Saturday, June 05, 2004


It is one of those rare, perfect Chicago nights, neither warm nor cool and inviting everyone to come out and take a long walk -- full of the promise of a summer that we always forget will be unbearably hot and stinkyhumid and may end up opening up some housing stock by killing hundreds of old people .... So I am inside of course, writing this and making chai and, thanks to Bindi, listening to the Main Hoon Na soundtrack (note latest spelling). The neighbors are hosting a post-collegiate frat-party featuring beer and Toto and the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. Even Osco plays better music.

Manju's workshop was kind of brilliant on many levels, not the least of which is his laid-back, non-judgmental demeanor. *Love* a teacher who has nothing to prove.... Today we did a Mysore style self-practice, which over 3/4 of the participants seem to have heard of for the first time last night. When they found the cheat sheets in the other room their faces lit up like kids learning they could have not one but two! scoops of ice cream after dinner. Still they chose to do some wildly inventive, interpretative versions of the sequence; some even chose to copy us old-timers, following us in intermediate series poses after finishing their closing postures. One even did pashasana, etc after El Doctor, whose advice could *never* be construed as something other than sincere/constructive, suggested it might be a bad idea. It was in many ways priceless -- even having the two too-blue eyes of Ms. Orgasma (why do people make that sound during yoga?) boring into me during backbend (yes I stood up. Thrice. Also came up from Kapotasana, tho' it wasn't pretty). In any case our overall performance was enough to convince Manju that tomorrow he should do a led practice, "to break you of some habits." Indeed.

Afterwords me, Bindi and He Who Cannot Be Named (yet) and I enjoyed tender Thai coconuts (the water is nuttier-tasting than in India, and cold!). Then we took in too much thali at Mysore Woodlands, where I sat across the table from Manju and Bindi and sandwiched between Sudafed and HWCBN. Nothing like being in the presence of Manju and Sudafed and watching Bindi in her element with tomato soup with croutons and masala dosa and chai, just like at Mysore's Hari Prasad (only for a lot more rupees). 'Twas also nice to dish the dirt with her and HWCBN and learn a thing or two about Mine Own Personal Backstabber (suffice to say we are vindicated yet irritated). The pranayama and chanting of the shanti (peace) mantras this afternoon with Manju only served to stir me up (I *really* dislike retaining the exhale and actually saw stars today / felt faint); yet complaining with those two calmed me down. What is wrong with me? Perhaps I am further back on the path than I'd like to think.

Which reminds me. While I was supposed to be working last week I fell across an often-treacly (hey, whose isn't) occasionally-intriguing (in the way that The Shield is intriguing) Mysore blog, done by a "less-than-fit, recovering alcoholic lawyer" (his words, not mine). Suffice to say there's a gap of several weeks where the writer seemed to fall off the wagon *and* mix it up with the locals. ("The last couple of months have not been what I came to India for. A lot of drinking, casual affairs, movies, and pizza, interspersed with bouts of enthusiasm for ashtanga."). Well worth blowing off work for, but ya have to cut and paste to get there:

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