Monday, July 17, 2006


peter g's new counterculture nicaragua & more sequence rants

first of all, lemme thank peter g. of counterculture for his new nicaragua matagalpa, the cafe san ramon. this organic, shade-grown and fair-trade coffee -- triple cert equals all good by me! -- is a group effort from 22 farmers around the town of san ramon.

i'm definitely looking forward to this one in the cafetiére tomorrow. peter has a strong relationship with this community and with these farmers, so i'm sure the coffee's going to be worthwhile.

this is just another example of how coffee innovation and a real concern for farmers can be reflected in so-called relationship coffee. this concern goes beyond a roaster merely buying fair-trade green for the cachet that comes with marketing the ft label.

speaking of our favorite beverage, now that it's set to be about 100 f in nyc the next couple of days, let me point you all to a useful thing: aussie iced coffee.

i try to talk about yoga only when i have something good to say, and recently that's been rare. i nearly walked out of yoga classes on friday and yesterday.

i felt terrified and unsafe to be in them, actually. on friday the mat next to me featured a clearly brand-new absolute beginner, who didn't belong in the intermediate class she walked into.

i was immediately filled with alarm when i watched her wobble through the standing pose flow, a quick vinyasa involving a lot of twisted balances, bound poses (like bound side angle/bound revolved side angle), as well as both arm and leg balances. several times she nearly fell on top of me.

and yet the teacher, a sweet lady i otherwise respect, didn't bring her up to the front, offer her blocks, or provide any support. in shoulderstand i couldn't even be next to her; she wobbled so violently from side to side i knew she was about to fall.

so i sat forward on my mat and waited for the 5-breath inevitable. boom! down she came sideways.

i should have walked out at that moment, but it was near the end of class. . .and she couldn't hurt me in savasana now, could she?

i had this same issue yesterday, along with a terrible, terrible sequence. the teacher, once again a lady whose class i normally liked, decided to start with an iyengar routine, even tho' she is not a certified iyengar teacher.

i moved thru a basic iyengar pose sequence -- from gate pose on -- in a freezing, over-air-conditioned room. ok, it's hot.

but air-conditioning is gym yoga! we yoga students enjoy summer for how it helps us with our poses!

after a brief experiment with this iyengar-style sitting sequence, she then -- in an air-conditioned room! -- launches the entire class into plow pose! this is a fairly serious bend for adults who haven't been warmed up!

not warmed up and then in a frigid room -- it was a nightmare. after this dog's breakfast, she decides to borrow a laughing lotus-style (which is itself based in the iyengar-like style of rodney yee) vinyasa for about 3 rounds.

bored with that, she then moved into a few bits of repetitive vinyasa à la gary kraftsow. at this point i began to wonder if she had any idea of what the heck she was doing with this class.

and i began to notice the guy next to me, who had been in about 3 classes with me before, was losing it during these repetive vinyasas in pyramid pose: bend forward 3 times to pyramid, hold the pose; then launch forward to warrior 3; rinse and repeat again.

after my friday experience, i was on guard. when this crazy-quilt class then moved to some om-style pose flows before a quick pilates move and onto shoulderstand, i could tell i was once again in trouble.

it didn't even take 5 breaths -- i had just laid myself down to move into shoulderstand when from the corner of my eye i detected him coming down at me sideways. his feet were going to crash right in my face when i screamed, rolled over, and sat up.

he missed me by a quarter second. the teacher didn't even bat an eye.

i was enraged. i don't know that i will ever return to this class again.

when teachers see students like this struggling, i strongly believe they have an obligation to help these people before they become a danger to themselves and innocent by-standers, such as myself. i have completely lost respect for this teacher.

completely.

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posted by fortune | 7:07 AM | top | link to this | email this: | links to this post | | 8 comments

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