March 31, 2010

My Life. Here.

My life here, is here. Many people think, myself being one of them, that my life would somehow be different by moving all the way to Kauai for 41 days. And, it is, on a particular yogic-hawaii-fresh air and peaceful demeanor level. But, yes, there is a but. It's the great awakening of buts. The but is that my life is always mine wherever I go.

I mean, I am always inherently the same person, the same Brandon Waloff, right down to the core in which I have been working, and opening and breathing into. To think that I would be different - and then difference showing up, for me, would be disappointing. Why would I want to escape who I am, and all of a sudden leave behind the trail of dust that I have known and grown to love and know so well?

To be any different, and hope for that would be an escape for me. It's refreshing to know that I can wake up and feel similar feelings of waking up in New Jersey. This is who I am.  Nothing wrong either. For a split second when I woke up this morning I was like, "Ughh, why am I feeling this, I'm not in Jersey!" Then I thought, "no, nothing's wrong, it's just who I wake up with sometimes."

Now, I don't always have the experience of New Jersey Brandon. In fact, what I am reconnecting with is that amazing sense of exuberance and life that I felt when I traveled in my pickup truck (I miss ya emerald green 1995 Ford Ranger XLT with extended cab!) in 2004. The newness my eyes were seeing and the feelings I was having as, for me, the ultimate experience.

I love getting out of asana practice (the physical postures of yoga) in the afternoon and walking up the hill towards Michaelle's house and seeing the mist and clouds way out in the distance rolling over and draping the mountains. To hear the sounds of only rustling leaves and trees with exotic birdsong is pure joy. I love the feeling of fresh, clean air in my lungs. I'm not even sure how I would be able to go back and breathe the slick in the NJ/NY atmosphere.

Life here may feel the same sometimes when experiencing the aspects of my personality I don't want, the judging, the borderline impatience with people when they aren't saying or doing what I want.  And opening my body, breathing and meditating will zoom in on all that 'stuff' for what some people say yoga will do-transform the darkness and turn it into light. Which Matisyahu also speaks is possible through a daily practice, his being Torah.  But nevertheless, it's great to be here, and it's great to be alive-again. Because I have come out of a deadness that was buried below while living the same 'ol, same 'ol existence over and over again, the repetition.

I can see that this practice is not only a practice of being able to breathe deeper and feel better in my body. It's also a practice of taking what I bring to the mat, and being with it, breathing into it, and ultimately accepting it, and who I am, so I may fully and totally accept others.

It's really a life of having it all.

March 30, 2010

Friday night light

Getting ready for Passover in Kauai.. I'm excited to branch out and explore what I can while I am here. I called a rabbi who practices here last week and got invited to his sedar, he also invited me to a minion (prayer on the sabbath) for Saturday morning which I humbly accepted. It turned out that the house he was renting for Shabbos was only 1 street away from mine.

On Friday night I was taking a walk along the street in my new neighborhood, which is a very suburban feel with golf courses surrounding, I am not too fond.  On Friday night I was walking down the path along the street at sunset talking with a man I met originally from North Carolina who with his 3-month old daughter. In the distance coming towards me was a Hasidic man and a secular woman.

I immediately knew he must be looking for this rabbi's house b/c there really are, like, zero religious Jews in Kauai. I said Shabbat shalom. He looked sweaty and out of sorts. I asked him if he was Rabbi Michal. "No, I'm trying to get to his house, do you know where it is?"  "Yes" I said. The woman he was with was trying to help him find his way around. It turned out he was late for shabbos and had to leave his car and walk to the house.  He didn't remember his way.

It turned out that I had just spoke with the rabbi the day earlier and remembered the exact address of the house he was staying at. I said, 3856 Punahele Rd. The woman who was with him said, "Punahele Rd. is right there." We were standing right at the entrance of the street.

The next day for shabbos, Yosef referred to me as 'the angel' who helped Zolmon the night before.  I liked that.

March 29, 2010

Kauai up close

Did you know that there are chickens all over Kauai? In 1992 Hurricane Iniki blew local chicken farms all over the island freeing hundreds of chickens which now roam free.

March 28, 2010

Kauai 4, Brandon 0.

There have been so many things happening since my arrival. One week ago today. And these aren't even things, they're powerful energies I am experiencing. At almost every moment, literally. I can write anything at anytime on this blog b/c as our little saying has gone so far, "there is never a dull moment in Kauai."  At least for us learning yogi housemates, that is.

I have been so overloaded when I sat down during my last two entries that I couldn't find my flow. I was being nutty trying to catch a tradewind here so I could lift off and be my Waloff self that I have come to know and understand so well over the last few years.

So now, finally, redemption!

I was thinking to write about this unique and mysterious island, the island of Kauai so you can be in my world, vicariously speaking, unless you want to come and visit. I had a thought last week on the mat, b/c so many of my thoughts are illuminated while I'm practicing. And that throught was so far was if this were a contest between me and the island, then I lost last week. The score being Kauai 4, Brandon 0.

Let me explain, b/c the island has been kicking my ass all over the place. No internet for almost a week. I tried hooking it up and talking to the landlord of the house, but still could not get online. I hear Kauai has a certain charm for not allowing one to use the latest current technologies that the world has to offer. As you probably read in my last post about my I-pod going for a swim with me in the Pacific.  Well, I couldn't get online and never took the time to read the directions on my own computer was asking me to look at.  The pop-up plainly said to look under the router for the passcode (which I finally did, after 5-days of phone calls and being disconnected, yeah).  All I had to do was read the fine print.

So there you have it, tally two points for Kauai. 1 for the I-pod, the other for my lack of foresight to get online. That's now 2-points for Kauai.

The next major victory for Kauai was the Staff infection that I got only 3 days into my trip. Apparently Staff is everywhere around here and if you cut yourself, you have to clean it out really well b/c the bacteria thrives in this environment. I scraped my foot in the airport coming out here, maybe even back in NJ. It was the babiest of all scrapes, one that just pulls back the skin. So no big deal right? Wrong. The cut I noticed was actually getting deeper during the first couple days into being here and I paid no attention thinking that the ocean would clean it out and no sweat. Well, someone from class, on my birthday gave me a special gift. "You have to cut out that scab b/c you have Staff." "What!?" I said, "Are you kidding?"  They weren't and I was enlightened to the fact that Staff thrives on this island. The scab got yellow and a nice red ring was slowly spreading up my foot near my ankle. I got scared and the day after my birthday at 3am I woke up with pain in my left foot and the only thing I could do about it was cut away at the yellow-white scab so I could let the Staff out and the anti-biotic ointment in. That was fun. I was up until 4:45am slowly performing surgery on myself.

And of course my birthday dinner was a surprise party for me. Not a literal surprise party, but one from the present I received from Chris, my roommate who began to tweak out a little bit, as he does from time to time, and cause all us roommates to tweak in response along with him, right before dinner. We all had to talk and open up, process and that tweak-out made dinner a bit awkward. Kauai is a powerful place which shows its newcomers just what they need to look at and process for their own life.  Another point for Kauai.

So yes, this has been a new wake up call for me. What I have been learning, as cliche as this sounds, is to just be present and stop worrying. I realize that I worry so much. Worry about the future, my foot, my internet, my housemates and how I will get along. I even found out that I worry b/c I am worrying. Because I just want to be present, open and free.  Lessons still being taught. I'm in school right now.

That was last week. There have been some minor miracles this weekend which I will post about soon. Mahalo~ Brandon.

March 25, 2010

Ujjaiy_Kauia (Ew-Jai-EE_Kah-why-EE)

Ujjaiy is yogic breath. The act of pulling in air through the nose which creates a audible noise emanating from the throat. To create this one must constrict the throat so Ujjaiy breath can be created.  The point; to divert the mind from the 60,000 avg. thoughts thunk daily so one can focus on the breath and get back to nothing. The zero point. Total stillness.  From this space, real creative accessibility can be drawn upon and deep insights into life, as well as total bliss can be felt.

But who can breathe with all this mayhem going on! Oy vey! No one told me that Hawaii was going to challenge the very basis of my own foundation that previously existed. In class we are learning about something called, Proprioception, speaking of foundation. Said in my own terminology, proprioception is the sum total of your movement. As in, all the collective memory that has been stored in your body from past experiences in which your brain knows and remembers how to move mechanically.  So, we are downloading new information on how to properly move our bodies and eliminating the old cookies and software that no longer serves us.

Throughout the process, my own proprioception of knowing and remembering how to do certain things is vastly becoming limited. For instance, I was told that Kauai has a way of drastically reducing people's use of electronics. Point served when I was chest deep in the Pacific and found my I-pod in my bathing suit. Note to self: My own proprioception for using my I-pod, or any other one like it, is becoming slowly lost.

I have only been on the internet TWICE this week (5 days so far), which is the same duration of about 3.2 hours while living in New Jersey that I would be online.  So, breathe, new experiences coming, new thoughts, maintain breath to prevent mind from running away and hijacking me with it AND new proprioception being learned from not sitting at my desk surfing the net and wasting away on Facebook.

Wait a second.. maybe its the BREATH that is causing the mayhem, not the mayhem that's causing the lack of breath...the newness, the heart opening and all the challenge that comes when one transplants oneself into a totally new environment.  It's kinda like the chicken and egg conundrum, which really isn't a conundrum. One cannot exist without the other. New situations cause new problems. So whether or not it's the fact that it's hard to breathe in a new environment or the new environment is causing the chest to tighten and breath constrict, it really doesn't matter.   I'm gonna breathe either way and face myself.  Werner Erhard said "life is a problem." I agree. It's the best problem yet. I think that when I breathe deep, open my chest and expand my body, new energy comes in and old energy goes out, thus challenging my foundation for my own existence.

So to wrap this up tightly now, I will breathe in and let life throw at me whatever's in the way.  Because my old proprioception of comfortability isn't going to work out here, it would just cause myself to overstretch myself.

March 24, 2010

The Unwind.

Is it my birthday right now if I'm 6 hours behind the times when I was born?  I was wondering that today as I am within 1 day from turning 31, IN KAUAI!!  WOW, and such a beautiful place and slooooooow vibe.  But, it wasn't as easy as just coming into this peaceful, lush, beautiful and natural environment and automatically transforming into relaxed, aloha Brandon. It took some work.  

My first 2.5 days here were rocky, unsettling and sad:(   I missed home, missed my friends, and thought several times of running as fast as I could to the airport on the next flight back the the mainland.  I heard Kauai has that impression on people, its pure energy here, and whatever is in the way of me having the best life ever while I'm here, is sure as seashells gonna come up to challenge. But don't worry, I overcame.  It was the adjustments, on the mat, and off.  Coming into a new house, with new people and a new form of yoga to practice, understand, practice, learn, practice and prepare to teach turned me upside down, not to mention my 18-year old roommate who began his spiritual religious studies at age 12 and runs throughout our house chanting.  I realized that my own expectations, undistinguished before my arrival, were made clear and shattered over the last two days of me being here.  

It was a horrifically beautiful process. To watch oneself squirm and judge myself, my new housemates and my new yoga practice while comparing it to different housemates and different yoga even though I have no prior concept of another yoga teacher training or other housemates that could be besides the imagery conjured up in my noggin.  It was the process of complete surrender while I noticed myself having to deal with my idea of what EVERYTHING SHOULD look like. I can hear my brother saying, "Brandon, you used to tell me not to say 'should'." And yes, I did. It's a practice. 

So by using the tools that I have, I opened myself up, said what I had to say and got all the chatter and crap I was downloading out of my head and into my recycle bin.

I'm much happier now and am glad I'm learning this style of yoga, and am surprisingly delighted with my new friends living with me in our beautiful home. We've connected, and I guess I can say that so did I. 

March 19, 2010

Why is it called that?

I'm about to depart, a new journey, a new life awaits. Welcome to my Hawaiian, Kauain yogic blog about my life, my visions, my insights from a small island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

Now, so you can understand the name of this blog, eh-hem, Dhanurasana (pronounced, 'Don-yur-ahs-ahna) is commonly referred to as 'bow pose', Google-it. Of course, my mind went to great lengths and troubles to come up with an ideal blog title, so much so that a new fear of not creating a blog might actually have occurred due to the perfection I faced to just name it. Amazing.

Well, I named it. There were some other front-runners, like 'wordsong' and 'youngmanandthesea', but through it all, slowdownyourasana came to pass. But why this one?

Besides Dhanurasana being a yoga posture, I liked the way the words morphed together. It sounds like 'down your asana' (which could be another blog altogether for disgruntled yogis, or highly sexual yogis). Never-the-less, slowdownyourasana is about slowing down, being present and still with life, right now.

It's about yoga in the way that when we are on the mat, it never matters how 'good' we are 'doing' at yoga compared to others, which I hear very often, but about being where we are on the mat, in the moment, with what we got-all right now.

And for those of you who aren't yoga savvy, yoga doesn't just take place ON THE MAT, it takes its shape for those who practice off the mat as well. Like, how are you going to be on the subway or bus during the morning commute when there is traffic, loud people and other chaotic events?

How are you going to be when you get home from work and your kid or spouse is wound-up and frustrated, b/c you were expecting a peaceful return greeted by open and loving arms.

Well, that's the practice of yoga. For me, and many other yogis, it's about being present in life's chaos no matter where I am at.

So, I wonder how this NJ/NY man is going to fare in the slow-paced life of Hawaiin timing? Come back soon to find out, you're invited!