Monday, 27 April 2009

Dirty u-bends and therapeutic flying

photo from
An interesting weekend just gone... The most part of my Saturday was spent balancing on strangers' feet, as per the colourful picture above, practicing 'elephant walking' my hands, stacking my bones and getting to grips with 'therapeutic flying'.

It was all part of a one-day workshop hosted by the co-founders of acroyoga Jason Nemer and Jenny Sauer-Klein. They basically play with yoga poses, bodywork techniques (especially thai yoga massage) and acrobatics to come up with a whole host of flying poses and moves which can be invigorating and spectacular or relaxing and therapeutic. Eventually practitioners can move together in a kind of vinyasa practice transitioning smoothly from pose to pose.

Whilst it took me a little time to get used to letting my upside down head rest on a stranger's belly, I really liked the playfulness and weirdness of it. Try doing the 'walnut' pose, where you're folded up over your partner's up-stretched legs, with your head tucked through and your hands gripping your touching feet - it just feels freaky, in a kind of wonderful way. It made me feel like I was a little lemur or something hanging out in the forest...

We were also introduced to thai massage, which I haven't experienced before. I really like the precept that it's all about allowing the body to work in the most effortless and efficient way - stacking the bones and using their weight rather than using muscle exertion and effort. In this way it serves both giver and receiver through being a gentle but firm touch for the receiver, and an interesting yoga work-out for the giver. Something I would definitely like to look into further

We finished the day with great big back bends giving a real sense of expansiveness and openness, and then an exercise called the 'water bed', which involved a lot of shaking, giggling and energy - the room must have looked quite crazy but I think everyone finished on a high...

Apart from the balancing and bodywork, I've also been inspired by this blog on the acroyoga site, which recounts a challenge by one of the acroyogis to keep every piece of rubbish (trash) for the duration of a three-month tour. Adi carried a bag around with her with every piece of (non-food) trash she produced. Surely this is the ideal way to really get in touch with what we are throwing away so flippantly all the time. Waste disposal has been so easy for so long that I guess most of us take it all for granted, with just a vague idea perhaps of the fact that it all has to end up Somewhere.


I had a particularly unpleasant illustration of some of what I throw out on Sunday, when the water refused to go down the kitchen sink plughole. After a lot of poking around we decided to get under the sink and unscrew all the plastic piping. And wow, what an ungodly stinking mess we uncovered. Thick brown sludge that has accummulated there over time. It really made me think about how unthinkingly we flush away and pour away and disappear what mess we produce.

(We were quite proud of our plumbing efforts though, neither of us having ventured into such territories before!)

So, I think I'm going to challenge myself to take up my own rubbish-carrying experiment to see how much I really produce, and what else I can cut out. I'm pretty good at buying unpackaged veg now, but there are so many other areas I need to think about. Over the next month or so I'll think about ways I can reduce what I am throwing out even more, and then - let's set a date - go for a month of waste collecting in June! There, I'm committed to it now. Slightly terrified by the vision of trying to cart around a suitcase full of junk, so I'm really going to have to concentrate on cutting it down! Any good waste-reducing tips willingly received!


kylli said...

yoga rocks. Sounds cool fun - but not so sure about the rubbish collecting............i;d be walking around with bags of nappies. But I think you are right it certainly makes you realise how much stuff is thrown away. I just stepped up recylcing properly and realised how much I was putting in the wrong bin..... and wasting!

LK said...

I think when Adi did her rubbish collecting she had a caveat about potentially bacterially dangerous stuff or something, which I think nappies would fall under! I don't really feel in a position to comment on nappies not having to deal with them every day, but there are lots of modern non-disposable alternatives nowadays (the eco-shopper book I flagged up earlier has a good run-down of this) so there is the possibility to not have these as waste.

the acro-yoga was really fun! there are a couple of regular classes in London I am thinking of trying...