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Moon Day Today

So I gave myself a light, grounded practice–opening (5 + 3), standing, 5 seated postures, backbends & closing. Enough to make me sweat & stretch but not enough to strain anything.

YogaMum has announced we’re having another WoYoPracMo in July which will be great for incentive & momentum.

But I’ve been getting practice incentive from another source which may seem strange to some… a Haruki Murakami article, ‘The Running Novelist’ in The New Yorker.

Of course anyone who knows me will know I worship the man’s writing–enough to find out about baseball & jazz–but till now it was just his writing…

In the article he talks about how he came to writing–& discovering that with a writer’s lifestyle he needed some way to keep fit

, but once I was sitting at a desk writing all day I started putting on the pounds… This couldn’t be good for me, I decided. If I wanted to have a long life as a novelist, I needed to find a way to stay in shape.

& chose running

As a form of exercise, running has a lot of advantages. First of all, you don’t need someone to help you with it; nor do you need any special equipment. You don’t have to go to any particular place to do it. As long as you have a pair of running shoes and a good road you can run to your heart’s content.

Just substitute ‘padded mat’ for ‘running shoes’ and ‘1 1/2 X your bodylength & bodywidth in floorspace’ for the ‘good road’ & he could be talking about yoga, right?

His timetable & priorities also sound very close to a yoga focused life & choices,

Once I began my life as a novelist, my wife and I decided that we’d go to bed soon after it got dark and wake up with the sun. To our minds, this was a more natural, respectable way to live. We also decided that from then on we’d try to see only the people we wanted to see, and, as much as possible, get by without seeing those we didn’t…
In my new, simple, regular life, I got up before 5 A.M. and went to bed before 10 P.M. Different people are at their best at different times of day, but I’m definitely a morning person. That’s when I can focus. Afterward, I work out or do errands that don’t take much concentration. At the end of the day, I relax, read, or listen to music. Thanks to this pattern, I’ve been able to work efficiently now for twenty-seven years. ‘

and for the days when he doesn’t feel like running,

‘whenever I feel like I don’t want to run, I always ask myself the same thing; You’re able to make a living as a novelist, working at home, setting your own hours. You don’t have to commute on a packed train or sit through boring meetings. Don’t you realize how fortunate you are? Compared with that, running an hour around the neighborhood is nothing, right? Then I lace up my running shoes and set off without hesitating.

He has been running every day since he was thirty-three years old. He points out it is not for everybody–it must suit your body. And once it becomes part of your routine & a habit it isn’t even about will power any more.

Ashtanga is what suits my body best. I want my yoga practice to be like his running–part of the daily writing & living routine.

Anyway, found this piece (The New Yorker, June 9 & 16, translated by Philip Gabriel) really inspiring.

13 Responses

  1. No i dont speak japanese ! I wish i can. I can read some though. I know a bit only. Only a bit.

  2. *Impressed* you speak japanese? *actually–jealous*

    yes, I love the food there. Especially the yudofu & the rest of the vegetarian Shojin Ryori dishes. It’s so great because compared with our local vegetarian ‘traditions’ that seem to focus on ‘mock duck’ & ‘mock fish’ etc, their dishes seem to celebrate the vegetables for what they are.

    Dreaming of yudofu now… blocks of denser, creamier tofu then we get here, served in a hot broth and eaten dipped in sauce mixed to your own taste with seaweed, leeks, spring onions and of course wasabi!
    Yes, have tried to make it here. No, it’s not the same!!!

  3. Yeah i agree the place is beautiful. I like the food in kyoto to be honest. The japanese inn experience is very nice too. Oh well i spent most of my money on food haha. i will never forget the japanese breakfast at the inn.

    I hv no problem with the language cos i know a bit of japanese. There was a japanese frd with us on that trip so getting ard is easy.

    I know what u mean by loving and hating it haha.

  4. wow! I wanna be like that old lady!!

    okay I’m going to sleep more & find myself a kimono…

    Did you like Kyoto? Though I had a problem with the language (memorising phrasebook doesn’t do any good when you don’t understand the answers you get!) I thought it was an incredibly beautiful place!

    I’m so torn between loving (Haruki M, emergency rescue teams, fabric prints) & hating (Yasukuni shrine & company)Japan & the Japanese.

  5. I went kyoto sometime in autumn 2006. Oh i forgot to mention that old lady was in her kimono. So she had to kneel down put the bloody heavy tray down slid open the door. Walk into the room, kneel down carry the heavy tray and stand up walk to the table. Kneel down agn put the tray down and place the dishes on the table. U need to hv a strong arms and strong back to do all that. Damn it, i mean it she is really strong for her age.
    I think its not just the chinese medical tradition, the western medicine also agrees that our bodies repair and detox at nite. Our bodies grow at nite when we sleep too. That explains why those of us who sleeps early when they were younger grow taller.

  6. Yes, his routine IS inspiring. Though, I admit the judge in me says, oh running, bad for your back, bad for your knees—yoga, much better!

  7. Only if you live in London.

    I think it was Sharon Salzberg (or some other teacher) who wrote about this guru of hers who doesn’t speak. Apparently the teacher gets up at 5am and sleeps at 10pm every single day of his life.

    When the students asked him the secret to his discipline, he wrote: “If you get up at 5am everyday, you will end up sleeping at 10pm everyday.”

    When I first read it, it was a “Heh!” moment of clarity.

  8. I want to be nice to my liver too–do you think sleeping at 9pm GMT counts for us living in Singapore???

    But yes. The early sleep early rise pattern/habit is something I’d like to work towards too.

  9. I think there is something to the sleeping before 10 pm rule. Heard from somewhere that according to Chinese medical tradition, at the certain time of the night, the body starts to repair specific parts of the body. Around 10 pm is the liver, I think, which does all the detox bits.

    When we sleep late, the body needs to use more energy to stay up, giving less energy to the liver to do its job. A body that is well-detoxed tend to look and feel younger because it runs more efficiently – sort of like a car.

    Eating less also means the body spend less energy digesting – allowing more energy for DNA repair etc.

    I bet you that old lady in Kyoto has great liver function.

  10. That’s great Jo! I totally know what you mean. When were you in Kyoto? I was there once (work) but stayed in the recommended hotel so totally missed the inn experience.

    Wish I could keep up the up at 5am thing though… after being out late last night I was in bed till 8++ today!

  11. I know one person who sleeps at 9 pm ish and wakes up at 5 am ish. She is someone who works in an inn in kyoto. She happened to be the one serving me breakfast every morning when i was there for a holiday. She is 70 over years old but looks like 50. She doesnt have a single white hair. She is really strong for her age. The breakfast she had to carry into my room was really heavy as its a full course breakfast. There were abt 8 dishes on the tray she carried and i ate them all haha. I miss the yummy breakfast!
    I think its her healthy diet and her sleeping habit that makes her so healthy and looks so young.

  12. you worse than me! I know it’s coming out but just meant to camp out at the Page One till it arrived…

  13. I believe Murakami’s “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running” is hitting the local bookshelves in July. So, watch out for it.

    I have my copy reserved already, because I’m an Aries and we are impatient! ;p

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