Saturday, April 30, 2011

Yiddish Yoga

Yiddish Yoga by Lisa Grunberger was completely fantastic! Seventy year old Ruthie finds herself a new widow, heartbroken, trying to handle her loss and continue without her husband Harry by her side. Her granddaughter gives her a nice little mitvah, of a years worth of yoga classes. ("I think it will help you grieve, bubby") This is the last thing on the planet Ruthie wants, needs or ever thought of doing. Somewhat guilted into going and not wanting to offend her granddaughter, she dons an old blue and white Addidas velour sweatsuit her husband always thought was a sexy little number and heads out. She lands in Sammy's gentle yoga class and slowly she confronts her grief, comes into the present, out of the past and in between discovers her toes, her abilities and lotus position. A small read it can be finished in one sitting, but you'll want to come back to it again and again. Perfect, just perfect!


Stretch by Neal Pollack was an enjoyable read. Pollack stumbles off the couch and into a yoga class at his local gym. Shortly thereafter he and his family relocate from Austin,Texas to L.A. The yoga scene in glitter town is dense with hipsters, the beautiful and the latest fad. He eventually finds the right place to settle in and begins to deepen his explorations, evolving and changing along the way. As a writer he covers yoga journal conferences, yoga festivals and discovers the enlightened and bizarre. Pollack storms out of a jivumukti class in New York, participates in a 24 hour yoga- a -thon and finds himself on retreat in Asia, all while looking for his, "best self". Pollacks "best" made an appearance in his late teens and he would like to reestablish the essence of that person with the adult he has become. The incredibly satisfying experiences the reader is given is the opportunity to view Pollack evolving into someone less cynical and a bit softer. My gut tells me he is probably a genuinely nice guy, but here we understand his longtime public image of a snarky, ironic, jaded representative of his generation has become self toxic. There's somebody else there internally, and he's looking to reconnect with his long lost "best." The reader is given the opportunity to view; slowly, continually and realistically his evolution through his yoga practice, and in the process we see him come to a place more habitable within his own psyche. Stretch is a funny, enjoyable read and we all have a bit of Neal Pollack in all of us, so it's easy to root him on.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day

So will I build my altar in the fields,
And the blue sky my fretted dome shall be,
And the sweet fragrance that the wild flower yields
Shall be the incense I will yield to thee.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Having Some Faith in Life

The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.

Alan Watts

Friday, April 8, 2011

Sprouting Up

The moment we moved I started planning a garden. The first thing I did was buy loads of bulbs. This was back in the fall. We immediately planted as many bulbs as we could stuff into the ground. The bulbs are doing nicely and by the end of the month I think we may actually have a lovely splash of color! In the meantime Winter came, harsh, unforgiving with much personal sorrow and defeat. Occasionally I would have few minutes to sit and day dream. My mind would drift to a summer garden. What would I grow in my own garden? Where would I plant the garden? How big should it be? How much sun did I need? How to keep the dogs out and on and on. The last time I had my own garden was decades ago. My best friend showed me how to do it and we got something up and running which was really nice. I remember getting a lot of red cayenne peppers, but not much else, or perhaps I don't remember anything else. This is not a lot to go on, but I made a mental note to add cayenne peppers to my garden, after all I once had success with them once and I like peppers. I finally selected half a dozen vegetables, two herbs and one fruit. I collected my seed packages, soil and decided to begin by planting indoors. I read that this was a good thing to do. So now my little starter seeds are little sprouts, which I eagerly examine each day. The promise of spring in full fruition and the beginning of something new. It feels wonderful.