General Musings

Perhaps fitness related. Perhaps not.

At Its Deepest

Even on this most Yin day of the year— the Winter Solstice— Yang is present. And as depicted by the Taoist symbol where a white dot resides within the black paisley, and conversely a black within the white, neither is an absolute. Not unlike the idea of Zero Point Energy, where molecular vibration persists even in the vacuum of empty space— that shade at a temperature of absolute zero— Yang stirs at its nadir, within the extreme Yin.

On a Tangible Level

Yin and Yang are relative, complementary, continuously changing and only meaningful when an observer is there to appreciate the contrast.

Consider if you will dipping your hands into one of three buckets of water, each of differing temperature. At once you put the left into cold, 40°F water, the right into hot, 120°F water and note the sensations. Then, place both into tepid, 80°F water and observe. What’s your experience?

Clearly none of these experiences is static. Even as the first immersion feels cold to the left hand and hot to the right, the left hand is already warming the water while the right is cooling it. This dynamic is shown by the swirling image of the Tao. Of course, once submerged in the tepid water the experience is immediately reversed.

Taoist symbol

The Taoist symbol elegantly depicts the relative nature and the inherent movement of Yin & Yang. A duality for sure, but not simply black & white.

 

Tonight

I couldn’t have asked Nature to illustrate this any more literally than through tonight’s full moon punctuating the darkness of the year’s longest night. This Yin yoga class is in tribute.

Here’s the series—

  • Seiza— kneeling, shins on floor, sitting on heels: 5′
  • Supported Back Extension— lying supine, block beneath sacrum: 10′
  • Caterpillar— seated forward fold over outstretched legs: 10′
  • Sphinx— prone backbend using elbows for support: 5′
  • Seal— prone backbend using hands for support: 5′
  • Gambling— deep squat: 10′
  • Cat Tail Right— lying side twist with top arm reaching back to grasp bottom foot: 5′
  • Cat Tail Left— lying side twist with top arm reaching back to grasp bottom foot: 5′
  • Saddle— kneeling, supine back bend: 10′
  • Pentacle— lying supine, palms up, tip of index finger resting on thumbnail: 8′
  • Seiza— kneeling, shins on floor, sitting on heels: 2′

Here’s the soundtrack—

Tibetan Monks Chanting with Every 3 Minutes a Tibetan Bowl | Reiki Hands of Light

Here’s the meditation—

Returning. Continue.
In coming and going, there is neither sickness nor distress.
Companions come without fault.
Returning is its Tao.
In seven, returning comes.
Gain by having a place to go.

— King Wen

Hexagram 24

Hexagram 24— Returning (Fu).

Hexagram 24 “Returning” is associated with the Winter Solstice & the 11th moon. Earth trigram atop Thunder trigram; a Yang sliver of light patiently awaits rising from beneath a Yin mountain of darkness. A submerged dragon.

Tonight’s Yin yoga class at the Yoga NoHo Center is celebrating the 11th Moon— the Winter Moon— which is near the darkest (shortest) day of the year, the Winter Solstice. It is very Yin. Can you say even longer, long-hold postures? Yeah, I thought you could.

Trigram: Earth

This trigram consisting of three broken lines represents Earth (kun or k’un) and is considered Yin, dark & cold. It’s the symbol of the female principle in the ancient Chinese tradition.

Here’s the series—

  • Seiza— shins on floor, sitting on heels: 5′
  • Caterpillar— seated forward fold over outstretched legs: 10′
  • Gambling— deep squat: 10′
  • Square R— seated forward fold over crossed legs, right in front: 10′
  • Square L— seated forward fold over crossed legs, left in front: 10′
  • Twisted Root R— lying side twist with right arm outstretched on diagonal: 5′
  • Twisted Root L— lying side twist with left arm outstretched on diagonal: 5′
  • Saddle— kneeling back bend: 10′
  • Pentacle— lying supine, palms up, tip of index finger resting on thumbnail: 8′
  • Seiza— shins on floor, sitting on heels: 2′

Here’s the soundtrack—

Tibetan Flute Music + Om Chanting | Meditative Mind

Here’s a meditation on the Winter Moon—

Bamboo Grove
Sit alone, hidden in bamboo.
Pluck the qin and whoop with joy.
Forest so deep no one knows it:
the bright moon comes to shine on me.

— Wang Wei (699-759)

What better way to celebrate gratitude than with my loved one, TC, the warmth from a fireplace blaze and the traditional Thanksgiving California Yellowtail dinner?

Thanksgiving dinner.

Now that’s fresh! California Yellowtail that was swimming on Tuesday!

Last week, right before joining my Friday Night Yin… Yoga for Athletes class, one of the two Yoga NoHo Center owners said, “Hey, your class received a nice review on Class Pass.” I said, “Very happy to hear that,” and went about leading the 75′ long-hold, deep stretch workout, as usual.

Then, following a rain-soaked motorcycle ride home, a quick bachelor’s feast of canned tuna, pasta & salad, and the requisite close-of-day check of text, email & voice messages, curiosity got the better of me.

I searched Class Pass for the Yoga Noho Center in North Hollywood, clicked on “Reviews” and one recent comment for Yin Yoga (Deep Stretch) with Christopher popped right up:

This is one of, if not the best, yin classes in the valley

Wow!

Whoever you are, I’m very happy to hear that you’re enjoying my classes! Thank you for your participation and your review. Maybe see you in this evening’s Monday Night Yin…

Namaste.

January 2017

It’s under 60°. In Los Angeles that’s, um… cold. I’m under the weather, which is unusual. More unusual is that I’ve been fighting this malaise for over three weeks. Flu? Winter blues? Cracked header on Jeep leaking CO into cab? Dunno.

What is certain is I’d like to feel better. My friend Nancy, a physician, recommends strong medication. Stat! She’s means, “Dude, whip up your awesome chicken soup— A Bowl of Seasonal Warmth would be great right now. “Yeah, maybe.” I say, “But I’m not all that hungry. I’m thinking more along the lines of a hot toddy made with Hibiki whisky.” She says, “Dude, you don’t have to eat it, just make it.” (Meaning she’ll eat it.) Nice.

I head to Whole Foods to fill the Rx.

Ingredients:

  • Two bunches of celery.
  • Eight multi-colored carrots.
  • One big yellow onion.
  • Five yellow potatoes.
  • One bulb of garlic.
  • One leek.
  • Himalayan pink salt.
  • Black pepper.
  • Bragg organic “Sprinkle” herbs and spices seasoning.
  • Organic, extra virgin olive oil.
  • Five chicken legs, separated into thighs / drumsticks.
  • About three quarts of spring water.

Thirty minutes and forty-five dollars later I’m at home, and the prep begins.

Tools:

  • One big pot— I use an 8q Calphalon pasta pot.
  • 10” Skillet— I use a 100 year-old cast iron skillet.
  • 8″ Chef’s knife.
  • Serving spoon.

Compounding:

My process is simple. Chop celery and carrots into 1/2” pieces. Cut onion and potatoes into quarters, then halve the quarters. Peel garlic and slice each clove in half.

Sauté celery, carrots, onion and garlic in skillet, one at a time, with olive oil and Bragg seasoning. (Five minutes, or so.)

Stand leek on end in big pot, add potatoes, chicken, and sautéed veggies. Add water to cover contents, and salt and pepper to taste— for me that’s 3 tbsp of salt and 1 tbsp of pepper.

Fire up burner and bring to boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Stir carefully, put lid on (it won’t cover pot completely because of the leek), and every so often stir again. Cook until potatoes are soft, maybe an hour-and-fifteen minutes. And then, soup’s on!

 

Chicken Soup Rx

Chicken Soup— Just What the Doctor Ordered!

Dosage:

A taste from the pot is promising. First bowl— mmmmm!— perhaps the best I’ve made. Second bowl, just as good. And, if some is good, more is better! Third bowl— don’t know that I’m well yet, but I am feeling better. Hey Nancy, your prescription is right on!

But, with half the batch gone already, you better drop by soon.