SLI: Dirty Feet, Dirty Concepts, Ashtanga on Demand • 26 April 2008

Skipped work Friday and took my two-year-old niece to the beach. We rode the creepy carousel on the Santa Monica pier, me just zoning out to the nightmare calliope, staring into the spiraling mirrors, and waiting for it to end.

Then we rode it again. And again.

She’s so excited by her environment, her huge slate blue eyes beneath hair the same weird color as mine are wide, glinty, always hypnotically changing. She misses her mom and attaches to the thing that most resembles her… a big plushie owl. The intense, preternatural need in her, the rawness of emotion in this, her first transference relationship. Her trust and love for me, as perhaps with students’, come from other associations that map easily on to me. (I am not too maternal, but don’t throw up much static for someone who might want to see that here). It is wonderful to be there for it. I will be her Aunt her whole life. I feel myself reciprocating the bond, letting her pull me out to the water with my jeans on, even though there’s nothing I hate like dirty feet and sand in my things.

What else? This week, the longstanding rivalry between yogis and hipsters dissolved when Time magazine equated the two.

It’s not that a cultural boundary has changed so much as that both concepts have lost their crispness enough that the middlebrow milquetoast magazine can throw them around like nothing. As a notorious, maddening, extremely cute, French sociologist reminded me Thursday, our concepts are little animals and when we take them out to play, sometimes they get dirty. That’s when we bring them home and clean them up again for future use, so our thoughts become clear again.

I’m all for cleaning up “hipster,” restoring it as a properly circumscribed term of abuse. But maybe we’ll leave the concept of “ashtangi” a little more dirty?

Meanwhile, until the hipster/ashtangi boundary gets redrawn, I will celebrate yoga-hipster nonduality by publicly demonstrating the primary series, on a Saturday, at a yoga lifestyle store I often ridicule. (Turns out their labor practices are improving a bit). The friend who set up this event is upset that there is no ashtanga awareness in the culture this corporation is generating.

Ok. So I’m taking my manifestly nerdy ass over there in my anti-brand-name clothes. Will they dress me up in trademark garb to get a on my Marichyasana D?

It’s one o’clock Saturday at Lululemon, and don’t you dare bring a camera if you swing by. I’m feeling weird enough about it already, but I know two hours of secret Saturday ritual beforehand will mellow out the introverted awkwardness. Saturday after SS is when my wheels finally, briefly spin to a stop every week, so it’ll be interesting to see how public ashtanga-on-demand fits in to the energetic cycle.