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You may or may not be asking where the heck this blog went*. So what up, Apple Moskowitz, where have you been? We’ve seen nothing but a kiwi video since freaking Hanukkah, Ms. Maam. For reals, what the hey?

Well! It’s been a bit of a Thing around here at Chez Moskowitz, what with all the holiday stuff.** If you’ve been following along, you know that the family comes in from far flung parts of the States for Thanksgiving, and then things really don’t slow down until about now. I really like now – there’s way less stress, and I can discover cool stuff like if you add a can of mushrooms, a little paprika and a the juice of half a lime to some leftover buttered rice and then warm it in a skillet, it’s a pretty osm side dish for dinner. It’s the little things, friends. It’s the little things.

Also, I’ve taken over handling the Poets Asylum blog – whee! Go check it out – mostly it’s stuff that relates to the Sunday night reading here in Worcester, MA, but there’s also some fun stuff about poultry poetry events out and around the region, info on deadlines and opportunities for poets, breaking poetry news,*** and the occasional cartoon. Good Tiems.

Also I’ve been doing yoga with Dearest Will. Ikr? As my brother said when I told him, “Wow… I guess the floor did feel a little bit colder…” But in seriousness, it’s been really lovely to have a partner for yoga, and to get bendy and bondy at the same time. Speaking of bendy, did you know that Yoga Journal just started another 21 Day Challenge? I kinda loved it last year – they put up different little videos every day so you can try things out.

This year they have two levels of videos – stuff for newbies and then an intermediate level set. This? Is absolutely wonderful on a number of levels. First and foremost, because due to some chronic pain issues (mean old sciatica. Mean old S/I joint), in spite of daily practice, I’m sort of always at the beginner level. Also, Will is just beginning, and hopping in at the deep end really sucks. This year they also have a tracking thing, where you can tick off what you’ve done, and see it laid out for you. I love me some ticky boxes, I do.

Speaking of ticky boxes… Other stuff I adore right now includes 750words.com. It’s a website where you sign up and write every day, and it counts you off to 750 words (see what they did there?) It’s totally private, which means that you can write any little thing at all without fear of broadcast (or accidental broadcast). Also, and this is my favorite bit, you earn badges for your writing – there’s a badge for starting (it’s an egg), there’s a badge for writing 30 days in a row, there’s a badge for writing without distractions (a hamster on a wheel – adorbz), a badge for your typing speed, a badge for participating in their monthly challenge to write every day… You get the picture. Totally fun.

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So I lost something sometime over the last few years, and I didn’t even realize I had lost it. The good news is, I think I found it over the weekend. Let me explain.

I forget stuff sometimes – important stuff – because I’m so fixated on stamping out the little fires of day-to-day living, and trying to piece together chaos in my head, that things just slip. Like my own history, for example – I forget that I’m the sum of my parts, and where I’ve been. I’ve always felt like I’m only as good as the last thing I did, and so don’t tend to put too much stock in the things that I’m not doing anymore, but I don’t remember to at least give where I have been and what I have learned enough credence. As soon as whatever I was last doing is done, I get all emotionally hungover and find myself thinking that I’m not doing anything, and furthermore, never will do anything ever again.* I’m certainly not as good or as cool as that girl who was doing that thing a few weeks ago, right?

And that’s the funk I’ve been in for months.  I’ve been working and playing around with some projects, but nothing with any real focus – just a little here, a little there – dicking around, rather than really doing.

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Nice! Got all the stuff that involves the oven finished before the house gets too hot to want to cook. There’s a pasta salad chilling in the fridge for after Man Cub’s soccer practice, and bread is baked. I got the dishes (with the exception of the loaf pans, which are still hot) done in the cool hours of the morning, and did yoga before it got warm enough for the cat hair in the carpet to stick to my skin. This afternoon, in anticipation of Thursday’s heat wave, we shall install the ac units, and set up Pretty Pretty Princess Land*. \o/

In other news, I made the fancy yoga mat bag for Zoe! Look! Look!

Zoe had been biking to yoga class with her mat stuffed into her backpack, and it wasn’t working out for her – it bonked her in the back of the head, it got in the way when she looked over her shoulder, and was generally a nuisance. She wanted a big wide comfy strap so she could wear it messenger bag style and have it sit tight and not wobble. Also, the bag needed to be wide enough to accommodate her ittty bitty laptop for visits to the library and sundry other writing expeditions, as well as having a non-rounded bottom so said lappy doesn’t bounce around in the bottom.

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Have you heard about Sita Sings the Blues yet? Simply: the Ramayana + Annette Hanshaw = zomg. But it’s not simply a platform for 1920s blues music.

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Freshly returned from retreat and settling back in slowly. Reentry is always a little weird – I’ve spent a week doing yoga at 6am and eating brown rice at every meal* and not sneezing,** not having internet access,***  and doing things I’ve never done before, and here I am at home in my comfort zone again, and it’s a little tough to scramble into action.

But I brought my mom to the airport early early this morning, and listened to Krishna Das all the way home. The clouds parted halfway there and the world was lit golden, and I got a little bit ecstatic, it was so beautiful.

I went out with my mom and my mother in law, a three-pack of curious ladies, and I’ll admit, I was a little anxious beforehand about going like this, all enfamilied. But things went swimmingly over the week. We took a four-day workshop on collage art led by Karen Arp-Sandel, and it was really pretty osm. There were really great demos on how to work with paper, and luxurious studio time through the whole session. TONS of studio time – I felt a bit spoiled. But, you know, in a really good way.

Both the moms had a good time too, playing in the medium. It was really neat to see the two of them in action – neither of them had any experience with collage, and they both got into the zone, creating, playing with the paper techniques, building stories with their images. And they spent as much time in the studio during downtime as I did, so the process clearly drew them.

My mom and I have gone now to Kripalu three times, and I think we’ll be going back again (maybe even for the same workshop next year – we were talking about that last night). The atmosphere of retreat is truly refreshing. As she said yesterday, it’s like everyone, “…checks their rude at the door.” People are really pleasant, really considerate, very encouraging – the staff and the guests, both. It feels really great.

My favorite part of being there, aside from the locale (zomg, the Berkshires are not only beautiful, but they smell amazing), is the morning routine. When we’re there I wake at 6, brush my teeth and wander dreamily down to morning yoga. Then a shower and silent breakfast (silent!) – the whole process of waking like that just makes me yummy inside. The outside world, where I live every day, just isn’t like that – to get that in I’d have to wake at 5, and that… well, it’s really… well, it’s just an hour earlier than I like to be awake, yanno?

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So, you ever have one of those days when your expectations just don’t live up to the reality of the situation? Well, our guild had one of those last night. It was OSM.

So, we managed to finally kill Maloriak last night. After many a wipe on this guy, phase two finally clicked, and we got him down – WOOT! It was even a fairly clean kill. And to boot, we killed him pretty early, with an entire hour left before the end of raid time. What to do, what to do?

We headed to Bastion of Twilight* to pick at the trash** in hopes of an epic drop (I think there was mention of a dagger?) and to see wtf about Halfus, whose fight I only understand to be something like release the dragons, kill the dragons, kill the boss.

And then… well, things got surprising.

Huh. Well, wouldja look at that.

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I managed to make it all the way to day 21 before I hurt myself. Which, I think, is a victory, yes?

Friend or foe?

My back is messy again, which happens periodically. I can’t blame it on the yoga – I mean, I could, but it would be a work in fantasy. Sometimes my back goes wonky from some really dumb things – for example, sneezing really hard. Or napping in the papasan chair*. There will be a sudden wet popping noise, and it hurts to walk for a week. Then, after I rest it a while, the pain just goes away. I’m pretty sure it was a sneeze again, this time.

So I’m resting it. Which is really boring. But if I don’t rest it, I’ll be eating Advil like M&Ms and complaining that my tummy hurts too. That cycle? Is for the birds.

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Child's Pose

I look a bit more ungainly in this pose, but it sure makes me feel better.

Alright – so today is day 12* of the YJ challenge, and I’m not doing too terribly! I’ve only missed one day (gah – raid! I should have done yoga early in the day instead) so far, and my stamina is improving a bit.

I have to admit, I haven’t always done the video that they have posted up. Part of it has been that not all their videos are working right on my machine – 25 minutes seems to be the cut-off; the videos just stop playing. But the biggest issue, really is that I’m just not strong enough for them all yet. For example, yesterday’s video was chest openers – and while I got into nearly every asana, I wasn’t there as long as I would have liked to be. Child’s pose is my friend, friend.

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I’m going to do this. It started on Monday, but I didn’t hear about it until Tuesday while I was making dinner – and by the time I’m done digesting dinner, it’s almost raid time, so starting on Tuesday was out. So today it is. A day late, a dollar short, but I want to go to the party, so I’m putting on my fancy clothes. Well, my yoga pants, at least.

My body is frustrating lately.  It hurts in funny places, and the chest cold that settled in my system  before Thanksgiving is still thriving – third trip to the doctor in three months, and a second round of prednisone is on the case, working, but making me weird and hungry all the time. I want a break from the mess – the wanting*, the scatterbrain, the lack of focus.

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todays

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