Thursday, June 28, 2012

Beans and the Art of Bunny Massage

Last week I was just coming back from the LA Film Festival where I was teaching yoga and doing PR for Dead Man's Burden.

This week I'm harvesting green beans and administering therapeutic massage for a geriatric bunny. Ah, how the mighty have fallen.

I kid! I kid! But not about the bunny massage. Or the beans. Those parts are true.

First things first. In my excitement about actually being able to have a garden this year, and in my delight at being surrounded by green in the heart of a city, I neglected to note that the beautiful green bean blossoms I've been enjoying looking at turned from mere blossoms into real beans! This is partly due to the fact that the bushy leaves of the bean plants hide their bounty well. This is also due to the fact that I didn't realize the blossom to bean process was so fast.

Let me tell you--if you are not already growing something (anything!) you should get going and start growing because there is literally nothing as satisfying as growing your own food. Also, there is nothing as delicious. I promise nothing will taste better.

So get thee to a garden center pronto! It's cheaper than therapy and also more enjoyable.

Now on to the bunny massage. Yes, there is such a thing. My friend Dee is on vacation and while she's gone, I'm on bunny patrol. You see, Dee, the plant-loving, animal-loving, big-hearted lover of all live things, adopted two rescue bunnies. Due to her TLC, one bunny has lived to an advanced age (an estimated 14?) unheard of in the rabbit world. He is totally blind in one eye, mostly blind in the other and may or may not have survived a stroke. And yet he lives on, because he is loved and cared for.

Also, he receives a daily massage to incentivize him to keep living. And when Dee isn't there to tend to him, it's yours truly who steps up to the plate.

Dee trained me in the art of bunny massage, which consists of massaging him flanks to bunny nose, in order to keep him engaged and committed to life. The crazy thing works!! This tiny elderly bunny will be mid old-man nap when I arrive. But he promptly comes out of his peaceful doze and starts eating/grooming/hopping around as soon as his massage begins. Which makes me wonder if we all shouldn't be getting daily therapeutic massages...

And on that note, I'm off to the hutch.

Yes, this is actually my life. I'm not sure how.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Yoga and PR at the LA Film Festival

Just back from LA--jet-lagged, bleary-eyed, and still not sure which coast or time zone I'm in. BUT the trip and the LA Film Festival (LAFF), where I flexed my PR and yoga muscles, were pretty awesome. 

NOTE: "LAFF" is pronounced letter by letter "L-A-F-F" not "laugh."And with that I hope I can spare someone else a bit of mortification. Not that I'd ever make such an uber-geek gaffe. Ahem. {whistles, looks everywhere else}

Anyway, you may recall from my very first post ever that once upon a time, I was a corporate drone/PR maven. Then I realized I was les miserables and I traded cubicles for yoga mats.

Truth be told though, I still do PR work. The difference is that now I work on a freelance basis, which means I get to choose my clients and projects. Currently, one of those projects is Dead Man's Burden, an independent film that debuted this past Saturday at LAFF. It was a huge success--the first showing sold out (actually the Festival over-sold it by 30 tickets and thus had to deal with 30 extremely disgruntled ticket-holders who had nowhere to sit!), the reviews have been AMAZING, and the after-party, planned by yours truly, was described as the best industry party ever.

And you know as well as I do that LA/film people are only ever brutally honest. They'd tell you if your party sucked. (Wait...right? Um...guys?? RIGHT??!!)

When I wasn't working the premiere, I was teaching yoga to LAFF attendees, cast, and crew.

I was excited to bring my brand of yoga teaching to LA for the first time, to see how it resonated, and what people thought. The students seemed to react to it with a mix of, "Holy crap this hard!" to "I've never done yoga before--this rocks!"

As for me, it was a brain-twizzling experience to merge my two selves (or two of my selves, my author self stayed home) and blend PR and yoga. Previously, I thought that'd be like ice cream and ketchup (yuck). Turns out, it's more like ice cream and chocolate. It works!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Yoga Olympics

Seventy-five people from 24 countries competed in the 2012 Bishnu Charan Ghosh Cup, an international yoga asana (poses) championship. Of course, I could seize this opportunity to leap onto my soapbox and preach about how the goal of yoga is inward-gazing, and howyoga isn't  supposed to be about competitiveness...or how these poses look downright scary/potentially destructive to the bodies that execute them, but really, you should just click on over to The New York Times article and slideshow and check it out for yourself. See what you think.

One thing is for sure: even thought I'm a yoga teacher, this body of mine could never, ever, ever do the things that these bodies are doing. And while I might marvel at what they can do, in the same way that I also might marvel at Cirque du Soliel exhibition of what human bodies can accomplish, I don't feel a single bit of disappointment that I can't do what they can do. I don't feel like any less of a yogi. And the very simple reason for that is that the benefit I've experienced through my yoga practice has been a therapeutic one.  I've used yoga for years as a way to dial down anxiety and stress, to stoke creativity, to alleviate back pain, and to serve as a refuge to escape to when the rest of my life necessitates an escape.

The fact that I feel better--body and mind--is enough of a "win" for me.

What about you? How (if at all) do you use yoga? Or other mind-body practices?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Gardening Haiku (and update)

A Gardening Haiku
Plants so green! Love! Yay!
Look! Future veggies! Love! Yay!
Back aching. Ouch. Boo.

In a frenzy of excitement over the fact that I get summer sun, I rushed to the nearest garden center over-bought far too many plants. I gave about half to my garden buddy, Dee. Then I did what any garden-addict does--I bought more pots to keep up with my habit.

Specifically, I bought more Earthboxes. In my experience, they're unmatchable when it comes to space-challenged urban gardens and high, high yield. I think I got 150 eggplants from 2 plants last summer. And I could've had more if I'd kept on top of picking them. But I got overwhelmed (there IS only so much eggplant you can eat, after all) and let them sit on the vine, reducing the plant's ability to grow more. I won't be making that mistake this year. I'll set up a farmstand on the sidewalk if I have to.

They arrived yesterday and Dee and I set them up and planted  them until well into the night. Note: Planting past 10 p.m. by dim porchlight (really no light at all) is a definite sign of gardening addiction.

Anyway, the garden is now complete for the Summer 2012 Season (except for the fact that I owe reciprocal planting to Dee next week, a fact that my lower back heartily protests).

Let the growing begin!