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image via seattleweekly.com

We’ve all asked our yoga teacher for a little help now and then. Perhaps we’ve asked about good vegan restaurants in the neighbourhood, breathing exercises to aid sleep, or tips for rocking Chaturanga Dandasana. But Seattle-based humour columnist Michael Stusser enlisted his yoga teacher for a bigger, more transformative project.

While going through a nasty divorce, Michael “decided to take the radical step of removing all trash talk, mud-slinging, rude riffing, and taunting Tweets from my everyday existence for an entire month” and write about his experience for the Seattle Weekly. Realizing that he couldn’t just avoid people and be silent, and that his previous attempts at making major life changes resulted in failure, he saw the need for reinforcement.

If the Dalai Lama and J.Lo had a love child, it would be Dawn Jansen. For 14 years now, this gorgeous and brilliant yoga instructor has twisted me into a pretzel, cured my sciatica, and gently placed positive mantras into my thick skull. Hearing about my grand experiment (and knowing my extensive weaknesses), Dawn understood the need for a game plan. Read the rest of this entry »

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It's a girl in yoga pants! (image via girlsinyogapants.com)

In the esteemed tradition of nude yoga girls and Playboy Yoga, we now have Girls In Yoga Pants ~ a photoblog dedicated to, you guessed it, women wearing yoga pants. Most of the photos provide us with posterior views of yoga pants, thus celebrating the desirable yoga butt.

Either gleaned off the internet or submitted by readers (and girls ~ there are a lot of mirror-butt-self-portraits, as seen above), the photos fall into several categories: Big Booty, Amateur, Celebrities, Hall of Fame, In Public and Actual Yoga. According to their Facebook fan page (which has over 6000 fans), the website “was created to show appreciation for the world’s greatest trend.” Their About page claims:

Why look at just girls, when you can look at girls in yoga pants? That’s the idea behind this always funny, always sexy website. Get your backside fix, feast your eyes on the web’s best posteriors, and pay homage to the derriere. Because it beats working. Now go look at what their momma’s gave them.

Well, at least they’re wearing pants. To save y’all the hassle of looking at Girls In Yoga Pants (and if you do venture there, I urge you not to read the comments), I have curated some of the best the website has to offer, in true GIYP style, “after the jump.” Let me know what you think ~ sexist, funny, predictable, inevitable, or yawn? Read the rest of this entry »

Unless you’ve been living under some kind of rock, I’m sure you’ve heard of James Cameron’s latest blockbuster, Avatar. I’ll spare you the plot details (see IMDB for the full story). After several failed attempts (it was constantly sold out), I finally saw the film, and I was a little shocked at the overt spirituality within it. I’d heard a lot about the technology, the environmental message, and the story lines recycled from Dances With Wolves and Fern Gully. But what I didn’t realize is that the film is totally yogic. Here’s a breakdown of the yogic elements of Avatar:

interconnectedness of all beings – the Na’vi link to other beings on the planet through neural-chemical connections. One of the characters, Grace – the biologist played by Sigourney Weaver – calls it a network. And indeed, the whole planet is an organic neural network. The Na’vi practice and believe in an interconnection of all life in balance with nature. Because of this, everything is viewed as sacred.

unity – when they get attacked, Jake and the Na’vi realize pretty quickly that they’re going to need allies. They rally up the other clans, and together they fight the humans. Even their former predators, the wild animals of the jungle, unite in the battle against the humans and their corporate agenda.

goddess awesomeness – the Na’vi worship Eywa, and believe that all consciousness is infused with her energy. In yoga, this goddess consciousness is known as Shakti ~ while yoga isn’t exactly a goddess worshiping tradition, there are strong threads of the divine feminine throughout and sects which are devoted to her worship.

hindu origins – the word “avatar” itself is Sanskrit (see this NY Times article for proof), and is rooted in Hindu mythology (as is yoga). Since the advent of Second Life and gaming culture, the word avatar evokes the graphical representation of a computer user – but it’s original meaning is “descent” and it can be “an incarnation or human appearance of a deity, particularly Vishnu.” These incarnations – including one of the most famous, Krishna – have blue skin, and the blue Na’vi beings are themselves meant to evoke hindu deities. Read the rest of this entry »

This headline in my newsfeed grabbed my attention: “Start-Up Asana Announces $9 Million in New Funding.” I had to do a double take (and click through, of course). What could that combination of words possibly mean?

What it means is that the yoga vocabulary has moved beyond healthy eating habits and casual clothes into the tech world. Asana is a new “workplace productivity software start-up founded by former Facebookers Dustin Moskovitz and Justin Rosenstein.”  The young company has been around for just over a year and apparently their work is directed at “the very dull and unexciting but very large and problematic workplace collaboration and communications software market.”

An article on All Things Digital tried to explain the yoga connection:

In Sanskrit, “asana” means “sitting down” and refers to strong but relaxed postures in yoga–so presumably, Moskovitz and Rosenstein are trying to help frustrated workers achieve a digital form of nirvana.

Good effort! But there could have been a little more research on the definition of asana. Anyway, even though I’m not really a fan of working, I’m all for making work more efficient, transparent and open. And from what I can gather from Asana’s website, they are doing their best to incorporate yoga-esque values into their small company, including: action in the face of fear, honesty & transparency, chill-ness, company as collective of peers (vs. command-and-control hierarchy), investing in people, and trust in wisdom over rules and incentives.

I’m willing to work for any company that values “chill-ness.” While Asana wants to keep their staff small and intimate, they’re also hiring. Check out their perks:

  • Small company with respectful, rational, chill peers. We are as dedicated to building a great culture as we are to building a great product.
  • Medical, dental, vision and life insurance coverage.
  • In-house yoga. Every week we do yoga as a group, including +1s, with a private instructor. (Optional, but pretty awesome.)
  • Organic homecooked meals twice a day.
  • Three 30″ monitors. Actually, we let you spend up to $10K on your setup, however you think best.

Those perks are pretty similar to the perks of working at a yoga magazine. Except for the organic homecooked meals twice a day (though we did have Thursday Soup Days). And the 30″ monitors and $10K setup budget. Yikes! Anyway, I hope that the yogi incognitos behind Asana can put this $9 million to good techy use and live up to their values and ideals.

See also: yogourt-asana; the great asana taste test

Well, after a week of sitting in my apartment with my computer writing, reading and thinking about community, I was more than happy to step outside and actually interact with my realworld community. And there’s no better place to do this than Montréal’s annual small press, comic and zine fair, Expozine. Every November, artists, writers, zinesters and eccentrics from Montréal and beyond gather to celebrate the creative and independent spirit. This time, for the 8th year in a row, over 300 exhibitors set up tables in the basement of the Église Saint-Enfant Jésus (that’s right – the Church of the Baby Jesus), and thousands more came to soak it all up.

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The view from the front entrance ~ somewhere in there are tables of art & literature!

Many of my favourite Montréal creators, zinemakers and publishers were there, including Conundrum Press, Matrix Magazine, Snare Books, Sherwin Tjia, Billy Mavreas/Monastiraki, Aimée van Drimmelen, Lickety Split, Todd Stewart and Drawn & Quarterly. While it was lovely to see all these familiar peeps, I also made some great new discoveries. And so I present my oddest and most yogic finds from Expozine 2009! Read the rest of this entry »

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