It’s not yoga, until it is.

It’s not yoga, until it is.

…big, deep breath in…an accepting exhale out…

And now, I will be the first to admit that I have been flexible all my life (after gymnastics through my childhood, I turned to ballet during adolescence and young adulthood), and I had to reckon with myself a while back that I’m not “just flexible;” I have had to continue to work to remain flexible. But with that said, I am coming to a new reckoning, one of which I am far less proud. Okay, I am going to say it now…I’ve been using yoga as a means to an end and then, simultaneously, wondering why I am not feeling satisfied with “yoga,” in general, and honestly, I have come to an awareness that is bringing up a lot of things for me, namely: frustration, anger, confusion, bitterness, jealousy, rejection, etc., etc., etc., and the only happy thing I used to feel about yoga was my “progress”…my physical progress. Especially since I have never been a fan of the “spiritual” realm of yoga, I find now that the spiritual is unavoidable.  

For starters, my entire relationship with yoga was stretching every day so that I could reach the “heights” of those crazy contortionist “poses,” and with the proliferation of yogis on social media, my approach seemed like the point—when following westerners who perform yoga. Even the yogi whom I followed for years preached a simple lesson through her social media that seemed to say something akin to … stretch, stretch, stretch, work, work, work, and you will become flexible, better, more capable simply by stretching. Now, I know this is completely the wrong focus. Yes, I could easily blame the yogis who proliferate a bastardization of yoga. Yes, I could easily dismiss the situation entirely and delude myself into believing that I had it all right, and so, it doesn’t matter that I used to do yoga the “wrong way.” But what I’m realizing now is that I had it all wrong from the beginning. 

Toward the end of my university days, I began taking yoga classes to stay limber (dancing full-time no longer challenged me intellectually enough), and I hated them all, and the classes birthed within me a sheer annoyance at the whole system, the whole process. It always felt so fake, so contrived. So, I moved online. I watched a few YouTube videos and meandered through the IG yoga community trying to figure out not only what yoga is but also, what yoga can be to me. Ten years later, I am finally beginning to figure it out, with the help of my newly-discovered yoga light, Angelica Marie Wilson. Of course, I had no idea Angelica existed a mere two weeks ago.

After the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, which is now a new lifestyle for me, I scrambled to ditch the white yogi who made no effort to amplify the voices of her fellow yogis in need. Unfortunately (in my mind at the time), Kino MacGregor, a yogi at the top of the online yogi-sphere, about whom I have had a lot of opinions, did her duty and amplified about half-a-dozen black yogis she thought appropriate for her followers to follow (she could still do more promoting, imho, but I understand that she feels she does enough simply by being herself, and I am beginning to agree). Thus, Angelica

And then, I did the thing I thought I’d never do…sign up for (a free thirty-day to test out the process) membership to Kino’s online yoga site, Omstars. Obviously, I’ve known about the site for years, but it’s Kino, and I am not a fan, thereby, not a supporter. She has always felt a bit opportunistic, enterprising, insincere, as if yoga were a means to a wealthy end. But what’s wrong with that? I’m opportunistic and enterprising and probably insincere at times, but it’s yoga, and yoga is supposed to be…what?…exactly. 

After two classes with Angelica, I am beginning to open in a way that I have not really connected to through yoga and through my interaction with black yogis on social media. I am about to paint with a broad brush here (and I am no expert in anything, not yoga, not nothing), and I hope that it doesn’t tinge too brightly of racism, but I feel I must say it, even if I’m wrong right now, in this moment—white yogis focus on results—black yogis focus on process. As superficial as this observation may seem, it is only that, a mere observation, as I do not know any of the yogis I follow online, personally, but I can see it in the pictures they (both white and black alike) post, the types of photos they take, the image that they contrive or convey, the postures they choose and the lighting that goes optimally with each. 

And so, I suppose I do not really know what to say except, “Thank you.” Thank you to you, Kino, for being the way that you are because who you are is one who builds, and upon that platform, you’ve built more opportunities for yoga. I do not have to understand you, nor do I have to believe you or even like you, but it is my choice to have faith that you teach for the reasons that you say, and that you do what you do out of the goodness of your heart, for you truly know that yoga can change a life. But mostly, thank you, Angelica, for being the light that you are. Two classes in, and you’ve transformed my yoga practice and by extension, my life. I cannot hope to come to any further awareness or insight than I have today (in the “Crystal Ball of the Present” —AMW), but I am aware of my gratitude for the yogis who are here to guide me through life through light and a focus on all that is meaningful…through the process, with each posture a mere reflection of the work I’ve done on my mat. Thank you.

What day is it?

What day is it?

Welcome to |how.odious| Year Two, DAY ONE HUNDRED EIGHT, which happens to be Monday, February 06, 2017!

The day is actually, Sunday, but I am overwhelmed by the week’s forthcoming fiction quota and thus, have opted to write my [mediocre] Mundane Monday post today, Sunday, so that I can fucking focus solely on my fucking fiction production. *burp* Please pardon the obscenities, I am currently enacting a vodka-fueled writing session. Or don’t pardon them; I belch all sorts of obscenities on the regular.

As far as the past week is concerned, nothing much has happened. I did, however, officially begin my full 7500-word fiction quota per each metric week [ten days] with the first due date requiring 7500 words happening last week, on Thursday. I have to admit that it wasn’t actually as hard as I had initially imagined, but now that I know that, the ten-day quota will slowly become larger and larger until the ultimate end on July 2nd of this Gregorian year whereupon I must have, at minimum, 150,000 words of fiction for my second book, which will then be edited, tweaked, torn apart, and altogether unrecognizable. Ugh.

Oh, before I forget, I failed to write a coherent post last week due to inapproprio-city and the fact that it was one of the longest breaks for the lifemate, which always incites hardcore, drunken debauchery and a general lack of care for the responsibilities of adult life. Despite this, I was able to meet my fucking fiction quota! And I felt like a straight-up boss. Today, the feeling is less than desirable, since I haven’t written a single word of fiction since last Thursday. This is mostly due to a lack of inspiration and partly to do with my overwhelming laziness. I also have a pretty righteous cold, but that’s neither here nor there. The good news is that I have an idea and so, will get my ass in gear this week to pump out those godforsaken 7500 words due this coming Sunday.

Shit, I forgot to write the thing I wanted to write about before I forgot! My English student, SJ, stopped by my house last week to bring me a 설날 [Lunar New Year] gift! She and her family brought me a huge helping of black-sesame-covered rice cakes and her grandma’s kimchi! Both treats are of the utmost deliciousness! I can’t even express to you the amount of deep joy the reception of these two items of traditional Korean eats made me feel. A picture:

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The rest of our New Year celebration consisted of eating, sleeping, and drinking. We bought a shift ton of groceries to get us through the holiday, which essentially closes down the entire city for a few days, meaning open restaurants are hard to come by. And to think of it, we actually haven’t eaten out at a restaurant in like two weeks. I can’t even remember the last time we ate out. Snacks don’t count. We ended up making chicken soup on Friday and chili on Sunday in the crock-pot, quesadillas, fried rice, eggs benedict, chicken caesar salad, and other things I can’t remember now. Oh, we ate a lot of cheese. I can’t remember which movies we watched, and the lifemate’s too busy playing Titanfall 2 to help me figure out exactly what we watched. We exercised quite a bit too, which was lame but also refreshing. The holiday ate into much of last week, which was awesome, and then our usual routine and daily patterns filled the remaining days. On Wednesday, I started the @cyogalab February yoga challenge, #WallCall, last week and then promptly failed to continue, but I will finish it goddammit!

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Yesterday, I woke up around 0830 and got up around 0900, which was crazy! I played some online [fake-money] poker and ended my two-hour session 23,000 chips up!, woot woot!, oh and I also made myself a padded sleeve for my new Chromebook!

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Then, we did an as-fast-as-we-can circuit at the park! Finally, the day ended with a trip to Lotte Mart to pick up more booze, french fries and dinner fixings! For dinner we had a pan full of mussels in a tomato sauce with rice and baked bread and watched two new [really bad] movies! It was fucking great! Wow, yesterday was really exciting!

Today has been a seriously lazy day filled with movies we’ve already seen before, video games, more drinking, no exercise, and some toast [the Korean version of a cheap white-bread sandwich]. The cat’s pretty happy too, ’cause we picked up new batteries for the laser pointer yesterday, so he’s been participating in a satisfactory release of energy. I guess that’s about it for this post, nothing too exciting or too boring. Yay!

I’ve already planned this coming week and must write 1500 words of fiction each day to reach this metric week’s quota, fuck! I actually only need to write about 1100 to hit the mark, but I’m telling myself otherwise in hopes of getting ahead of schedule and maybe having another day off from writing, now that I’ve already taken three days off this most recent metric week from writing the fiction. Ugh. *sigh* Ugh.

Okay, that’s all. Time to edit some pics, get some toast and make some 김치 찌개 [kimchi jjigae {like a stew made with kimchi, pork, tofu and some other delicious ingredients}] with SJ’s grandma’s kimchi!