Seeing versus seeking

Writing a memoir is much trickier than it seems. It can come across as indulgent, fake, or just plain boring. If the theme is obviously philosophical or spiritual, there’s even greater risk of grating on the reader. So I kept my expectations in check when Ray Brooks approached me about copyediting his second memoir—now published as The…… Continue reading Seeing versus seeking

The Inner Game of Yoga

I don’t play golf, but I recently read W Timothy Gallwey’s The Inner Game of Golf (1981). A few years ago, I read his classic The Inner Game of Tennis (1974), a favorite among top coaches including Steve Kerr and Pete Carroll. I don’t play tennis either, but I’m interested in Gallwey’s theories on learning and peak…… Continue reading The Inner Game of Yoga

How to eat an almond croissant

One winter afternoon in Vancouver, I sat at a cafe, drinking tea and writing in my notebook. Occasionally I’d open the novel I was reading, check my iPhone, or gaze out the window. After a while, my friend arrived. Amid our conversation, I noticed a grey-haired man seated nearby with an espresso and an almond croissant. He was neither reading, nor staring…… Continue reading How to eat an almond croissant

Four months left in 2015: What will you do with it?

“You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.” If Carl Jung is right (and he probably is), I haven’t been a blogger lately. I had high hopes to post frequently in August. After all, I had a few weeks’ break from yoga teaching. (In contrast, last summer in Pune I was immersed and extra alert (first time at RIMYI, first…… Continue reading Four months left in 2015: What will you do with it?

Reading list: India

In late February, I got the green light to go to Pune in August. (Among Iyengar yogis, “going to Pune” means going to study at the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute.) Five months to prepare. To me, this meant buying Lonely Planet India, finding an apartment in Pune, booking flights, getting vaccinations, avoiding injury, and reading up on…… Continue reading Reading list: India

Reading, doing yoga, and other “essential” activities

Last month I found myself at YVR, awaiting a flight, oddly without anything to read. I skimmed the magazines and books, noting the jacked-up Canadian prices. Will Schwalbe’s The End of Your Life Book Club, which I recognized from a review, caught my eye. Flipping through the book, I saw a reference to Somerset Maugham’s The…… Continue reading Reading, doing yoga, and other “essential” activities

Where’s your psoas? Your sacrum? Your big-toe mound?

If a yoga teacher refers to your psoas, do you know what she’s talking about? The Iyengar method of teaching yoga is precise and detailed. Instructions are conveyed visually (through demos) and verbally (through words). Teachers sometimes discuss whether specific anatomical terms should be used. Is it better to say “hamstrings” or “back thighs”? Can…… Continue reading Where’s your psoas? Your sacrum? Your big-toe mound?

In traveling, a companion; in life, compassion

Since I write for Lonely Planet, people assume that I’m constantly traveling. I’m often asked about where I’m going, where I’ve been. Actually, I take only family and work trips nowadays. This year my destinations were familiar ones: Hawaii, San Francisco, Berkeley, and Santa Cruz. For required work meetings, I also flew to Atlanta, my…… Continue reading In traveling, a companion; in life, compassion

Bloom where you’re planted?

Hilo rains are unpredictable. So my parents and I took advantage of a sunny day and headed toward Volcano. Before reaching Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, we stopped at my dad’s farm lot, a lifetime “project” that stocked our household with bananas, pineapples, jaboticaba, and much more. We then visited a sightseeing attraction among Japanese tourists, Akatsuka Orchids since…… Continue reading Bloom where you’re planted?

So many books, so little time

Vancouver’s indie Book Warehouse is closing its West Broadway location (sigh). All stock is discounted 25%. I was tempted by 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die*, a 960-page reference edited by Peter Boxall, English professor, University of Sussex. But the sheer number put me off. It’s probably impossible to read all 1,001 selections, but I…… Continue reading So many books, so little time

The challenge to my intelligence

Years ago I discovered Lydia Davis’s fragmentary short stories. While extremely brief and lacking standard beginning-middle-end structure, they were strangely compelling. Recently I was reminded of her: the title of my last post, “The End of the Story,” is the title of her only novel. For fun I Googled her name and found an interesting…… Continue reading The challenge to my intelligence