Wishing you a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, a Wonderful Winter Solstice, a Sumptuous Shabe Chelle, a Peaceful Pancha Ganapati and a Happy New Year!
Frances Wessels A Portrait of 89 Years from Jason Akira Somma on Vimeo.
(Image found here)
"We’re a mess. So the question has to be why, and the simple answer is that we live in a time and a place where we no longer need to use our bodies in order to make sure we are fed, clothed, and sheltered. Instead we live in a time and a place where we earn money to buy what we need, work primarily in static positions (hey look! I’m doing it right now!), and segregate our movement only to the small portion of time we may spend exercising. This lack of natural human movement is causing a plague of chronic pain and physical dysfunction, as well as contributing hugely to the disease processes of contemporary. culture. In short: it’s a big problem."
-- Brooke Thomas (BreakingMuscle)
"Flexibility and stretching does not decrease the chance of injury. Flexibility is the ability of an articulation to achieve a range of motion passively. For example, if you are passively doing the splits or passively sitting in a stretch, just because you can passively achieve a range of motion in a joint or articulation doesn't mean it will translate into an ability to utilize that range of motion in a functional movement pattern or a particular sport oriented movement... Mobility is flexibility plus strength and control...Just holding a static position doesn't get you to a point where you are strengthening the ranges of motion."
"Movement is big. Bigger than any specific movement discipline and it contains within it HUGE 'worlds' like the world of fitness, dance, martial arts, strength, flexibility, circus and more. Specializing is great - but beyond our specialties - we are all HUMAN first, MOVERS second and only then SPECIALISTS."
"One of the most basic principles of every single art form has to do not with what's there - the music, the words, the movement, the dialogue, the paint - but with what isn't. In the visual arts it's called the 'negative space' - the blank parts around and between objects themselves. The negative space allows us to see the non-negative space in all its glory and gloom, its colour and mystery and light. What isn't there gives what's there meaning. IMAGINE THAT."-- Cheryl Strayed
“You give a lot of great advice about what to do. Do you have any advice of what not to do?Don’t do what you know on a gut level to be the wrong thing to do. Don’t stay when you know you should go or go when you know you should stay. Don’t fight when you should hold steady or hold steady when you should fight. Don’t focus on the short-term fun instead of the long-term fall out. Don’t surrender all your joy for an idea you used to have about yourself that isn’t true anymore. Don’t seek joy at all costs. I know it’s hard to know what to do when you have a conflicting set of emotions and desires, but it’s not as hard as we pretend it is. Saying it’s hard is ultimately a justification to do whatever seems like the easiest thing to do—have the affair, stay at that horrible job, end a friendship over a slight, keep loving someone who treats you terribly. I don’t think there’s a single dumbass thing I’ve done in my adult life that I didn’t know was a dumbass thing to do while I was doing it. Even when I justified it to myself—as I did every damn time—the truest part of me knew I was doing the wrong thing. Always. As the years pass, I’m learning how to better trust my gut and not do the wrong thing, but every so often I get a harsh reminder that I’ve still got work to do.”
"love is not so incomprehensible as you pretend, sweet pea. love is the feeling we have for those we care deeply about and hold in high regard. it can be light as the hug we give a friend or heavy as the sacrifices we make for our children. it can be romantic, platonic, familial, fleeting, everlasting, conditional, unconditional, imbued with sorrow, stoked by sex, sullied by abuse, amplified by kindness, twisted by betrayal, deepened by time, darkened by difficulty, leavened by generosity, nourished by humor and loaded with promises that we may or may not want to keep. the best thing you can possibly do with your life is to tackle the motherfucking shit out of love. and, honey bun, on this front, i think you have some work to do."
"One of the basic principles of every single art form has to do not with what's there- the music, the words, the movement, the dialogue, the paint - but with what isn't. In the visual arts it's called the 'negative space' - the blank parts around and between objects, which is, ofcourse, every bit as crucial as the objects themselves. The negative space allows us to see the non-negative space in all its glory and gloom, its colour and mystery and light. What isn't there gives what's there meaning. IMAGINE THAT. "
"You might have heard of Jill Miller. Her new book, The Roll Model, is the culmination of years of yoga practice, injury, biomechanics research, massage experimentation, and recovery. There’s a lot to say about the book, but I’d like to close by focusing on a few out-of-the-way captions she writes beneath images of herself demonstrating difficult postures. The captions put talent in its place.
In the first (Kindle loc. 5707), she stands on two blocks in a forward fold so deep that she can flatten her palms onto the floor. The caption reads:
I am demonstrating a fairly extreme range of motion in this forward bend. Please do not try to force yourself into this shape. I use this image to make it obvious that this sequence aims to open the entire back of your body.In the second (loc. 5762), she’s in a mesmerizing expression of revolved side-angle. The caption:
I am demonstrating an extreme range of motion in this twisted side bend. Please do not try to force yourself into this shape. I use this image to make it obvious that this sequence targets the sides of your body.Finally, loc. 6494 shows her in three advanced postures, including padmasana. Here’s the best caption of all:
Just because you can do a pose does not mean that you should. These are poses that I have retired from my repertoire. Retired. They made my hips, knees, and spine click and pop and are not suitable for my body.I might be wrong, but I believe this is the first time in the history of yoga instructional literature in which a teacher/presenter has disclaimed images of their own achievements with the warning “Do not try at home.” It’s like the caption in the sports car commercials: “Closed track. Professional driver. Do not attempt.”
Here’s someone who has the courage to demonstrate a unique skill — a talent — that was maladaptive to her, and that she knows would be toxic for others to mimic. In a way, Miller is sneaking a paraphrase of Krishna’s key teaching in through the backdoor of a biomechanics manual: “It is far better to follow one’s own dharma poorly than someone else’s dharma well.” (Gita 3.35) Don’t imitate, says the avatar."-- Matthew Remski
No one ever told us we had to study our lives,
make of our lives a study, as if learning natural history
music, that we should begin
with the simple exercises first
and slowly go on trying
the hard ones, practicing till strength
and accuracy became one with the daring
to leap into transcendence, take the chance
of breaking down the wild arpeggio
or faulting the full sentence of the fugue.
And in fact we can’t live like that: we take on
everything at once before we’ve even begun
to read or mark time, we’re forced to begin
in the midst of the hard movement,
the one already sounding as we are born.
At most we’re allowed a few months
of simply listening to the simple
line of a woman’s voice singing a child
against her heart. Everything else is too soon,
too sudden, the wrenching-apart, that woman’s heartbeat
heard ever after from a distance
the loss of that ground-note echoing
whenever we are happy, or in despair.
Everything else seems beyond us,
we aren’t ready for it, nothing that was said
is true for us, caught naked in the argument,
the counterpoint, trying to sightread
what our fingers can’t keep up with, learn by heart
what we can’t even read. And yet
it is this we were born to. We aren’t virtuosi
or child prodigies, there are no prodigies
in this realm, only a half-blind, stubborn
cleaving to the timbre, the tones of what we are,
even when all the texts describe it differently.
And we’re not performers, like Liszt, competing
against the world for speed and brilliance
(the 79-year-old pianist said, when I asked her
What makes a virtuoso?—Competitiveness.)
The longer I live the more I mistrust
theatricality, the false glamour cast
by performance, the more I know its poverty beside
the truths we are salvaging from
the splitting-open of our lives
The woman who sits watching, listening,
eyes moving in the darkness
is reheasing in her body, hearing-out in her blood
a score touched off in her perhaps
by some words, a few chords, from the stage,
a tale only she can tell.
But there come times—perhaps this is one of them
when we have to take ourselves more seriously or die;
we when have to pull back from the incantations,
rhythms we’ve moved to thoughtlessly,
and disenthrall ourselves, bestow
ourselves to silence, or a severer listening, cleansed
of oratory, formulas, choruses, laments, static
crowning the wires. We cut the wires,
find ourselves in free-fall, as if
our true home were the undimensional
solitudes, the rift
in the Great Nebula.
No one who survives to speak
new language, has avoided this:
the cutting-away of an old force that held her
rooted to an old ground
the pitch of utter loneliness
where she herself and all creation
seem equally dispersed, weightless, her being a cry
to which no echo comes or can ever come.