Sunday, September 24, 2006

Taipei personality

Normally I’m terrible with names. For some reason though, at the moment I am really onto it. I just need to meet and be introduced to someone and I remember their name immediately. Of course they almost always forget mine and have to ask the next time we meet at breakfast/lunch/wherever. However since everyone else is forgetting theirs it doesn’t matter. It all evens out. It’s just pretty handy for me. A Good Trick to have.

Today is the start of Desara, which I believe is a festival to mark the start of autumn in these parts, and so the next 10 days or so are filled with all kinds of festive things. I have yet to research what exactly but there is a good website which I will investigate and post here (as you will see my understanding of the meaning of the festival was way off the mark). I also learnt from an Israeli Sanskrit scholar who is here furthering her studies that my teacher’s name, Sharath, actually means autumn. Not surprising since he was born on September 29th, just 4 days after me.

Yesterday went to the Southern Star hotel to sit by the pool for a couple of hours. It is a totally dull hotel, devoid of any charisma and with stunningly slow poolside service. There are other options and I will be exploring them, although it’s a useful backstop.

Next week I will be attending a short course over 5 evenings, run by K from California who is a practitioner of Structural Integration, a form of bodywork known as Rolfing after the woman who devised it, which will present western Anatomy, Kinesiology and Physiology of the musculoskeletal, respiratory and nervous systems as they relate to the eastern practice of yoga. This is a) because it sounds really interesting and K is very articulate and knowledgeable and b) because I think a better understanding of these areas could help to avoid injury problems down the line and help me to understand some of what I might be doing to myself physically by doing this particular activity. That’s pretty important. I was also chatting to K about doing a course of SI and may do so in the future. One of his little pitches is that a course of Rolfing can allow your body to move as far in 1 year through the asana practice as it would normally take 5 years to do. Now that is some claim. Wanting to get to the ‘next step’ is a common theme one encounters when hanging out with ashtanga people – the next series, asana etc – but a valid question is why? There is no substantive answer unfortunately. Often it comes down to wanting to feel like there is some sort of ‘progress’ and thus a ‘reason’ for doing something that can be very demanding. Progress to what is unclear and I point to a previous post of mine as a little rejoinder. Nonetheless, it’s there and it’s around when discussion turns to ashtanga. Anyway, the 5 years into 1 thing fits in with this neatly and so will no doubt appeal to a lot of people I have met here who really want to get onto the ‘next bit’ of their practice. Let me know what it's like when you get there.

Hot house. Now that’s not a phrase one mentions too often in polite company round here. There are some very competitive people who do ashtanga. I would only say that one can quite patently take the student out of the classroom, but you can’t take the classroom out of the student. Some nationalities are more prone than others, at least to my untrained and subjective eye….

There’s also the type A personality (or Taipei personality as I saw on an airline billboard advert for flights to Taiwan out of LA) thing which plugs right in to all that. As a confirmed B student with occasional flashes of As – because again what’s the point? Show me and I’ll do it. My motivation probably comes most from the gaining of autonomy rather than anything else - who comes from a family of type A A students, I think I know kind of what I’m talking about in a homespun way.

Lunch time. Dosa with coconut chutney, masala sauce and a fried chilli. 20 rupees.

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