All this weekend I've been at a yoga workshop, consisting of a couple of sets of 2-3 hour sessions a day with a yoga teacher from Sydney. I was a bit fearful of going, partly because of my arm, but partly also at the thought of being surrounded by so many lithe and lissom yogi and yogini for a weekend. Because of the interminable imposter complex I suffer from, I feared being revealed as not green or herbal enough under scrutiny. There's a weird sort of intimacy that surrounds yoga: you do these very physical postures, often in clothing (lycra) you wouldn't seen dead in anywhere else, and sometimes do it in very cramped conditions. Yet you hardly ever talk to anyone, except maybe to say 'hi/goodbye' or to comment on the usefulness of those green recycling bags from supermarkets. If you meet a yoga person out-of-context, you probably don't do anything more than smile and nod. It's enough to make me wonder if yoga attracts particularly shy, driven, focused types (like me).
Indeed, the idea of dinner with yoga people at the yoga teacher's house was a little confronting. Yoga teachers in themselves are a bit like gods and goddesses. They frequently have spectacular bodies, they're capable of performing close to superhuman feats with those bodies, they talk about anuses earnestly and they give enigmatic, seemingly healthful advice with an Eastern inflection (actually, they're best not saying too much -- it's when they do, they sometimes start to give themselves away). The home life of a yoga teacher, especially the Iyengar ones with all those blocks and ropes and things, is a bit of a frightening prospect.
But anyway, the yoga teacher's house was pretty much like any other large old Territorian. We were treated to Ayurvedic food (of course), balanced for all the different body types (it was quite yummy, really) round a fire in the backyward. We also had to chant (a bit kum bai yah) and meditate for 15 minutes beforehand -- agonising, as my legs fell asleep up into my thighs after the 10. Then the Sydney yoga teacher gave a presentation of some of the more difficult sequences to some music that sounded like Moby-does-Hindu. It was the full on, scary, Flaxie doll stuff, evocative of contortionist routines from quest shows in my childhood. The most freaky thing she did (apart from folding herself inside out) was to 'stand' on a sliver of breastbone (i.e. the area a couple of inches under her collar bone). I've never seen anyone do that.
After dinner, we were treated to a DVD of a yoga class in NY just before Sept 11, complete with the 'stars' -- Willem Dafoe (what terrible teeth!) and Gwynneth ('my body's changed totally'). Lots of clips of normal people talking about what yoga had done for them -- you have to love Americans with their talent for stating the obvious at length. The yoga teacher's 4 yo daughter started yelling out 'boring! boring!' in the middle of the DVD. I guess she'll grow up to become a Supersize Me or something.
I was a bit annoyed at the thought of yet another extraneous ref to Sept 11, but the planes hits while they were filming, in fact, I think as they were bussing away from morning practice or something. Somehow, the horror never wears off; rather like the holocaust, I feel more rather than less horrified with each reference.
After the DVD, I hovered for a moment, waiting for someone to start saying 'thank you for the nice meal,' etc, but everyone just scuttled off into the night -- as yoga people do.
The yoga people were ok -- of course. There were the herbil-derbil types, but also the more middle-of-the-road types who for some reason had decided to make yoga their form of exercise. There's something about the casualness of Alice (a bit like eternal undergraduate days or something) where you can step out of your own everyday reality to mingle peaceably with people from other alternate universes.
The workshop was the most yoga I'd done in a short period for a while. (There were some aspersions cast on pilates, btw: 'short term effects', 'not a proper discipline'.) I was glad my left arm held up for the duration, tho it is somewhat more 'tired' than the right arm now. I think I almost have a problem with acknowledging that I bascially have the perfect result with my left arm...despite the considerable pressure that was put on me within and outside the hospital to have (some highly invasive) surgery to stave off permanent disability, which in no way looks as tho it's ever going to happen. In fact, I'd probably have a worse result with surgery (and I wouldn't have known this result was possible). Talk about mind games and withholding information.
During the lunch break today, I went and saw I, Robot before it went off. I thought it was just the right combination of brains and brawn for a Sunday afternoon. It deals with some similar stuff to AI, and a much more seamless film, but I think I probably found AI's treatment a bit more interesting, if a little weirder. Also, Joel Haley Osment was born to be a spooky child robot. The spooky/endearing robot in this film ('Sonny' -- more of that Freudian stuff) reminded me too much of my rather calculating former boss, two jobs back. Particularly liked the idea of the robot shrink for programming 'emotional intelligence' -- like what they're trying to instil in workplaces these days to make the masses more agreeable (or 'diplomatic').
The NT greens have organised a screening of Farenheit 911 here on Thursday... curious to go. Don't know if it will screen here otherwise.
I've stuck some photo albums on this blog -- they take a million years to upload (probably a reflection of my technology rather than typepad's). Some have been taken on a compact camera, the others on my new digital, which is supposed to be reasonably good. They look a bit dark on CD; the prints are better. I'm still a bit iffy about the quality of digital photography: it lacks depth of field and some of the flexibility re: what you manipulate the camera to take, in comparison to an SLR. I guess a digital SLR would be the best of both worlds.
Heard something on Radio National (perhaps on Dr Norman's show) about the carcinogenic dangers of talking vitamins. Tried not taking a multivitamin for one day and ended up feeling vaguely flu-y, so went back to vitamin-taking. My mother assures me I'd end up with kidney stones.
I read today that a punctuation pedant, appropriately named Ms Truss, is about to visit the country. I am greatly happified by this news.