoga after 50 is a glorious condition of over-tiredness.

Most of the time you'll feel worse after practicing yoga. Yes, you are right, everyone else enjoyed the practice except you. Something wrong? You may practice for a month and you still cannot touch your toes. It made you feel inadequate. Yoga is a place where you don't feel good about yourself.

But nothing to worry about. Nothing better is awaiting you.

Oh, I forgot, after the practice, you may get neck, back, knee and shoulder pain. This doesn't include torn muscles, herniated disks, and carpal tunnel. Hey, listen to your own body, you will discover what hurts you, don’t assume that I know your body better than you do.

After 30 minutes of yoga practice, you'll look into the mirror and you'll no longer recognize yourself. After one month you'll have the desire to quit your job and do yoga for the rest of your life. After three months of practice, you'll start changing or investigating a new age philosophy.

Yes, maybe you're in menopause but your midlife crisis is over!

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Are you taking life too seriously?

It's now very common to hear people say, "I'm rather offended by that." As if that gives them certain rights. It's actually nothing more... then a whine. "I find that offensive." It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. "I am offended by that." Well, so fucking what. - Stephen Fry

Do you associate life with images of perfection? Like... perfect happiness in a perfect family with a plenty of sunshine and vegetables, with a perfect body doing even more perfect yoga asanas, and meditating in perfect green forest pursuing a wisdom to save the rest of humanity?

Are you living your life, waiting for the next moment to be better than this one? Well...

In any given year, 1 in 5 Canadians experiences a mental health problem. By the time Canadians reach 40 years of age, 1 in 2 has, or have had, a mental illness. The terms "mental illness" refer to depression, anxiety, delusions... general dissatisfaction and disappointment.

Did you know that only 25% of women are able to reach orgasm during sexual intercourse? According to long-term studies, 50% of women have the orgasm once in a month, 20% once in a year, and 5% never have orgasms.

Can you imagine? 3 of 4 women can’t feel complete sexual pleasure and there is at least 1 of 4 who has never experienced an orgasm – even after decades of having sex.

No wonder that so many women over 40 have lost their desire for sex, have been emotionally abused and are fearful, or think that there is something wrong with them because they don’t feel the pleasure that they hear other women talk about.

The problem of orgasm is just a tip of the iceberg of modern living. I blame the orgasm problem to the fact that you take the life way too seriously.

Every day you are faced with traps that encourage you to take life seriously. You are faced with all kinds of frustrations, turning everyday situations into problems, constantly on the lookout for shit to complain about and worrying about a bunch of things that simply do not matter.

You are very sensitive, your ego is big and you cannot tolerate simple truth. You get offended by rain, by look, gesture, words... especially words. "I am feeling offended" is an epidemic spreading across the world and the problem of sexuality is the consequence.

And I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you’re a carrier of the disease. It’s a mental condition whereby your ego grows up to the point where everything offends you. Symptoms may include hurt feelings, indignation, irritability, disappointment, grumpiness and an all-around allergic reaction to anyone who says or does something you don’t like. In one word - seriousness.

You try, you think, you plan, you work, and then there is no achievement. The thing that you desire never happens, it never comes. If life was a static, fixed thing - not dynamic and flowing - then you could achieve what you wanted, but then life would be a death. Life is life because it is dynamic, changing. You cannot predict its course, it is unpredictable. It is dynamic and flowing - always flowing nowhere.

If you are serious, then you cannot flow. Then you are frozen inside; then you become just a dead stone. Then there are resistances around you. You cannot melt, you cannot change as life changes. You have a fixed pattern, a fixed shape, and because of that shape you will resist change. Then you are not flowing with life, you are struggling against it. Seriousness creates frozen-ness, and frozen-ness creates struggle. 

- Life is Not Serious, Osho

The grand cosmic joke is that there is nowhere to go and nothing to do. You fool yourself for waiting. The life that you're having at this moment is all there is. This is it!