Archive for yoga

Baseless

Posted in Asceticism, Buddhism, Fighting, genius, God(s), karma, martial arts, Monasticism, Mysticism, Philosophy, Reality Bites, Religion, society, tai chi, taijiquan, Ultimate Reality with tags , , , , on January 21, 2010 by wizardsmoke

So, the big question on everyone’s my mind is whether or not martial arts teachers, yoga instructors, and their religious gurus are “enlightened”. In stuff like Tibetan guru yoga, you are supposed to view your teacher as enlightened — sometimes even if they aren’t. It’s part of the practice. I don’t do it, but it makes sense as a practice, in order to discover your belief is malleable and useful to that end. There is no god(s) if you don’t believe in them, and vice versa.

Although Taijiquan is my big psycho-physical investment at the moment, I am willing to believe it’s not the same spiritual ace-in-the-hole for other people. How could it be so? People need to be unique, independent. But at the same time, the big problem of human existence is social friction. How do we deal with other people? This is a big portion of Jean-Paul Sartre’s philosophy: the existence of another creates a new perception of oneself and one’s surroundings. They are no longer a portion of selfless existence, but exist in contrast to oneself.

Amidst others, we seek to validate our own views, yet for what reason? There is opposition to all views, and human reason and rationale is endless. It is supremely difficult to co-exist with others in peace. And peace is a difficult subject to address, because the moment it is broached and given our conscious attention, it ceases to exist. It is simply the absence of conflict, and the absence of selfish views. But that’s too often misconstrued as being a doormat.

The other strange thing is that, although Taijiquan or dream yoga or Alexander technique or Zen or Sufi or Benedictine chant or whatever else may work for some people, these practices are not guarantors of ability or insight. They are more like rocket boosters that can change one’s mental, physical or spiritual trajectory, but the original trajectory for real insight has to be there in the first place. Those are prior causes, the manifestation of which is natural genius. But then for some reason, hard work seems way more important.

Wizard’s Blues

Posted in Future World, Political Science, Reality Bites, Relationships, sex, sex and violence, society, Stayin' Alive, The Arts with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 18, 2009 by wizardsmoke

Mammalian birth is a very strange act. As you become more aware of your body and organs, you realize that you were actually nurtured and born from a womb. All these organs were once physically attached to a mammalian mother. And those were attached to a mother as well, and so forth back into the earth itself.

Then when we’re born, we naturally attach to the attitudes and habits thrust upon us within our first environment. So, naturally, a child thinks everything a parent does is wise or worth following. But then you age and realize your parents are just people too. And then people you know start having kids and you realize that it doesn’t take any special qualifications to be a parent. The worst authority figures in the world, the most irresponsible people ever, will often become parents and have children who thusly admire them.

I guess that’s why child abuse is so disturbing, because children have such one-pointed needs to look up to someone. Strangely, there are different strands of child abuse. I sometimes think giving birth is an abusive act in general, especially considering the overpopulation issue these days, but hey — what can you do? Be a despot? Nah — too much competition in that field!

What shocks me is when people who have no curiosity about the world or anything at all. They grow up, get married young, never read many books, never pursue any personal interest, watch shitty movies, have kids and live off of their parents’ money or stay within some religious cult or group. For all purposes, they are completely isolated — like medieval villagers in the cyber-age. It doesn’t really matter to my life, so you’re probably wondering why I care about anyone else’s prerogatives, so long as they don’t directly effect me.

The truth is that eventually, when it all falls apart, will I have to step on other people? Will I have to be nice and let people walk all over me? It’s all fine when the economy is okay and there’s not that big of a problem when the economy is good. In fact, you could say economic output represents a nation’s self-esteem, well-being, directly tied to their “spiritual” concerns. I mean, who is generally into taking Yoga and martial arts super seriously? Upper-middle class people, for the most part (a generalization, and generalizations are bullshit, but hey). But when the money goes away, who really cares about lofty spiritual ideas and democracy?

There’s no need to worry about me, though. I don’t plan on being an evil jerk. And you know why: it’s because I’d rather die than live in a sick world, where there aren’t any tigers or bears but it’s overpopulated by people who use crappy computer stalking applications like Facebook.

I remember as a teenager, believing that stupid nonsense about ignorance being bliss, about intelligence alienating people, and so on. But now I think a lot of mental suffering is a choice (as opposed to physical/environmental suffering). I wouldn’t say people necessarily like suffering, because that implies that all of our behaviors are based on positive or negative choices in the psyche. Not true. People simply become obsessed with ideas to greater and lesser degrees (or not at all). That’s why when your friend is continually obsessed with the statistics and stories of serial killers, it’s a little creepy. It’s not like serial killers just decided to do bad things — they generally became obsessed with desires or exploring dangerous ideas that eventually possessed them to act it out.

So more and more I think that morals are naturally arising internal laws of group survival, whereas all obsessions are pretty equal of being just those: obsessions which lead to more of the same. In any case, I am worried because “democratic art” (capitalist media + culture) often ends up betraying a “weak spirit” — and what is art but the most direct reflection of cultural health?

Very Hot Yoga

Posted in Fighting, Future World, martial arts, Reality Bites, sex, sex and violence, Technology with tags , , , , , on March 26, 2008 by wizardsmoke

I really wonder about Yoga marketing. A while back I saw a blog post (I think I found the link on Formosa Neijia, but I don’t remember) that posited a very relevant question, asking why Yoga, instead of Taiji, was more popular as a marketable, new-age, meditation, health and fitness practice. The gist of the article was: Taiji is not sexy.

Yoga is sexy. You can do it in skimpy outfits, it requires sweaty endurance training, it creates obscene flexibility, it tones and shapes the body (or the booty? Haha! No seriously, there are nutty fake Yoga videos about developing the buttocks). On a purely empirical and physical level, it’s such an obvious cash crop for an adult female demographic! And of course I can see why more dudes are more attracted to martial arts or whatever here. Same supposed/promised results (inner peace, toned body, flexibility, athleticism, and of course booty) but it’s tough! Grrr!

Thing is, whenever I go to Yoga sites, they’re chock full of instructors in totally scanty outfits, sometimes in the most extreme asanas/poses! Yowza! Just who is their intended audience? I mentioned this to a friend, saying that some of those poses would be uncomfortable to witness a woman performing up close! That is, either a really attractive or unattractive woman… hahaha! Anyway, my friend is really politically correct so he didn’t think that was funny. He seemed to insinuate that I was a blasphemer for even conceiving of the idea (even though I didn’t – it floated by my psyche and I decided to attach to it, but I digress) Unfortunately, I was pseudo-serious: what male is going to a Yoga shala and isn’t completely blasted, completely awed by the sheer massive amount of female energy around them? In fact, maybe it’s dangerous, now that I think about it. Although going to one of these places could make a male less nervous around females in a social context, if a male consciously has that in mind when thinking of these places, they’re a slimeball. So, in other words, don’t let me near any shalas, haha!

But honestly, the real reason I don’t get involved in Yoga is because I’m naturally flexible. In a way that’s actually almost unhealthy. Over-flexibility is not that great if it hasn’t come from gradual strengthening. So, I don’t think yoga would be of huge benefit to me. And I’m pretty set into my own MA practices, which incidentally, take a lot of time out of the week.

Still, I’ve noticed a number of martial arts hombres who have taken up Yoga alongside their longtime martial arts practice. There have been a number of blog posts about it over on big Taiji-related blogs like Formosa Neijia and Weakness With A Twist. It seems like most of these guys do the martial arts first, though. I don’t really get it, since to my knowledge, it isn’t necessarily helpful or good from a fighting/combat perspective to be yoga flexible. Of course, some Shaolin-type training will do similar stretching, but whatever. We’re talking entirely different fundamentals for that kind of training. And I feel like that’s mostly athleticism (which is still awesome and useful). But straightforward martial technique generally calls for opened hips and good fluid dynamics (springing from the root, moving from the waist, moving and rooting, yielding and neutralizing, etc.), not limbs stretched beyond the socket or torso. (Remember, I don’t do Yoga or Shaolin, so don’t rage at my posts)

But! I’m very interested to see how yoga classes are set up. I just would not have any long-term commitment right from the get-go. So… I must stick to my guns and not check it out. And yet I do think if many more girls did martial arts it would be interesting. I wonder how the male demographic would react to that one?

Martial arts often lose out to Yoga in ethical reasoning these days. Why learn how to maim someone? Although martial arts might seem dangerous or unhealthy from a mental perspective, one should remember that like all technological progress, the techniques and teachings are only available because they’re no longer new or even openly useful. Whenever something is open to the public like that, it means it’s such old news it practically belongs in a museum. Nowadays, the only real culture is technology, and that’s obsolete as soon as it comes out. It’s like what that lesbian hitchhiker in Five Easy Pieces kept frothing at the mouth about, that everything is just a bunch of crap. Crap, crap and more crap. These days you can’t escape all the crap. She was nuts, but somehow also right!