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Sunday, January 15, 2006

Street Yoga

Sarasota is one of my all time favorite small cities. It's the cultural center of South West Florida. I know, I know, save the jokes. It probably sounds like when I used to refer to my college as the Harvard of Appalachia. That was a tongue-in-cheek exaggeration. Sarasota is the real deal. Like the rest of Florida, it struggles mightily with development over common ecological sense. But at this point in time, I like this little burg a lot. Most the people here are not from here. Maybe that's why I like it.

Case in point. Sunday morning was a City Arts Festival. We didn't stay to see most of it because We were busy being an object d'art. My yoga teacher, Nancy Zampella, was invited by the festival to put on a Yoga as Art exhibit. As her students, we were the art. We spread our mats out on the corner of First and Lime Streets. If you're correctly guessing there is an Orange Street and a Lemon and Pineapple, you got the feel for this. It was a big open plaza, not a Walgreens. A noncommercial downtown corner says a lot for the intention of the city planners. We were in front of an enormous scallop shell sculpture that is also a fountain. Pedestrian traffic walked around us. Or stopped and gaped at us. You have to expect a lot of gaping when you are art, ya know? If Venus or David could talk!

Nancy always encourages us to absorb the various sounds around us like waves at the beach. In our usual yoga practice at the YMCA that would include people talking and laughing in the hallway, swim team practice out the other side. Doors creaking and thumping. Yoga on the street demands that you absorb all kinds of footsteps and conversations and vehicles. If you can hold a balance pose in total concentration while an impatient SUVer beeps and curses at a confused octogenarian in a Lincoln, you have reached a damn fine level of concentration. The visual stimulation can also lead to letting your tree pose become a blow down. I, for one, am delighted that tight jeans are back in force.

Somehow I went into total relaxation and meditation flat on my back on the street. Proof that I am an enlightened one. I am called BUDISATTVA.

Afterward we rolled our mats and ate lunch in Whole Foods about 100 feet away. I was so blissed out I didn't realize I was eating vegetarian chili. Whole Foods must be commended for recently converting all their offices to wind power. I could almost forgive their strident antiunion attitude for this. It seems incongruous to me that a corporation can at the same time care for health and the environment while getting all Walmart with their employees. They also have a waterless urinal in the men's room. Sorry, but that does not comfort me one bit. I'm thrilled beyond description that Walmart is getting it's ass kicked over employee abuse in several states. I hope Whole Foods takes note, because I like their store and I'd hate to have to boycott it like I do Walmart.

I think I may put up some sounds later this week. I had a very intense two weeks and it doesn't show any signs of letting up. Happy Monday, everybody!

posted by Bud @ 10:12 PM

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