We've been talking about yoga and acrobatics lately and so I've started to pay more attention to my posture while working on the computer or even while just walking around. And man, did I find it useful to slap on some desktops with apt reminders about good posture. I made a few so you can choose some you like and try if it helps you to sit straighter!
The two first include paintings by John William Waterhouse, and the pics in the fourth desktop are by Rus Anson.
. Here's my first ever podcast as promised! It's an interview with Lex Peters, a wonderful hooper who teaches acrobatic yoga in Philly. Our talk is transcribed below if you'd prefer it that way.
What is acrobatic yoga and how is it different from Acro-yoga?
Acrobatic yoga focuses on the acrobatics. Myself and three other coaches - my coaches are the women that I collaborate with, they are my 'flyers' - we have a very different approach to the sport. One is the terms that we use. Since we're all ex-gymnasts and dancers and capoeristas, it was important for us to maintain very clear language. We couldn't use any terminology that would seem to obfuscate what we were doing and the truth is, to try to name each and every move was the most monumental thing ever. And it would just become the most abstract, most unclear thing you could ever experience because the names would just not make sense anymore. So we just chose to stick to terms that were readily available and utilize English language. So, the language is different, first off.
Second, the alignment that we use is very much gymnastics, dance and acrobatics alignment. We frown upon the flexed feet, bent legs, unless it's a very specific move, other than that we never point of bent knees. Those things we just never do. It doesn't even make sense to us. So we use very, very, very, very rigid gymnastics, ballet and acrobats alignment. If you look at us you can see that right away.
Are there any other differences?
We move a lot. If you look at the acrobatic yoga and you compare it to with a lot of acro-yoga, they don't move as much as we do. We like to move a lot. And it's not to say it's a fault or a limitation of acro-yoga, it's just not something that you see a lot of. And I guess it's safe to say we have ADD.
What about the sharing of acrobatic yoga?
Information that we share, this is another place that we differ, is that we don't care too much for keeping it locked away so we have done a lot of sharing.
You have made some free tutorials. Where can I find them online?
In the summer of 2009 I got heavily interested in object manipulation, particularly the contact staff. I saw a man name Lee Majors do it who's kind of like, a very influential Burning Man person here in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. And I modeled that behavior off him. I said, you know what if Lee does it, I'm gonna try it too. And being naturally competitive, I'm going to really, really get into it, you know, and be the best I can.
So what happened is that I just got really focused on it and I was on the internet one day looking for tutorials. And then I see some people doing the sport where, you know, people are on their feet and they're moving them around and stuff and I was like, confused, for like three, four months. I was like what is this sport, I don't know how you spell it. Is it acro-space-yoga, is it acro-dash-yoga, you know, is it capital-A-acro-capital-Y-yoga, all put together you know, concatenated, I didn't know. But all I know was that I was a little confused and then I figured out it's just acro-yoga.
What happened next?
From there it just took off, you know, it was easy to reverse-engineer the sport because it was so simple to me. Well look at it, it looks like you're just spotting a person, you know. And being a coach in gymnastics and a coach in adult gymnastics and for younger people but mostly for adult gymnastics for the last six years, it was like a joke. I was like, oh my God, you're just spotting each other. So, there you go. I made up my mind that I was going to try to do this because I really wanted to do this. I used to do acrobats back in the last century, well, it's a long time ago and I had to stop because I didn't have a partner anymore, I didn't have the facility to train at, and now I have the most ultimate situation. I have really good partners, and a really good environment to train. So if you ever wanna train, come to Upper Merion School of Dance and Gymnastics Center. We teach acrobatic yoga there on Saturdays.
How long have you practiced acrobatic yoga?
We started in June, 2009, and it's now December, so that would be one year and six months. And we've done a lot in such a short time.
Do you need prior experience in yoga or acrobatics to take up acrobatic yoga?
You need no prior experience. What you do need is a willingness and openness to explore the unknown, a healthy environment that encourages you to push yourself and a willing partner.
Now there are certain things that you can have as experience that can give you a very, very obvious advantage. One is an extensive dance training background. What that does is it helps you, particularly ballet, I can't speak for any other dances because I don't know them that well and coach Christine she's a phenomenal ballet teacher and a practitioner from the early ages of maybe 5 or 4. And what the ballet does it gives you a lot of body alignment training so you get the very nice tight pointed toes, long rigid tightness of holding your body really stiff to execute certain things. And you know, you get the balance training that comes with ballet, standing on hands and things like that, or being upside down, or certain moves that acquire lots of balance will absolutely be more easier for you because you can feel the mechanics of what's going on in the movement.
Coach Erin is a capoerista and her experience is, well first off, Erin is an amazing person because she's just a really athletic woman and she's done very well physically with many activities. Anything like capoera because it teaches you to be upside down, the movement is very demanding so it builds a lot of strength and that will give you a nice advantage. And then, gymnastics. Any gymnastics experience, one year worth of gymnastics experience in the age of like, 8 to 9, you would just be a superstar in acrobatic yoga. Yeah those individuals do have an advantage in many ways and if you have extensive gymnastics experience well then, you can pretty much redefine the sport in any way you want.
Who would you recommend acrobatic yoga to?
Everybody. I think that as long as you're interested in changing your range of motion and increasing your strength then this will do it for ya. If you want to work to train your balance this sport will do it for you. If you have lots of injures but you still want to be athletic and do really, really crazy stuff, this is the perfect sport for you, it beats out shuffleboard. If you're a senior athlete, it beats out shuffleboard. I kid you not, it's the most amazing sport ever. I've had the most amazingly tremendous changes in my body from practicing acrobatic yoga so I recommend it to anyone.
What has acrobatic yoga given you?
Cleavage. I've got chest muscles now. I tried for many years to acquire man chest muscles and it failed. So now I have a summer body I can be proud of because of acrobatic yoga. It's given me the ability to learn how to communicate really well with someone when you work with other people. It's improved that tremendously for me. It has increased my range of motion. It's made me feel really good about myself. It's an ego booster. It makes you feel better because it's physical, in an extreme way because we have pushed it in that manner, and it gives me the excitement and thrill of creativity because we invent so many of our moves. And this is another really important part of why acrobatic yoga and acro-yoga is so different. If you look at our vocabulary, the things we've done, it's insane! We've covered so much stuff. We have invented so many moves, so many sequences, so you know it's really what makes us who we are in particular.
What else do you enjoy doing?
I'm a big hula hooper. I enjoy hula hooping a lot. I enjoy contact staffing. I love making furniture. I love reading about the world, the news. I love thinking about what makes for great marketing when it comes to acrobatic yoga. I love the business side of trying to figure out how to market and acquire paid gigs for acrobatic yoga performances. Umm.. If I told you anymore I'd have to kill ya. [Suspense horror movie music!]
Is there something you would like to say to all the sweet readers of my blog about anything?
Yes! I would love to let them know that you are a very influential person. You've touched my life in the short bit of time that we spent together and I'm sure that you've probably done that to many other people too because it just happened too easily and too well when we first encountered each other.
Thank you...too sweet... :) Anything else you'd like to finish us off with?
Ok, I am a strong believer in open source. Open source - knowledge belongs to no one. And because of that, that's been a very pivotal driving force behind why I give away acrobatic yoga knowledge as much as I do, as much as we do. The path to self-improvement should not be one of, you know, lack of information or financial funds. That just seems wrong to me. And you know, I'm not a rich person, I by no means can go to yoga events across the country or other pat of the world, I can't subsidize that kind of you know experiences and I don't see why I couldn't be able to acquire the kind of…you know, and develop myself as in the way that I want to. So part of me, doing what I've done so far with acrobatic yoga, revealing as much as I can and sharing as much as I can have a lot to do with me removing those barriers or minimizing those barriers so other people like myself that would want to do this sport and excel at it..So that's something that I.. If I were to be known for anything that would be one thing I want people to know that is a really main, important part of what influences my practice and yeah, without that, it would be something that I would have a hard time with if I couldn't share it with as many people as we have so far.
So death to the guru on the mountain top, far, far away on K2, and you have to pay 10 000 dollars to go see him and buy a guide, let that person know that their time is over and the internet has liberated information. And I only hope that continues to encourage and increase the rate at which we learn as a species. Long live Acrobatic Yoga Motion Design!
I put a link to your website here on my blog, are there other ways to get in touch with you?
Check us out on Facebook, facebook.com/acrobaticyoga and if you're in the area, come check us out, if you wanna learn some really cool stuff and you're adventurous enough, get a partner, go over to our website, review our tutorials, see what you can learn and if you feel so kind, patronize our classes and purchase our complete DVDs, we have four of them so far and we're gonna make more.
Thanks so much Lex for giving us a glimpse into acrobatic yoga and for inspiring us with your positive, robust and radiant sound vibrational presence. Take care everyone and have a good day!
Last Christmas we parked our van-house at the Staples (an office equipment store) parking lot, surfed their free wifi, watched Esoteric Agenda online and ate chips. That's all I remember. This year will be no exception. I have made grand plans for parking at a Wal-mart parking lot near Baltimore (since they welcome people to camp out in their parking lots). We will eat veggie pizza and watch Star Wars (since I've never seen any of them so might as well).
No, this post is NOT an advertisement for Wal-mart. Yet here's a little video Philip shot of me goofing around the store's lighted Christmas trees.
At the end of September I was at the Parade of Chariots in Philly. It's a Krishna festival that happens every year - at first a parade through downtown and then lots of stuff happening in Love Park. I didn't do the whole thing, I just sat down in the park, played my harmonium, chanted and people picked up some free magazines about the meditation.
Later I wandered over to the stage where they had bharat natyam dance, dramas, music and such. A kids' band was playing these hilarious songs. This is where I saw a guy with a hoop and had to talk to him. We ended up hanging out the whole evening and surely we rocked it out to the kids' songs too. You can see a video of me here. And here's Lex:
Lex teaches acrobatic yoga and recently I interviewed him about it. I will share our talk with you guys in a day or two. Until then! <3
. Often when I talk with people about meditation the question of drugs comes up. Many describe how the psychedelics help them open their mind to new perspectives, push the boundaries of their understanding, and reach higher and higher meditative states. (Check out this website with drawings from a guy who took LSD and made portraits throughout the trip - they get interesting!) Obviously, your perception changes on drugs. And after the drug leaves your system, your perception pretty much returns to how it was before the experience.
Our senses cannot perceive spirit
The problem with drugs and spirituality is that spirit is different from matter. Although spirit has variety, it is anti-matter and not perceivable by our material senses - sight, touch, hearing, taste and smell. We do not really have an entrance into spirit with anything we experience this world through; our senses, mind, or even the intelligence. Spiritual realizations and experiences are blessings that are given to us when we demonstrate sincere desire and effort to receive them. They are not something we can gatecrash our way into by any material means. Matter simply cannot "reach" spirit.
I have heard so many stories how people feel drugs have benefited them on their journey. But also I have heard even more stories of how at some point they realized that this is not necessary - it is actually more of a distraction. Basically, if spirituality is what you really want, you don't need drugs. If what you want is fascinating experiences of the reality melting before your eyes and trips that knock your socks off and then some, drugs may do that for you.
There is an element of selfishness in drug use
I don't have a problem with people doing what they want as long as common sense is involved. But I have a problem with people saying that drugs and spirituality go together. I understand that anything can inspire someone to begin or deepen their journey and that's fine. But an element of selfishness easily sneaks into drug use even if your intention is to widen your perspectives and grow as a person.
You are indulging in something external and material with the expectations that this will give you something great. All you need is within you already, maybe dormant, but it's still there. And by thinking that you need drugs to access the truth, you are actually covering the truth that much more.
Galileo Galilei says it well
I don't know how popular this post will make me in certain scenes :) I don't mean to get on anybody's case, I'm just sharing my thoughts on a question I hear often. What do you think?
This pic is not perfectly related but just to lighten up: I met these guys a while back and they didn't mind me taking a kind of a funny pic of them with their...party gear. I thought the quote just somehow goes well with it.
Yesterday me and Philip were at the Princeton University, met with students and passed out Bhagavad-gitas to those who were interested. Surprisingly many were actually really into it. Anyhow, being a quote maniac, I couldn't pass these walls without taking some pictures. This is a cool idea and totally doable. If I had more walls I would totally paint my favorite quotes on them.
For some days now my Bird Dance hoop video has been spotlighted on YouTube and as a result it's gotten 25,000 views so far. I've come across awesome individuals through this but also realized that many people get a kick out of criticizing others in the comments. To all those people (to their annoyance?) I would like to say that you are very much loved and I'm not offended by your stuff :) But I do remove all of it. . I personally cannot live if my space is negative and want to offer everyone else that positive space as well. Since I was a kid I tried to make all arguments around me end and to get people to let go of the negative emotions and 'go back to the normal'. It just gives me enthusiasm when things are positive and people are not on any weird trips. My goals get accomplished with much more focus and with much less time and emotional strain. . Here are four ideas on staying positive that I use every day. Maybe you'll find them helpful too! . 1. Albert Einstein said: "In the middle of every difficulty lies an opportunity." When you're bummed out don't just bum out. Introspect. Figure out what is the deepest cause of your hurt at the moment. Perhaps it's some insecurity, guilt, disappointment - find out as exactly as you can and make a plan to heal or improve on this deeper issue. Don't make the plan too ambitious - keep it simple so that you will actually follow through with it. This way you can turn a weakness into a source of strength and growth. . 2. List ten things that you are grateful for, out loud. If possible, tell them to someone else. This practice has tremendous power of transforming your whole outlook on life. It helps you to open up and see the world in a whole new light. Instead of 'poor me', you'll see 'rich me' - rich with so many blessings that can easily be taken for granted. Thank the Source for them. . 3. If someone does you wrong, see them as an instrument of your karma. They are teaching you a lesson in patience, humility, or whatever it might be. Don't get angry at them - rather ignore them - but also remember that maybe you did the same thing to someone else in a past life. This attitude can immediately ground you again. Even when I hit my head or hurt my toe instead of bursting out in a stream of swear words, I whisper "Krishna! It hurts! But I'm happy my karma is burning away!" Disclaimer: Apply common sense to this vision - if someone is outright abusing you, don't tell yourself it's just your karma - get help! . 4. When you notice your mind tricking you into gloomy thoughts, speak to it as you would to a child. Mind is quite a thing. If it's not regretting or lamenting on the past, it is worrying about some future thing. In both cases, you're living in illusion because only the present is reality. But mischievous and lazy as the mind usually is, you have to bring it to the present and under your control intelligently. Say, "Dear little mind. Haven't you played around in the poopy bad thoughts enough already. You're so dear to me, please stop acting all self-righteous. Stay right here in the present where we can actually be happy." YES! It's possible to control the mind and it's possible to stop identifying with an unhealthy emotion in an instant. Just come back to your positive place of awareness and tell your mind to follow. Remember, you are not your mind, you are the consciousness operating above mind. . 5. Think big. Set big goals. You might as well.And celebrate your little, and big, successes. Don't ever be discouraged. This is a quote from Guy Finley that sums it up sweetly: .
"Discouragement is a negative emotion with more than one trick up its dark sleeve. It tricks you into mentally or emotionally dwelling in the very place you want to leave. Drop all such sorrow permanently by daring to see through this deception of the unconscious mind. You have a destination far beyond where you find yourself standing today."
What can I say, I love Prabhupada :) He's the spiritual master who brought Krishna Consciousness and the chanting of Hare Krishna to the West in the 60's. Here he is interviewed by this funky San Fransisco interviewer.
. This is a post written by Eternal Voyager, published on Hoopcity. Please take action (sign the petition, for example) and tell your friends about this! . I don't know whether you guys have been following the story of Wikileaks. Even if you normally don't care much about politics, please take a minute to read this because the outcome of this will really affect the future we will live in. The fight to destroy Wikileaks is a fight against democracy and transparency. If Wikileaks loses and we don't do anything against it, the world is seriously frakked. There are small things you can do to help Wikileaks (end of post), but first for those of you who haven't been following the story:
"Wikileaks aims at being a safe place for airing documentation of corporate or governmental misdeeds. It is a safe haven for anyone, anywhere in the world, to submit sensitive information that can then be read by the public, with the ultimate aims being transparency and justice through public communication."
In a recent series of events Wikileaks has been branded as a terrorist organisation and charged with espionage and treason among other things. The reasons for this is that it has revealed many illegal activities of the US government, for example their diplomats spy on their allies as well as on UN workers (highly illegal). The US govt is doing everything possible to suppress and destroy Wikileaks, and putting enormous pressure on Switzerland (where Assange, the founder of Wikileaks currently is). Assange is also getting death threaths, some targeted at his children.
US Military personnel and anyone working (or wanting to work) in the govt are threatened to not read the Wikileaks. The US govt is talking about cracking down on the free internet and starting to censor it.
Boycott Amazon and Paypal, and let them know why. (Hint: because Amazon has stopped hosting Wikileaks and Paypal has cut off its donations). Strangely, Amazon is not above making money from the whole thing: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B004EEOLIU
Light a candle for the victims of the crimes that Wikileaks has revealed
Send good energy to the Assange and Bradley Manning, the guy that is imprisoned under accusations of leaking documents.
"Revealing crimes committed by the State or its agents (under the euphemism of "State secrets") does not hurt American interests, endanger American lives, nor is it treasonous or otherwise criminal. What hurts American interests, continually endangers Americans both at home and abroad, and is criminal to the highest degree, is committing those crimes in the first place."
It's easy! Just come to Omwoods. LOL! These are my recent favorites:
Couldn't help but add those fairyish ladies although the last one looks creepy especially the breast area. Anyhow, hope you can utilize some of this!
I'm off to Indiana and back to North Carolina the next day (about 13 hours there and 13 hours back). We're picking up a roof for our van to replace the one we have on it now. The new roof will give us SPACE and I'll be able to STAND UP in my van-house :D Philip is still going to be too tall to stand up all the way but this will make our lives a bit more...hedonistic? Haha! So I'll see you all when our intense trip is done.
Please take a few seconds to send out some good vibes and prayers so our engine doesn't break on the way, it broke like three times past 5 days. Ok, I gotta go to sleep to get ready to drive all rest of the day/night. Remember folks, we drive on waste vegetable oil so it's practically zero harmful emissions! :)
- small fairy and magic princess figurines (unicorns are fine)
- Whole Foods gift card
- white and grey thick cotton stockings from Indiska store in Helsinki, Finland (You may have to get in touch with your Arctic helpers on this one thank you very much. Tell them to go to Forum or Kamppi Ostoskeskus)
- lastly, tell your elves and elvinettes to chant the mahamantra once or twice (Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare) because Santa, I'm a mahamantra junkie and this is the bug I want to spread so let me know how many can give me this gift ok!
Continuing the 30 Days posts on set topics. Day 5 - Your siblings
I have two younger sisters, Minna and Kaisu. I was 3 years old when Minna was born and got her name. I went around telling people, "We have a new dog. Her name is Minna Elina." Obviously I was a bit jealous of losing my position as the only child and focus of my parents. I once threw a cassette tape at her eye but mostly she always emerged victorious in our fighting. I was a really mellow kid and Minna was on fire. When she was like 2 years old she won me in wrestling. Continuously.
She is a photographer and loves animals. She takes care of homeless cats and dogs until they find a home. I remember going to her small apartment with like four cats and three dogs running around. She has a heart of gold. Both of my sisters are vegetarian. This is Minna looking all Bob Dylan.
Here's a few more pics of her, older and new.
Kaisu was born when I was 7 years old. Me and Minna used to put baby-Kaisu in a laundry basket covered with soft pillows and pretend she was our puppy. When she would cry we were like, "Stop barking!" Oh it wasn't as cruel as it sounds :) Kaisu is an artist and a total gentle free spirit reality warrior. She doesn't take any crap from anybody and isn't afraid to follow her own path. Nature inspires her. She always goes to forests and such. She has long days of school at Helsinki's Aalto University studying textile arts. Yet she wakes up early in the morning and chants Hare Krishna in front of a beautiful altar she made. She hoops too. Here she is with Sara:
See how the dogs are after Kaisu's honeydew melon :)
I miss my sisters a lot - they're in Finland and I only get to see them once or twice a year.