Semi-Charmed Life

26Jul/102

Yoga to the People

I've been meaning to give Yoga a try for almost two years now, but like swimming, I just never got around to it. After I injured my ribs, one of my training buddies recommended that I give yoga a try. He said the stretching would probably help reduce the chance of injury in jiu jitsu. It also just so happens that another buddy of mine tried hot yoga for the first time a few weeks ago and told me about his experience. He told me it was the most intense and grueling thing he has ever done. To be honest, that description sounded pretty intriguing.

My original curiousity about yoga along with my injury and my friend's first-hand account of hot yoga, the stars were properly aligned and told me that today was the day I would finally give a stab at yoga. I was told to skip the hot yoga my first time around, being that I have absolutely no yoga experience. Although hot yoga sounded much more intriguing, I decided to listen and just went for vinyasa yoga to start off.

I went to the same place my friend went for hot yoga.

Yoga to the People

Yoga to the People is a unique yoga studio with the goal of recapturing what we consider to be the essence of yoga… simply put, yoga made available to everyone.

In a time where yoga as a business is getting a lot of attention, the fact that it is being priced out of many people’s reach is in direct conflict with what we consider to be the spirit of yoga itself. The question our studio seeks to answer is: Can a yoga studio maintain itself as a business while keeping the focus of its intention on providing yoga as a service first and foremost?

Exactly what does “yoga for everyone” mean?
We’ve heard from people all over the country that they simply can’t afford to do yoga on a regular basis. Yoga is an amazing form of exercise that helps strengthen, stretch and de-stress the body and focus and decompress the mind. We want to make it possible for everyone to do yoga regardless of economic limitations.
Yoga is meant to help strengthen and stretch your arms and legs, not cost you one!

What does “donation basis” mean and how does it work?
A donation is the sacred act of giving. There is a suggested donation of $10 a class. Suggested donation means that if you can put $10 in the box, please do. If you are not in a position to do so, contribute what you can. Nobody will be keeping track of individual donations. The $10 dollar donation is not meant as a bottom or a top limit… if you are in a position to donate more, it will be greatly appreciated.

YTTP is pretty awesome. They have several locations spread throughout San Francisco, Berkeley and New York. Check their website for more info.

My initial reaction after walking into the classroom? Wow. The place was packed with women. Lots of hot women. Jesus Christ! So this is what yoga is about all along? Where the hell has it been all my life.

Actually, I think my first reaction was: How the fuck can they afford all this on "suggested donations" alone? I mean, the building is in the heart of St. Marks, and it was like 3 floors full of practically free yoga. This is prime property and I'm sure it does not come cheap.

Anyway, I was in for a hell of a surprise. Yoga is a whole  lot harder than I originally gave it credit for. Some of the poses required a lot of core strength and balance. I was putting so much effort into it that I was wondering to myself how exactly this was all supposed to be relaxing and calming. People do this shit to meditate? Seriously?

It was a good workout though. It was also nice to think about my breathing. The instructor kept on telling us to take deep breaths, which did make everything a lot easier.

Hopefully I'll get to throw yoga into my schedule once or twice a week. I'm thinking two times a week but I'm not sure if that's realistic. I have also been adding core exercises to the end of all my workouts in an effort to hopefully strengthen the area around ribs so that they will be less susceptible to injury. This recent injury is already my second rib injury in two years.

This might be the result of years of lifting without every doing any abdominal exercises . . . muscle imbalances! At the end of all my workouts now, I throw in 3 sets of planks, holding them for two minutes per set. I also throw in 3 sets of chop lifts. I'm not a fan of traditional abdominal exercises because I find them boring, but these are not bad. I also get in a few sets of burpees. Burpees are fucking intense. I like them doing them though because it gives me a good cardio workout. Running feels like a chore, so I'd rather use this as my conditioning tool. Not the same, I know, but it's better than nothing.

I'm also starting to finally get the hang of swimming. I'm still missing a few small details here and there (breathing) but overall swimming is starting to feel really good. This past weekend one of my asshole friends pushed me into the deep end of the pool, and to my amazement I was able to not panic and make my way to the edge of the pool. Yes, that sounds ridiculously lame and simple but that's a big feat for me! Now I just have to work on breathing instead of holding my breath.

It seems like these days, my goal of staying healthy and fit is not just about lifting weights. Lifting is just one aspect, but more and more I find that I am taking on more natural activities to keep fit. It's more fun than just being stuck in the weight room all the time, that's for sure.

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14Jul/100

Prank of the Year – Undercover Karaoke with Jewel

I know I posted this in the previous entry, but it really deserves it's own post. This is one of the most awesome pranks I've ever seen. I love the crowd's reaction to "Karen" and how they root for her. If you ever wanted to know what your face looked like if you heard an angel sing, just watch the crowd in the video.

I'm not sure who the audience was more enamored with , Karen or Jewel.

Very cool of her to participate in something like this. If I was there, that would have made my night. I'd never stop telling that story to my friends if it happened to me. Hell I wasn't even there and it still made my night.

Undercover Karaoke with Jewel from Jewel
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14Jul/102

A Rant and Then Some

I am so fucking pissed right now. My mom made a completely emotional and irrational decision this weekend which will undoubtedly lead to a large financial loss on our end. She justified everything by saying that it will all work out in the end because she went to kau cim and the fortune said that it would all work out. My blood started to boil when I heard that. No mom, Guanyin will not be able to help.

I'm mad because most of the time, the burden falls upon me to make things right again. I have two brothers who are apathetic about family affairs and would rather spend their time and energy on their friends than contribute to the family. One of them is a little more responsible than the other, but for the most part they don't pay any mind to what goes on in the family.

What I'm most mad about is how insanely irrational my mom is becoming. It seems like everyday her paranoia grows more and more. There is always somebody out to get us. When bad things happen, it's because bad people made it happen.

Her paranoia coupled with her extreme devotion to Buddhist beliefs and traditions is a BAD combination.

At times it feels as if family acts as an anchor in my life, holding me down and keeping me from going forward. I don't expect people to relate to this, but it's a shame that my own brothers probably don't even relate to this. They're too busy having a good time.

But it's all okay now because I just watched this video for the third time:

Undercover Karaoke with Jewel from Jewel
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12Jul/105

Mr. Glass

Recently I've been sidelined with what I self-diagnosed as "separated ribs" from jiu jitsu. My partner had me dominated and I was all ready to tap to the armbar, but I in a last ditch effort to escape I popped something in my ribs. It was one of the most chilling and disgusting feelings I have ever felt. My ribs felt like they were popping out of my chest. My guess is I tore some cartilage surrounding the ribs.

Of course it should not be my job to guess. I visited the doctor last Saturday but I completely forgot to ask him about my injury! Most likely he was probably going to tell me to rest up, but I still should have brought it up. Instead, I was at the doctor's office for pain in my left ear and the left side of my head, especially after I wake up. The feeling subsides after a while, but it was out of the ordinary and better to check with the doctor than not. After a battery of questions and a few tests, he concluded that I most likely have an ear infection which was caused by my recent swimming endeavors. Sucks, but I'd much rather it be a mundane ear infection than something worse.

I'm also going back to a specialist this week to check out my ankle. Back in February I jacked up my knee while snowboarding. While I think my knee has healed since, the accident somehow has affected my left ankle. There are times when my ankle feels perfectly fine and then out of nowhere my ankle feels like it's sprained or broken or something and it hurts like crazy when I try to walk. Hopefully this will not be something that requires surgery. Better yet, hopefully this will be something that can be fixed since it's already been 5 months since my snowboarding accident!

Lastly, I think my eczema is slowly coming back . . . I'm trying really hard to keep it under control.

It must be a curse or something . . . I love all these physical activities but it seems like my body is never able to keep up. Maybe what my friend Kevin said is true, that my body was meant for playing video games.

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