Neglect and broken links

I have not been mon­i­tor­ing this web­site and the num­ber of bad links has bloomed to 45.  So far tonight, I’ve cor­rected 10, but I can see that I really need to rewrite some con­tent because some sites have dis­ap­peared from the Web, oth­ers have under­gone tech­ni­cal changes (con­ver­sions to Word­Press, mainly) and still oth­ers require greater research and explanation.

Taking a step back from blogging and yoga

It’s been a while. I have not posted any­thing here for three months, the longest period I have ever gone with­out blog­ging since 2000 (before this blog started in 2004, I had another blog at Peru­vian Graf­fiti). More­over, I have not writ­ten any­thing sub­stan­tive since last year, just a cou­ple of quick shots from the hip and photos.

Why? The yoga scene has changed

When I took up yoga, pranayama and med­i­ta­tion, there was only arch­i­pel­a­gos of con­tent online across the Inter­net. I had my list of a hand­ful of blogs, instruc­tional sites, and, of course, Yoga Jour­nal. Now there are abun­dant resources  avail­able on the Inter­net, from stream­ing classes to forums, so many that I have given up try­ing to track them. Any yoga instruc­tor worth their salt has a branded blog, with an apparel line, DVDs and books. More impor­tantly, regional por­tals are pro­vid­ing local cov­er­age of the yoga com­mu­nity, and diverse spe­cial inter­est groups (Yoga Ser­vice Coun­cil and Inter­na­tional Asso­ci­a­tion of Yoga Ther­a­pists, to name just two) are coa­lesc­ing around yoga issues.

Even in the early 2000s, the main­stream media rarely cov­ered yoga and related sto­ries so I found it help­ful to draw atten­tion to major news sto­ries and com­men­tary that showed the spread of yoga in Amer­i­can culture.  I get Google alerts about yoga news sto­ries every­day, and cov­er­age ranges from quo­tid­ian (new stu­dio open­ing on Main Street, park classes on Sun­day) to PR (the fas­ci­na­tion with yoga pants) to major (yoga macho Bikram Choud­hury loses his copy­right trial and the run­ning suit about yoga in Cal­i­for­nia pub­lic schools).  We even read about how the Indian gov­ern­ment and Hindu cul­ture is react­ing to the assim­i­la­tion of yoga within Amer­i­can soci­ety.  We even see yoga pos­tures show­ing up in com­mer­cials and med­i­ta­tion get­ting billed as the lat­est pro­duc­tiv­ity enhancement.

Yoga is mov­ing beyond nov­elty and  trendi­ness. Increas­ingly voices are com­ing for­ward to ask ques­tions about broader issues, to inter­pret major chal­lenges to how yoga is prac­ticed in Amer­ica (insert links here  when I have time to dig them up).

Given these shifts over the past decade, I find it hard to reg­is­ter in my two cents in the blogosphere.

Why? I’ve changed

Last Fri­day, I took my first restora­tive class in three months. I’ve not taken a hatha class this year. That does not mean that I don’t prac­tice yoga. I do every­day. I’ve inten­tion­ally down-​​throttled my prac­tice from “trying-​​too-​​hard” to just try­ing to mas­ter one pose, savasana.

When I real­ized that I did not want to keep up a run­ning com­men­tary of yoga events in the news and else­where or try “big think” on yoga in Amer­ica, I thought I could stay focused on my own prac­tice, an aging, white male in search of the dou­ble whammy of phys­i­cal exer­cise and mind­ful­ness, with heal­ing his sub­tle wounds as a bonus. But if my own prac­tice is lying motion­less on the floor, there’s not much to write home about. Of course, there’s a lot more going on under the skin, but that comes with its own risks.

I’ve also become more agnos­tic about yoga since about four years ago and even more so since I fin­ished my yoga teacher train­ing two years ago. Patan­jali does not make easy sense for me; releas­ing the ten­sion in my myofas­cial sys­tem does.

In a dif­fer­ent vein, my wife dis­likes that I reveal my inner life on the Web. I’ve become more aware of how the Inter­net gives unfil­tered access to any­one who wants to search for dirt. I think twice before reveal­ing my pri­vate thoughts. I’ve already writ­ten enough about my phys­i­cal and men­tal health for a prospec­tive employer to hes­i­tate before hir­ing me. With a name like mine, though, I have a degree of deni­a­bil­ity or secu­rity in num­bers. But just know­ing my LinkedIn or Face­book page would be enough to dig up my per­sonal his­tory or com­men­tary about my for­mer bosses or whatever.

Even mak­ing quick posts to Twit­ter or Face­book or Insta­gram makes me feel scat­tered all over the Internet.

So my orig­i­nal motives for blog­ging about yoga have faded, leav­ing me with the need to find another rea­son for writ­ing. It’s going to require me to write my way forward.

A couple of hours at NYC art galleries

I am just now get­ting around to pro­cess­ing all the pho­tos I took on a trip to New York City last month. After rid­ing a cruise around Man­hat­tan, we walked over to the art dis­trict and were bowled over by the num­ber of art gal­leries crammed into a block. It was late after­noon on Sat­ur­day so we did not see but a sam­pling of the exhibits avail­able. Sorry, for the time being, I don’t have the names of the gal­leries or the artists. We barely had time to take a few pictures.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Just breathe — it works!

From the mouths of chil­dren… I was feel­ing rushed and har­ried this after­noon and then I saw this video. ‘Nuff said.

Healing trauma through yoga reaches the miliary

The mil­i­tary is open­ing up to non-​​traditional ways of treat­ing trauma in vet­er­ans and wounded soldiers.

War­rior Pose — One way to help vet­er­ans with PTSD? Lots of yoga. – The Wash­ing­ton Post
Start­ing Fri­day night and run­ning through Sun­day, Thur­man and 17 yoga teach­ers from five states will be gath­er­ing at Yoga Heights in the Park View neigh­bor­hood of the Dis­trict for yoga for PTSD and trauma train­ing. The stu­dio will host work­shops specif­i­cally designed to heal and help vet­er­ans suf­fer­ing from both the emo­tional and phys­i­cal wounds of war.

I am late with the blog entry, but I have to reg­is­ter the article.

The matriarch of the Chavez clan has left us

Photo: bundled-up woman against snowy backdrop
Teresa’s mother, Maria Luisa, dur­ing a snowy visit in 2008

Yes­ter­day, Teresa and I received the painful news that her mother, Maria Luisa Car­rasco de Chavez Del­gado, had passed away after a long, grad­ual decline in her health in Peru. Teresa had been down to Lima to see her mother three weeks ago. Tomor­row, Teresa will fly down to Lima again, but this time to join her three sis­ters in lay­ing her mother to rest.

As the matri­arch of a clan  of sisters, Luisa (or Celeste to her inti­mates) wel­comed me into her home 43 years ago when I first fell in love with her daugh­ter. For more than 15 years, she lived right next door to us in Miraflo­res,  She is inter­twined with my mem­o­ries of Peru. When we moved back to the States in 1996, she came up for Christ­mas almost every year to visit with us and her other daugh­ters, grand­chil­dren and great grandchildren.

A critic’s eye

Photo: a bearded man and mature woman critique a painting
While we were out in San Fran­cisco, Matt showed us his art stu­dio at the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Berke­ley. Teresa exam­ines his lat­est work.

My son, who now goes by the name of Matt Smith Chavez,  is on his home stretch for a Mas­ter of Art Prac­tice at Berke­ley. He’s teach­ing an under­grad­u­ate course this semes­ter, and will do another one in the sum­mer. Grad­u­a­tion is only months away. Then, he’ll have to give up his funky, Bay-​​front art stu­dio and fig­ure out what he wants to do with the rest of his life. Mean­while, he just has to create.

This is another brief entry to show that I am still alive, but unable to carry coher­ent thought for more than a paragraph.

When at a loss for words, use a picture

Photo: sunset on the Pacific Ocean
The mag­i­cal moment on Half Moon Bay just south of San Fran­cisco, Novem­ber 2014.

I have not been writ­ing here much recently. I’ve been work­ing too much, not get­ting enough rest and exer­cise, and try­ing too hard. Hark­ing back to our fall trip out to see our son, Matthew, at Berke­ley, is the equiv­a­lent of send­ing a post­card on the Internet.

Dock on the Bay

Photo: woman poses with San Francisco skyline behind
The sky­line of San Fran­cisco can’t com­pete with my wife’s smile.

Of course, Maria Teresa is not in Cal­i­for­nia, but in Lima, Peru, deal­ing with her mother’s declin­ing health. We won’t be together for St. Valentine’s Day, but she’ll be in my heart.  The photo is from our trip in Novem­ber to visit our son, Matthew, at Berkeley.

Fall foliage among sculptures and cafe sippers

Photo: people seated in museum open-air cafe at the museum in autumn
Court­yard cafe at the DeY­oung Art Museum’s sculp­ture gar­den in Novem­ber in San Francisco