August 21, 2014
Terminal Asana: DFW

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport

Code: DFW

I have spent approximately 8 days in Dallas the TV show (13 seasons= 200ish hours) and exactly zero days in Dallas proper. I am ashamed, both because there are real live folks I miss in Dallas and because maybe if they miss me too they will take me to see Southfork!

In my 3 hours in Dallas, no one smelled like Aqua Net or scotch. Maybe it was because the hours were between 5 and 8 am, but I still felt like this was not the Dallas I knew. I arrived for my layover fresh off a redeye from Seattle shared with the world’s orneriest toddler. (Does cherry cordial count in the TSA liquid allowance if you only carry it to dose rowdy snotlings? What about chloroform? What about hammers?) I felt impossibly blessed and centered as I walked between terminals D and C, finding the slightly widened section of hallway partitioned off and called “DFW Yoga Studio.”

There are potted plants, poses painted on the walls, and perhaps the itchiest, gnarliest, pokiest surface imaginable for you to roll out one of the mats provided and get yogaing!

The mats are serviceable, if thin, and very necessary. DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES LET YOUR BARE SKIN TOUCH THE BLUE SURFACE. I have no idea where they found it, or why they thought it would be better than the straight-up linoleum, but while it is not a texture that exists in nature, it will persist in your memory should you encounter it with say, the back of your thigh. When my twin sister and I played sharks in the ocean and jumped back and forth between our beds, this is what we imagined landing in the sharks would feel like. That said, it has some natural light, it’s gawker-free, and the guest book demonstrates that it provides a great deal of comfort to travelers. Even if you don’t give a shit about yoga, it’s a nice place to lie down and read, or turn on the DVD and watch the attractive lady do yoga.image

Bottom line: I recommend! If you’re really fussy about your mat, bring your own, but they have wipeys and everything. If nothing else, reading the guest book is a good time. There’s no Dallas tributes or memorabilia anywhere in the airport, so what else were you going to do?

August 11, 2014
The Completely Baseless Advice Yoga Teachers Give to Women

I’ve been complaining about this for ages, but it’s nice to see Slate on board.

August 8, 2014
Journaling Yoga Journal

Yoga Journal is to yoga what Architectural Digest is to architecture.

I don’t necessarily mean this in a bad way. I enjoy pretty things, and sometimes I spend money. Since I don’t aspire to buy or improve or build a building, but I do lots of yoga, YJ is generally fine reading for me, or at least of more interest than, say, Hobby Farms, Birds and Blooms or the aforementioned Architectural Digest. Still, YJ is primarily a compendium of products meant to accompany a particular lifestyle—a glossy grass-fed version of the Val-Pack coupon book that shows up in the mail every few months. On a page per page basis, YJ compares unfavorably with O, a magazine that basically exists to disseminate the shopping habits of a single billionaire, but has more text devoted to mindfulness and more accurate health advice than YJ. Still, my standards for YJ are pretty low, so I was sincerely gobsmacked when I opened the September 2014 issue and found a six-page fashion spread called “Love your Curves” with text by Jean Weiss and photography by Ashley Davis Tilly. The piece offers general advise for five different shapes—three of which I’d heard of (hourglass, apple, pear) and two that seemed invented for the sake of having more pictures. Has anyone ever said, I’m looking for jeans to flatter my rectangular body? In any case, the models had been extracted from the yoga mines of Colorado, and all looked pretty much like yoga teachers, except, you know, not super skinny. In fact, they looked so much like yoga teachers (and students, for that matter) that it was curious that they were only getting these six pages of YJ. The article before this was an interview with Hilaria Baldwin, who does not, in fact, look like a yoga teacher.* So far, so good—women in Yoga Journal who like women I practice with. Great! But why, YJ, would you put a “pear” in pants from lululemon? Did you forget that they explicitly don’t want to  “embrace curves?” Did you want to make sure that any attentive reader would quickly realize that these “curvy” models are in fact, just kind of short? Is there a mudra for facepalm?


*Hilaria Baldwin looks like a conventionally foxy chick with somewhat unconventionally small tits, which she plays up by posing in clothes that yoga teachers don’t wear, like fancy heels and cocktail dresses. Based on her Instagram, she needs more help finding yoga clothes than YJ’s apples and pears and wedges do. 

August 6, 2014
Terminal Asana: MLI

This is a new series in which I review the most necessary of practice venues for many of us: airports. It’s called “Terminal Asana” even though that sounds sort of awful, because sometimes practicing at the airport is sort of awful.

Quad City International Airport

Code: MLI

In general I love to practice in airports like MLI. As municipal gifts from wealthy corporations, they are often far more spacious than they need to be. MLI has many amenities missing from the terminals of similarly-sized cities, including a bar on both sides of security, a warren of comfy leather tippy chairs, and tons of space to unroll your mat and practice. What could go wrong?

After doing at least 30 minutes of yoga before each of the dozen or so flights I’ve taken out of MLI in the last couple of years, I was surprised to be approached by three security guards as I transitioned from Primary to Intermediate. They were very polite, but told me that some of my fellow travelers had complained about me, and that I could continue my “exercises” in a place called the VIP room. Utterly discombobulated, I asked what I had done. A guard assured me that I was fine, he’d seen me before, but “there was just a couple people worried, y’know, about the children,” and that there would be free water in the VIP room. I assumed by “VIP room” he meant a rectangular cell with a stainless-steel commode in the corner, hard bunks lining the walls, and dead-eyed fellow travelers with unfortunate names like Hussein, Osama, or Barak. Instead, it was simply a rectangular room separated into a lounge and business center, right off the B concourse and super close to the gates (to be fair, in a terminal like MLI, you can’t ever get very far from the gates). There was indeed free bottled water and plenty of space to practice yoga. As they deposited me there, for my own safety and that of the children, one of the guards said that I should just come up to security whenever I fly out of MLI and they will gladly give me access to the VIP room (see below).


Bottom line: I recommend practicing at MLI. Clearly the patrons need more exposure to yoga. If you’d rather not be a pioneer, you will definitely get VIP service, as whoever complained about me really put the fear of Shiva into their security. It’s up to you: privacy and free water, or spacious terminal and potential accusations of witchcraft. Either way, it’s a win!

August 2, 2014
"Every day is opening night. The best you can do when you miss a step or flub your line is to keep going like it’s in the script and know that the crowd is behind you."

August 1, 2014
"There were concerns, you know, children might see, that sort of thing."

— Security guard in Moline airport, explaining why I needed to stop practicing yoga in the terminal.

July 30, 2014

#practice #ashtangayoga #hathayoga #ashtangateacher #discipline #tenacity

New mistakes=progress. 


#practice #ashtangayoga #hathayoga #ashtangateacher #discipline #tenacity

New mistakes=progress. 

July 24, 2014
Does my yoga teacher have super strength? No. X-Ray Vision? Yes. (Ask Dubious Drishti)

Dear D.D.,

I’m totally obsessed with yoga, to the point that my friends have suggested that I might want to become a yoga teacher. I’m really torn. I’d love to learn more about yoga, but my yoga teachers seem so far beyond me in terms of their practice—they just lift right up into bakasana, headstand, whatever they need to demonstrate, and I’m not sure if I can do that. Are they mutants? Will yoga teacher training make me like them, or will I have to get bitten by a radioactive yogi?


Prana Parker

Dear P.P.

First of all, the bad news: those friends who want you to look into becoming a yoga teacher? You have bored the living shit of them with your asananine chatter, and this is the most polite way they’ve found to get you to savasana up. The good news: lots of people make great friends in yoga teacher training!

Do not be intimidated because your role models seem so far beyond you. First of all, if you have an amazing teacher, it probably means that she has a committed long-term personal practice. She probably shapes that practice with guidance from her amazing teacher. She did not become an amazing teacher just because she took teacher training. Teacher training will not turn anyone into a tictacking dynamo. It will allow you to dig deeper into yoga with people who will not be put off by your enthusiasm. If giving 200 hours over to yoga theory and practice sounds good to you, do it, don’t let your lack of super powers stop you.

The super powers come as you teach. The adrenalin that gives moms the strength to lift cars off their young? That will allow you to demonstrate a dropback without warming up. The power to see through clothing? As you observe class after class, the hunched shoulder will shine through the baggy t-shirt. And when people get their hips up and back in downward dog? You will see their genitals right through their $125 pants.

As someone’s uncle once said, “with great power comes great responsibility.” Just practice and you’ll be ready for the power when it comes.


Dubious D.

July 16, 2014

The truth! By Ann Reinking, who knows from craft (and no doubt diets, too).


The truth! By Ann Reinking, who knows from craft (and no doubt diets, too).

July 11, 2014
Call to Arms/Asses: Toward a Feminist Practice

I buy my chocolate at ALDI, my books from Amazon, and my apples coated in delicious Alar. I am not only not a conscientious consumer, I might not even be a conscious consumer (e-reading under the influence can be particularly challenging). However, when one of my sisters in asana tries to get a cute pair of leggings, only to be told, “nothing but black pants for you, Fatty,” well, that gets my back right up, and I’m in second series now, so backbends can be fairly dramatic. The following companies do not offer bottoms beyond a size 12. Imagine Joan from Mad Men right before her period—that’s a size 12. A statistically average American woman is a size 14. I’m a size 6, but from now on I will shop like a 16, and I encourage those of you who care about making yoga accessible to everyone to do the same (not that it matters what you wear). Here are the biggest offerings from major yoga brands in dress size—some of whom, cough, lulu, ahem, have already been pretty clear about where their hearts are when it comes to asses.

For shame!                         For slightly less shame!          For reals!                    

lululemon       12                   Onzie             14                            Prana   16

Sweaty Betty  12                  Zobha            14                            Zella     16

Hard Tail         12                  Jala               14-16                        Athleta  20

Mika               12

If I’m going to spring for “real” yoga wear, it better be for real people.

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