Mar 132014

Last week, while I was writing about the word that is the same in every language, (huh?), Marc was traveling back to Switzerland to confer with his PhD students and check in on our first-born. When he landed, he sent me an e-mail: “In Geneva waiting for the train for Morges…..all the usual emotions of coming back somehow…”

I asked him on skype later if he felt homesick. A little, he admitted. Well, we had lived in Switzerland for almost ten years, three years longer than any other place we’d lived before. I think I made a sympathetic noise. But I can’t really relate, because I’m not really homesick for Switzerland. I’m still enjoying shopping on Sunday and all these yoga classes. Continue reading »

Mar 042014

There are so many things that don’t translate between languages. I could list reams of French one-word concepts that cannot be captured quite right in English. Every time I see one of them in a text I’m supposed to be translating I cringe. Vulgarisation. Valorisation. Territoire.

And then there are the turns of phrase. I understood that péter un plomb or péter un cable meant to be really pissed off, but for the longest time I had a really hard time visualizing someone farting out a bit of lead shot or wiring. In French yoga, downward facing dog is chien tête en bas. But I heard chat a tomba. The cat fell. Indeed.

So my interest was piqued when I received EPFL’s weekly Science question for translation last Sunday. There is, apparently, a word – or rather, one syllable – that has the same meaning in every language in the world. Continue reading »

Feb 122014

yoga matI have a favorite website, called Brainpickings, whose curator, Maria Popova, assembles interesting, thought-provoking and inspiring things from all walks of art and literature. I can’t count the times I’ve gone down the rabbit hole of the site and emerged, hours later, thoughts spinning in new directions. You should definitely check it out.

She often posts about writers’ daily routines, and what inspires them. There are so many things that can get in the way of creativity.  All these artists seem to agree on one thing, though. You can’t create if you don’t sit down and just do something.  I think photorealist Chuck Close said it best:

Inspiration is for amateurs — the rest of us just show up and get to work.” Continue reading »

 Posted by at 9:51 pm
Dec 022013

Da Vinci Vitruve Luc Viatour2Hello, December. What happened to November? All of October I was busy with the Yoga Project, happily scribing away my impressions, downward-dogging my way into a new yoga comfort zone. And then it seemed that November just floated right on by.  And then yesterday, December 1, I opened the New York Times (oh joy) and I realized that I had been subconsciously working on a blog post for the entire month. It’s long, but I hope you still read it.

I’ll call it the One Body Problem. Which is this: We only get one body. This is it. You get the body you were born with, like it or not. And then you die. Continue reading »

Nov 302013

It’s Black Friday!

I’ve been seeing this everywhere this week – BLACK FRIDAY!!

Just a quick reminder, folks – I’m currently living in Canada, where yesterday wasn’t Thanksgiving and today is not a holiday. Apparently, in an effort to keep the good people of Canada from driving across the border, or at least clicking their mice and spending their credit card dollars on websites across the border, Candian retailers have jumped on the “holiday shopping” bandwagon otherwise known as Thanksgiving.

This whole thing is just so wrong on so many levels. Continue reading »

Oct 282013

IMG_0799My apologies for the lack of posts over the past couple of weeks. Things got away from me – we had visitors, I volunteered for a writer’s festival, there were translations in my inbox…

A comment by one of our visitors (yes, you, Roger) validated my hunch that my current spate of yoga-writing needs to come to an end, at least for the time being. You can only read so much about yoga, and then you need to go do it for yourself.

Today marks the end of my $25 smorgasbord yoga pass. In one month, I went to all four studios, had eleven different instructors, and tried out three different styles of yoga. I’d call that a fair trial. It was also a resounding success. I have given the good people of Semperviva access to my credit card so I can continue. Continue reading »

Oct 152013

IMG_0799Thanks for the positive feedback, friends. And so the saga continues!

It has taken me all weekend to digest the class I took last Friday enough to be able to write about it. I even did a repeat of Last Sunday’s class on Sunday (the one with P — ), rather than test out a new teacher, so I would at least be doing something predictable. That said, here goes…

Day 8: Friday, October 11, 9:00

I cycle down to the Kits Beach studio early this morning to be sure I get a decent spot. I’ve decided to try something different today – a class called “Kundalini,” billed on the website as:

“A dynamic, powerful, fast paced and effective form of yoga that produces quick results. Benefits include weight control, relief from stress and insomnia, enhanced creativity, lymphatic cleansing, liver detoxification, balancing the heart and mind, and developing will-power. … Each class includes centering oneself with a mantra, warm up, a specific yoga postures set, deep relaxation and meditation.” Continue reading »

Oct 112013

IMG_0790Is this getting boring? I’m a bit worried that this series of posts is edging too far into navel-gazing territory, both literally and metaphorically. Let me know, will you?

Each of the classes I’ve taken this week was taught by a (different) male instructor whose name starts with C. That’s reason enough to group them into a single post, isn’t it?

DAY 6: Monday, October 7, 11:00 am

As I’m entering the Sun Center, I recognize someone from last Friday’s class, thanks to the zebra-print cover on her bike helmet. It occurs to me that there may be people who do this multiple times a week. Oddly enough, I am beginning to see the attraction. Continue reading »

Oct 082013

IMG_0790Friday, on my way out of the Sun Center – which, by the way, is a misnomer because a far as I can tell it’s the studio with the fewest windows – I notice an advertisement for some upcoming yoga workshops. This one, in particular, catches my eye:

The Promise of Love, Sex and Intimacy with Mark Whitwell

I’m intrigued. Either there’s been a serious proofreading lapse at Semperviva or this Mark Whitwell person is some kind of amazing super-guru. Continue reading »