Well, she wears them:
Please, Obama family, can one of you wear this one next?
Well, she wears them:
Please, Obama family, can one of you wear this one next?
“Yeah, you can request one,” came the reply from Mr. Hipster DJ at Amigos, the bar at the Ace Hotel. His inflection indicated that he was probably just going to play whatever he wanted anyways, and that it would probably be one of the worst songs ever. And by “worst,” I mean very bad according to the following categories:
2) Songs people have ever heard before or ever want to hear
3) Songs that don’t sound like Devendra Banhart imitating Tool (yeah, think about that one.)
I had seen him wearing jorts (see below) in the jacuzzi earlier, so I knew his taste was questionable.
Requesting a known-good song seemed like the only solution: “Do you have ‘Pass this On’ by the Knife?”
DJ: “What year was that album?”
Me: “2009, I think.” I was prepared to offer a backup request, but his reply left me speechless:
“I wouldn’t know that song. I only play esoteric music.”
I was so surprised that a person would actually say this that I asked to take a picture with him.
And then a subsequent picture where he was smiling:
After that we left. Because the music was so terrible.
Hipsters freak me out a little bit, because they make me wonder if I sort of am one. I mean, I wear outfits like this:
I like to think I enjoy things on their merits, and when I find good things I try to share them. But I still do sort of meet the best definition of “hipster” that I’ve ever found:
Editor and contributor to the book “What Was the Hipster?,” Mark Greif writes that the hipster is the “hip consumer.” According to Greif, the hipster is one who does not create but instead consumes in all the right ways, whether it be eating the right food, wearing the right clothes or listening to the right music.
The thing is, obscure things can be good and you can really like them.** What makes it “hipster” is the lack of creating (and no, creating an amalgamation of esoteric cultural references via your outfit, home décor, or general mannerisms totally does not count) combined with really, really wanting to show that you’re different and cooler for picking the things that you do.
“There are the those whose own vulgar normality is so apparent and stultifying that they strive to escape it. They affect flamboyant behaviour and claim originality according to the fashionable eccentricities of their time. They claim brains or talent or indifference to mores in desperate attempts to deny their own mediocrity.”
― Katherine Dunn, Geek Love
I get it: none of us wants to be a “norm,” because we all think we’re really special.
The above sentiment boils down why we practice yoga in the first place: we’re all the same, and we all need the same things. This is hard to remember, because hanging out in the yoga scene for a while can start to make you feel like you are, indeed, a special individual.* How many of us yoga people have lamented that certain businesses (#corepowerandlululemon) have diluted “the practice,” made it “all about asana” or other similar opinions?
It’s okay if you’re just starting to realize you might be part yoga hipster. The evidence suggesting that I might be one is everywhere. For example, here are some terms people have searched to find this blog. Um, “hipster yoga meme?”
And if you google “hipster yoga meme,” here are the image results. Check out the bottom right corner.
We like to make fun of hipsters (and don’t want to be considered one) because they’re trying so SO hard to do the right, cool thing. Because they take themselves too seriously. Because their layers of ego are as thick as the lenses on their Elvis Costello sunglasses.
But this is lame, and here’s why: trying hard at something is cool. Hipsters have half of the equation figured out, and should keep trying really hard. The part they get wrong is what to try at. Instead of doing this:
Instead of this:
What if we all took the energy that we consume thinking about and influencing other peoples’ opinions about ourselves and redirected it into creating something amazing? Just imagine: no more look-how-hot-I-am or my-life-is-awesome Facebook posts, no more pretending that Nickelback doesn’t have some okay songs***, no more reading into or caring what kind of car someone drives or what kind of bag they carry or books they read.
If we pool our hipster energies, we can make a world that looks like the carefully curated lobby above: thoughtful, considered, and weirdly beautiful (or at least awesomely comical, which is sort of the same thing).
Part of growing up is not waiting in line at a hipster breakfast restaurant. The eggs taste the same across the street. I promise. - Jason Segel
*As soon as you start to think like this, you should do better/more yoga, because it isn’t working.
**Just like all the other hipsters.
***Just kidding. Everyone knows Nickelback is horrible.
If you’re a baker, making bread, you’re a baker. If you make the best bread in the world, you’re not an artist, but if you bake the bread in the gallery, you’re an artist. So the context makes the difference.
I hate kitchens. I don’t understand these enormous American kitchens that take up half the living room and then they just order pizza.
Also Marina Abramovic
Fall is the best time to bake, especially if you have one of those big American kitchens. I know everyone and her mom is posting recipes on the internet these days, but I like to think that since I’m such a lazy (efficient?) baker, this one is worth trying. Even if you just approximate the measurements (I usually do!) it will turn out great.
1 cup raisins
¾ cup sunflower butter
¾ cup sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp allspice
1 tbsp ground cloves
2 tbsp orange zest
1 cup vegan milk of choice
¾ cup flour
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup flour
¼ cup olive oil
Mix the sunflower butter and sugar together. Add the rest of the ingredients in the order above. It will look like pancake batter.
Cut up 6 apples into little cubes. If you are very lazy, outsource this to someone you live with.
Place cut apples and raisins in a baking dish (Any kind is fine. See, lazy!) pour pancake-ish mixture on top. Use the empty mixing bowl to make the crust- put all 3 ingredients required and stir it around with a fork until it looks like crumbs, or very dry, not-stuck-together cookie dough. You can eat some if you like with said fork, it’s good.
Scoop out the crumb part onto top of the apples and gooey stuff. Bake in the oven at 425 for about 30 minutes, or until it gels together and gets brown on top. If you knife it in the middle to test doneness, it will always be gooey- go by looks instead. Try to take a picture of yourself doing a handstand in your kitchen while it bakes:
If you accidentally undercook it, that’s fine- it’s vegan! You can eat it absolutely raw with almost no chance of getting salmonella.
Put on some Van Morrison (I don’t know why, it just seems to fit with fall and baking) and eat it straight from the pan.
Yoga for Unicorns has not retired. It has moved!
I was at a dinner-ish party shortly before the aforementioned move. One of the guests, a cheerful and super honest woman I had never previously met, was asking me about my upcoming location change.
“So you live in Del Mar, right? Wow, Del Mar is so nice.”
“Yeah,” I said. “But I’m moving this weekend! To Ocean Beach.”
“Oh.” The look of surprise and confusion she suppressed was so obvious that it made us both laugh. “Well, that is about the biggest change you could make just moving from one part of San Diego to another.”
That lady is right. Del Mar and Ocean Beach (OB) are the geographic bookends of San Diego proper: they represent two culturally almost-opposite ends of the city while still maintaining so many fundamental qualities in common. It’s sort of the difference between skiing and snowboarding: anyone unfamiliar with both usually thinks they’re largely the same. Yeah, they’re both things to do in the snow. But check out these people:
Do they look like they’d be friends with these guys?
Probably not.* But maybe, right?
Both Del Mar (well, Carmel Valley) and OB boast locally owned “healthy” grocery stores. Both have an unusually high percentage of people who are really into crystal healing and are presently attending a yoga teacher training. But, as a wise person once told me, it’s the differences that make all the difference. Have you seen those charts in the New York Times Magazine that compare two couldn’t-possibly-be-more-different but somehow matching things? Here is my version of one for Del Mar and OB:
Wait, homeless? Like, people that have no house? That still happens? I’m going to start a nonprofit for that!
Del Mar: None. Seriously, and this always sort of bugged me. Unless you count Starbucks, which was closed for renovations when I moved. I witnessed a disoriented pride of triathletes rolling up one morning, all incredulous and outraged. Del Mar needs a coffee shop, business-y people. It would be a very successful venture.
What the surfers look like
Del Mar: To steal a line from Alice Gregory’s amazing recent piece for N+1, “posess(ing) all of the features that constitute a modern, normative standard of beauty, but to a ghoulish degree… so blond and so tan so lean that it actually starts to look like one big mess of congenital disorders…” (sounds harsh, but that story is so awesome, click on the link above to read it)
OB: Same as the above, but also some mustachioed hipsters.
What are people doing at 9am?
OB: Going to yoga, after just waking up. Or maybe after waking and baking.
Del Mar: Going to yoga, after drinking a gluten free kale and cashew juice and spending half an hour taking pictures of themselves on the (great lighting!) patio #doing #yoga #every #day. #soblessed #gratitude
What are people doing at 2pm?
Del Mar: Confirming a Reiki appointment for their dog. Or going to one of the many puzzling events at the Del Mar Library.
OB: Playing hackysack, hula hooping, or going to the OB Crystal Store. While drinking a pumpkin-kale-goji juice.
Outfits often spotted
Del Mar: Current/Elliot Jeans with Yves St. Laurent Tribute heels and a seasonally appropriate top.
OB: What you slept in, or yoga-ish clothes that would be impossible to actually do yoga in. Or this:
Del Mar: Darrell Issa, a 60-yar-old republican white guy former CEO (the wealthiest member of congress!) from Cleveland, Ohio who moved to California after a huge fire consumed his Midwestern office space. Fortunately, he had increased his insurance policy 462 % and moved all the important files and computers out of said office a few weeks before the fire.
OB: Susan Davis, a former social worker whose claim to fame is authoring a state law giving women direct access to their OB/Gyn doctors without requiring a referral from their primary care physicians. After graduating from Berkeley, she worked with at-risk youths in Israel and traded living on a kibbutz for living in Japan with her Navy-guy husband.
You get the idea. Del Mar is nice/fancy “hippie” and OB is hippy Hippy hippie. This store is here, and it is real:
I used to have this idea that people were a function of the place they lived. Traveling to the Midwest during college one fall, I noticed that everyone was so sedentary and would talk about how much weight they were gaining. “How dumb,” I remember thinking. “Why don’t they just go for a jog or a swim?” I got my answer the following morning. I never knew that 30 degree weather meant like, literally freezing. I got as far as the mailbox before turning around and deciding I’d just drive the three blocks to get a coffee. Not only is there no ocean to swim in, there’s also no lap pool in the yard. Southern California is warm and beautiful for most of the year, so everyone exercises more and more easily. Geography as destiny, right?
After living in San Diego (and Del Mar, which is technically its own city) for eight years now, I’ve changed my mind. The place doesn’t make you a certain way; a certain type of person moves to the place that fits her. It’s like Hollywood in the early 20th century, when the olden days equivalent of the most theater-major/homecoming queen person from every little town in the Midwest moved out to LA for the chance at a part in a “talkie.” Like in the 1850’s when you could move out here make a theoretical fortune panning for gold.**
People can’t help where they’re born, but where you land is up to you. And if you can pick your landing spot, chances are that the people already there picked it for the same reasons you did. Which is why the surfers everywhere look pretty much the same, and so do the triathletes.
I guess my point is that your “home” can be anywhere, and even multiple places at the same time. Even places that are really different from one another.
“Home is the nicest word there is.”
― Laura Ingalls Wilder
So sayonara Del Mar; I’ll keep you in my heart. Here’s a handstand on the deck to prove it.
*Side note: the pic of the ladies is from an article called “how to look cool while skiing,” an article I hope no one I know has ever read.
**It’s often remarked that Californians, being the progeny of these types (gold rushers, starlets, etc.) contains an especially risk-comfortable gene pool. This is similar to the theory that ADHD is more prevalent in the US because we’re the great-great-great grandkids of everyone who decided they were bored with where they were from and adventured to new and unknown parts. I think both of these theories are great.
This article sums it up pretty well.
“If you feel lost, disappointed, hesitant, or weak, return to yourself, to who you are, here and now and when you get there, you will discover yourself, like a lotus flower in full bloom, even in a muddy pond, beautiful and strong.”
― Masaru Emoto, The Secret Life of Water
This morning, I saw a yoga student wearing this shirt:
Which is, of course, supposed to be the way to build more strength if your arms give up and go on strike after your second Surya Namaskar B. I was so impressed with this shirt that I took to the internet to find it. Instead I found these. In no particular order, some of the best yoga shirts around.
And I know it’s not a shirt, but:
“Everyone may be ordinary, but they’re not normal.”
“Fairness is a concept that holds only in limited situations. Yet we want the concept to extend to everything, in and out of phase. From snails to hardware stores to married life. Maybe no one finds it, or even misses it, but fairness is like love. What is given has nothing to do with what we seek.”
As an in-studio yoga teacher, I get asked all the time how one should start an at-home yoga practice.
The real (and snarky) answer is that you, you know, just roll out your mat and start doing some yoga. At your house.
But that would be the shortest article ever, and probably not very helpful. So here are 5 actual tips on how to practice yoga at your house, in your yard, on the beach, or anywhere other than a studio with a teacher leading you.
1. Have a blueprint.
I mostly practice Ashtanga at home:
One of the best things about having a sequence or system is that it can be easier to follow directions than to chart your own course. Think back to anything else you’ve ever “practiced”: No swim coach is ever going to start practice by saying “Okay guys, today, we’re gonna jump in the pool and SWIM. Ready? Go.”
No way. You’re given precise and defined instructions: Swim ten 100-freestyles on the 1:30. Same goes for practicing a language with those Pimsleur recordings or playing a musical instrument. You’re assigned things. If you’re learning by repetition, it’s easier if the course is already plotted for you. A set sequence is nice in this way.
So have some idea of what you’re going to do before you start. Use a book, a written outline, or any other kind of “cheat sheet” you need.
2. Set up a space for yourself.
You don’t need to have deity statues or incense burning or anything fancy, though that stuff can be nice. Really, the only thing you do need is a space that’s big enough to fit a yoga mat in all three directions you’ll be moving, and the mat itself.
If you want to be really hardcore, you don’t even need a mat at all.
I practice in my dining/hammock-y room:
Think about the logistics of how your practice will go: do you like to listen to music? Have other people you live with that might be milling around in your potential space? Like the temperature to be a certain way? All of these are things to consider.
3. Commit to a time, like it’s a class.
The best way to stay committed to something is to slice a piece of time in your day to do it.
Have you ever played a competitive sport? Taken piano lessons? It’s no coincidence that your swim/baseball/cross-country/lacrosse two-a-days or afterschool orchestra rehearsals were called “Practice.” When you devote specific hours to things, you get better at them. The same is true of yoga.
Commit a block of time to practice, and…
4. Ask friends to join.
One of the reasons studio classes are so popular is that it’s easier to stay motivated when other people are enduring the same long warrior 1.
If you know other yoga people, ask them to come join you. I recommend inviting people who are similar in terms of what they want from a practice.
This can also be a great way to get to know some fellow yogis outside of class.
5. Start small.
Sometimes I totally don’t want to practice at all. But then I tell myself that I’ll only do some sun salutes, and then be done. It never fails: I always want to keep going. If you’re just starting, start off easy. Make a small, easily achievable goal. Chances are, you’ll keep going.
Because that’s the thing about practicing anything- when something is really important to you, you gain momentum in the doing. The work itself becomes incidental, because you’re so completely absorbed in what you’re doing. And that, by some counts, is the very definition of yoga.
Happy home practicing!
I’m a believer that anyone and everyone who’s interested in yoga ought to study it at the source. But this is especially true for yoga teachers: check out this awesome article by my friend and India roomie Laci Chiodo for some reasons why.
Today is the New Moon: a rest day!
The new moon occurs when the moon and the sun have the same ecliptical longitude, or when the moon lies closest to the sun in the sky as seen from the earth. The moon today falls into the Nakshatra called Purva Phalguni, whose main symbol is the front legs of a bed.
The Shiva Lingam is also super appropriate for a rest day: it symbolizes the power of destruction to make way for new creation and rejuvenation. It’s been said that during the new moon, the gravitational pull of the water element on our bodies is at its weakest, keeping fluctuations of emotion at bay. It’s easier to be calm, silent, and observant.
“Every person needs to take one day away. A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future. Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence. Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.”
― Maya Angelou, Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now
So in the spirit of Purva Phalguni, take a cue from LazyManYoga.com and yoga restfully today:
Happy Moon Day!