Sunday, June 26, 2011

Beauty and the yogi.

iPad screenshots, from Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Seriously hilarious film.

Yoga, my latest foray into fitness. It's a good idea - I never do as much strength or flexibility training as I should. I think it's a combination of that and lack of athletic prowess that lead to my lukewarm marathon performance last fall.

Anyhow, I think some fond memories of childhood ballet classes lead me to brazenly believe that somehow I'd be really good at it. A born yogi, with the hips and mind of a Buddhist. Flexibility, like my dance talent, surely can't fade.

I think the great yogis of the past are chuckling down on me as I write this. Simple, silly, self-centered humans, always a product of their own egos. Typical.

I like working out, I do. I've just never been any good at it. And as my recent yoga practice confirms, any grace of movement I may have once had is clearly long-gone.

This past week, I took a summer Friday and headed to an afternoon vinyasa session at my gym. As per usual, I am a total hot mess on the mat. The hour spent in quiet is agonizing. In between wrestling with my mind and breath, I wrestle with my body, fighting through each pose. My flexibility, it seems, is stored somewhere deep in a closet, between my pointe shoes and core muscles.

I must conquer it. I will. I'm repeating it in my head, like some kind of sadistic mantra. I don't know if I'm referring to my mind, my body, my yoga or all three. It doesn't seem to matter.

I find myself falling out of backbends in a heap, huffing and puffing, whilst the ladies around me twist and arch themselves into delicate pretzels, breathing deeply. I'm jealous of their faces, their tranquility, their stillness. Even after shavasana, I gather up my sweaty limbs and crawl out of the studio all beast-like - panting, defeated and thoroughly ruffled. I can't even imagine what I might look like after bikram.

Obviously, it isn't a competition. Obviously, I've missed the entire point. I do feel better afterward. My posture is better. I feel longer, quieter, focused. I'm glad I went. But I still kinda wish I were good at it.

Someday I will be lithe and tranquil. Someday I will have clarity. Or not.

I guess all I can do is try to keep going and hope that someday I can get out of my own head long enough to get back in.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


As luck and train schedules would have it, early Tuesday evening I found myself in the West Village, twenty minutes ahead of time for a much-needed haircut and gab sesh with the internet's favorite stylist. Not wanting to waste a minute of the weather, I set out for a leisurely stroll around the block.

The Village, as movies would have us believe, has an air of pure ethereal magic on a pleasant evening. It's quieter than it should be, it's prettier than it should be. It basically makes me want to explode. That's one of my favorite things about New York - the little pockets of magical bits in the midst of all the cacophony, and the Village is among my favorite of the pockets. Something about walking in the streets there makes me feel like I'm interrupting something fancy, something us plebians aren't intended to see.

I mean, give me a break.

Obviously trespassing, I step lightly, easily, carelessly, trying to blend in. I size up the pedestrian traffic to determine locals from visitors, wondering who else is playing the same game. I try not to look like a tourist when I whip out my phone to capture a ridiculously haughty-looking kitty, watching me from someone's fancy brownstone window.

Be snootier, cat. I dare you.

Did you know the Village was originally the bohemian capital of New York? The East Coast, even. And now, old glamour, European romance. The history makes me like it more. It makes me wonder at the dirty secrets of an uninhibited youth the rich old ladies must be hiding behind close-shorn Persians in striped vests.

I think I could write roughly one hundred short stories about the people who live in the Village, drawing partly on Hollywood lore and partly on these brief glimpses of their lives. Maybe someday I will.

I have yet to experience a place that inspires me like New York City. I wish I had the time and energy to do sort out what to do with it.