Posts Tagged 'Sufjan Stevens'

This post does not contain any actual sweat nor actual tamales

In the oh so brief lapse in my bloggy style, I became enamored of a couple music-free things and one thing that includes music as a background element rather than the focal point. In a semi-particular order, I present my Summer Romances of ’10:

1) Tamales. Holy mother-loving Jebus. I’m not exaggerating when I report that I’ve eaten at least one tamale every single weekend for the past two months. But when I say one, I typically mean about two in a sitting. And when I say every weekend, I mean every weekend as well as a few instances of lunchtime hanky panky. If I end up pregnant before the summer’s over, you know what the baby’s going to look like.

2) Glow in the dark bocce ball and the weather that makes it possible to play long after the sun has set without sleeves and the mosquitos ramp up their attack style to “ravenous.” It’s a little hard to decipher what’s happening in this shot, but you’ll get the picture. Get it?!?

3) Hot yoga. When I lived in San Francisco, I had a housemate who swore by her classes at the Funky Door studio. I became interested mainly because all the yoga garb I had previously seen looked shapeless and puffy. You exercise to avoid appearing shapeless and puffy, right? Bikram yoga allowed me to wear tank tops in a city where summer comes as quickly as a sneeze. But like the city of San Francisco itself,  the yoga exacted a formidable toll. At the end of every class, the strappy workout wear I was so pleased to use ended up crumpled in wet heaps until laundry day. That was due to all the sweat. Lord, do you sweat when you do hot yoga. I began the practice with a pretty naive sense of hubris.

“I grew up in Hawaii! I love heat! Yoga is mostly just stretching and laying around, right? How bad can it be?”

At the end of my first class, this is how my hubris sounded:


However, unless you’re more reptilian than most people, you don’t persist with hot yoga just on account of the extreme temperature. Stronger muscles, better posture, stress relief, feelings of fleeting but welcome accomplishment, yada yada, fitnesscakes. All those factors were lovely. But like many romances, my affair with bikram yoga became harder to sustain as reasons both internal and external stopped my attendance. I moved away from the Haight neighborhood, started a new job, yada yada, excusecakes.

Let’s move forward to the end of May in 2010, when Groupon advertised a crazily discounted month of classes at CorePower Yoga in Portland. I’d read about the studio before, as it’s one of the only businesses to offer yoga in a heated room, but the cost and the constant stuffing myself with excusecakes kept me from investigating directly. The Groupon cleared the first hurdle. Now if I could just put the cakes down for a second . . .

So far it’s been a lot of what I expected but with a few surprises. Yoga is a lot like writing. You feel sort of cool when you tell people you do it. You consider it definitive and vital to your existence. But when you’re actually doing it, even when you do it often, sometimes it can really, really, REALLY suck. It can make your efforts feel dim-witted, superfluous, and ineffective. You often think about how you could spend the time sipping champagne in front of a TV instead of doing it, sometimes while you do it.

And once in a while, you do it, it works, and you feel like you’re capable of creating strong, gorgeous things with your body, your mind, and your breath.

CorePower Yoga even has a Pandora station. Thankfully, it has not played Sufjan Stevens the way one instructor did, which briefly took me out of the moment and made me feel like I was doing yoga at Disneyland. However, towards the end of one grueling hour, this came on and sounded the way water tastes.

  • Pearl Jam ~ Backspacer ~ Monkeywrench

Just Breathe