Saturday, November 27, 2004

coffee shampoo?

once again this stuff is too good to make up: a small german study suggests that a coffee shampoo with intense amounts of caffeine may slow or stop hair loss in men. i know some eye creams include caffeine because it is believed to reduce the appearance of crows' feet.

but applying caffeine to your scalp? i can't find very much on this study, so put me in the strongly skeptical column on this one.

what i'm not skeptical about was andrei's noon basic vinyasa class at yoga people. it's a party.

andrei is a compact, wiry, latino with a beautiful accent like honey. even tho' english isn't his first language, he gives excellent technical alignment instruction in a gentle way, so you don't feel like you're at the mercy of the dread "yoga nazi" but actually can see improvement in your own poses.

ultra-technical instruction: "rotate the head of your femur past the freckle on your hip one-half turn while spinning your 3rd chakra to the left, feel your mulabanda strongly. . and don't forget to breathe. . ." this can be very frustrating. you're in class to improve your alignment, to add grace and lightness to your poses, but instead you're stuck wondering what the heck these instructions mean and how in the world you are supposed to do it with your own bad self!

andrei offers more practical technical instruction, which is always helpful. in yoga it's easy to "know the pose" and just do what you normally do. it's often helpful to take a basics class where you can truly mindfully spend a moment examining your body placement in a pose, but in way that's not perfectionist.

for example today andrei talked about a simple fact of life: the fulcrum. he used this to improve uttanasana, standing forward bend.

if you think of your spine as a graceful, supple willow switch, weighted equally at your head and sit bones, it's easy to see how letting your head gently come forward with a straight spine will raise your sit bones. and once bent over, you can also see how raising your sit bones higher will have to lower your head towards your feet.

you don't have to struggle to push your head to the floor -- just as if i hold the willow branch in my hand and dip one end down, the other end will naturally ripple and gently rise up. only in uttanasana, your breath does the "dipping," not the effort of your muscle.

in uttanasana so many people think it's all about the hamstrings. and they lock their knees, straining and rounding their backs to try to come forward. but this way not only fails to move you deeper forward, it also often causes injury!

what's great about andrei isn't only his images, but also his emphasis on the letting the breath perform the movement for you, thus creating a more graceful and effortless-looking flow of movement. and in every pose he stresses the weighted opposition -- what should be moving up or down to help you accomplish the major action of the posture.

this lets gravity help you in your yoga so you waste less energy fighting in the asana. it's a very calming style of vinyasa, even tho' you're still working with some rigor and moving on a 4-part breath. . .

after andrei's class i came home and made myself an americano with jessica's batdorf dancing goat blend. as i sipping and pondering hamelman's technique for pizza dough -- no i never can leave well enough alone! -- i happened to glance at the t.v. and saw that woody allen's interiors was playing.

it just so happens that i went to college with a girl whose family owned the beach house where the movie was filmed. so naturally i thought of her. . .the house is much nicer in real life than allen made it seem. i can't ever watch this movie because it's so emotionally violent -- i always felt like at the end the angry daughter, joey, basically murders her mother.

but then if we know one thing about woody allen, it's that he's an angry, angry guy! thus i immediately turned off the television and returned to hamelman. gonna try his pizza technique pronto, since his baguette method was frankly stellar.

next week i'll move on the challah, as promised!

posted by fortune | 1:40 PM | top | link to this | email this: | links to this post | | 0 comments

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