Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Beginners Guide to the Chakras | Yoga Asana Columns | Yoga Journal

A couple of different breathing exercises or Pranayamas: Kapalabhati (Skull Shining) and
Anuloma Viloma (Alternate Nostril)

A Beginners Guide to the Chakras | Yoga Asana Columns | Yoga Journal

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Astrological Bangle: My Quest for Magic Bling

I am currently reading Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda. I was encouraged to read it after seeing the movie trailer to "Awake: the Life of Yogananda." While I am not completely enthralled by the book as so many millions have been since it was originally publish in 1952, I am fascinated and jealous by Yogananda's faith. Also, the book reveals many miracles that are not common during the modern age and even more during this post-modern one, so my skepticism always kicks in whenever Yogananda's master, Sri Yukteswar, performs miracles either by healing someone, prophesying that something specific will happen, or summonsing clouds on a clear-blue sky.

My faith is weak.

One thing that jumped out at me was the astrological bangle that Sri Yukteswar told him to wear. Like anything I hear that makes me wonder, "Hey, can I get one of those?" I looked up what the do-dad is and immediately wanted one. I was taken by how beautiful and elegant the item is: three metals (gold, silver, and copper) twisted together and worn usually around the wrist. The gold represents the Sun and is thought to give a positive charge; the silver element represents the Moon as gives off a negative charge. The copper is a balancing charge:

The Universe receives different types of charges each and every moment - depending to the earth´s rotation and planetary positions. According to that, there are days when particularly good charges reach the earth--these days we may call "holy days." On such days the metals gold, silver and copper will get charged.
If we twist them in a certain manner during a particular time of the year, that whole unit will get some good charges. This process is also described in an ancient book called "Sidda Nagarjuna Tantra." - Source: Wellness-Shop

This explains why these are especially made for each individual. Too, because gold and silver are precious metals, their value fluctuates. The first time I looked up how much an astrological bangle would cost I could not get a price--I could not even get an estimate. Instead, what I got was an international number and specific times to make the call. But I read on a message board that someone said his bangle cost him $1250. Another said some years ago he bought one for $350. This is crazy.

Reputable sites don't mess around with trying to sell you one on a cheap bangle. This thing should not be treated like a piece of jewelry for the vain (though I must admit it is very attractive). The bangle must be manufactured at a particular time of the year and with certain preparations to have the desired effect. So, besides the cost you might have to wait nearly a year, if you ordered yours at what the manufacturers deemed the wrong time for you.

Long before I ever heard of an astrological bangle, there was a copper bracelet that my parents handed down from my paternal grandfather--the only grandparent that I was close to. I nearly wept when my mother clipped it on my wrist one Christmas evening just as my wife and I were about to leave. I wore it until my wrist literally turned green. After that I followed a local jeweler's instructions and applied clear nail polish. That worked! I wore it night and day until I noticed it missing from my wrist. I felt sick--it survived all these years and I lost it only a few weeks after receiving it. When I finally tracked it down at my work's Lost and Found box I vowed to not wear it until I get a new clasp for it. That was nearly a year ago though I still want to wear it. Sometimes I wonder if family heirlooms are the true magical trinkets. The irony to that is while I look at the bracelet as something special and nearly-magical, my grandfather wore it because he was taken in by the quackery that copper wards off arthritis. Still, I will wear it again when I can mitigate the clasp problem--quackery or not. 

As for the astrological bangle I am emotionally looking towards the bangle the same way my grandfather bought into the copper > arthritis racket. There are intelligent ways to approach faith just as there is the prevention of arthritis, but that doesn't make me want to buy the bangle any less. This goes back to my old problem of wanting to buy myself into something that will complete me. (See My All-Too Mortal Game posted August 2, 2007 for another example of my throwing money around, hoping nirvana will occur.

I need to believe first, then go in for the magic bling.

Awake: The Life of Yogananda

Friday, September 12, 2014

Just Sayin'

From Duane Campbell's political blog "antiracismdsa": The other 9/11: Chile in 1973

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Yoga Jellies

Yoga is such a simple practice that you really only need a mat. Other tools you use like blankets, straps, and blocks you can improvise if you don't want to spend the coin. Still, the sporting goods industry is always looking for things that you "must have." 

Ironic considering the yoga lifestyle is all about living modestly whether it's getting by with less possessions, eating wisely, etc. On the other hand, if you suffer from Arthritis, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or if you are heavy and have bony knees (guilty on the last two counts) this product might be worth the investment.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Goodbye Cancer. Hello Beautiful!

The cancer is gone. On Thursday September 4 the surgeon cut it out leaving an oval hole in my cheek. They placed a temporary bandage over the hole and showed me to an interior waiting room. There I attempted to read my yoga book, but couldn't help listening to all the war stories. 

My cheek sans the cancer and with
some Sharpie marks for additional cutting.
Four other patients there--all with skin cancer made me feel I not only was not alone, but was quite lucky. The was the one woman who lost most of an ear and was hear for a procedure on her neck. There was the woman with cling wrap on her face similar to what was on my arms some years ago. My guess is she had the same solution on her face that I had on my arms, as if being marinated. If that was true it was the prep for Photodynamic Therapy, where she would later spend time under an array of lights. It didn't work for me unfortunately. Hopefully, it worked for her.

The star of the show was a man in his sixties with his wife. Throughout my hour waiting for the doctor to check the margins of the cancer they cut out of me I listened to this poor man with a champion's spirit. He had part of his eyelid removed, one eye brow missing, skin from his arms, one of his leg, and a nine-inch strip of skin taking from his back. I really did try to read so I don't know if some of these parts removed where to graphed in the affected places. When the nurse came for him he said in a joking manner, "the doc wants another pound of flesh, eh?" Wow! If I could only have that attitude.

Pressure dressing
When I got back on the operating table (actually a chair similar to ones used by dental hygienists) they cut more flesh above and below the oval divot so the wound would not "pucker." Then they sewed me up. Before the whole procedure I agreed to a "scar study." The doctor used two different methods of sewing me up--the top half differing from the bottom. The idea was to prove a theory that a single stitch will work just as well as a double would. I asked why should I do it. His answer, "For science." Good enough for me. Besides, I'm not the most attractive man on the planet. Who cares if the scar ended up looking weird.

They finished me off with a pressure dressing that I kept on for twenty four hours. I also had to sleep elevated. The first thing I did when I left the clinic was order a House sandwich from Roxie Deli across the street. It was a challenge stuffing that huge sandwich through my pie hole with that pressure dressing partly in the way, but I managed! 

This is what I will look
like for over a week!
That dressing was finally replaced with a conventional bandage, which was far easier to manage. I need to wear this type of bandage for nine additional days, but here is the double drag, if you don't mind me borrowing an old Prince adage: no bicycling or yoga for ten days! This is maddening. I first figured I would be able to manage my weight during that time by cutting way down on my food intake, but three days into this trial and I am failing miserably.

I may just toss the idea of maintaining my weight and do a tuck and roll off the wagon. I can start over after September 15. In the meantime, stay positive!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Hogan, where are you going with that double-chin?

I have lived with a beard for most of my life. Add the years I wore a mustache and I have had facial hair for nearly two-thirds of my existence. I was always shocked on the rare occasions I cut the beard off and (re)discovered how alarming fat my face really was. Not Renee Zellweger cute, chubby-cheeked, more like General Burkhalter from the 60s-70s television series "Hogan's Heroes."
But it was big cheeks, and big cheeks only. So big, though, that--to paraphrase my wife--my eyes would get lost in my face. Now in my fifties, with pitiless gravity taking over, my weak chin has become a real eye sore. I'm glad this hairless face (sorry for the stubble, folks) is only a temporary thing.

After the operation, scheduled for inside of two weeks, I will grow it all back. Why did I shave it off so soon? Damn good question! Why didn't I let it grow back the minute I noticed I look like a fictitious Nazi or a real quasi-Nazi (see Karl)? Another good question. I'm working on these, dear fans. I'll get back to you.

Stay tuned!