Monday, August 31, 2015

8/31/15: Rainy Day Refuge

Yes, the poor-quality picture was intentional.

Steady, unfriendly rainfall forced me inside, and, not feeling too outside-yoga to begin with, I decided
to do it right there in that dark, grotto-like living room. Hence the dingy picture; it was just that kind of day.

There, in the early-morning non-light, I did my thing. To my surprise, I liked this non-glamorous setting. Still and almost totally silent, it was very womb-like, as to be quite compatible with my unsociable mood. I yoga'd in my underwear, to an audience of no one. Rain dripped. Time crept silently past. Were there a death-bed fly to buzz, I could've heard it.

If Poe had done yoga, this would be his kind of session.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

8/30: Yep, the Marsh is Still There

I'm back at the beach, so of course I had to yoga on the back deck, alongside the marsh.

I just had to check and be sure it was still there, honest.

And ... it is.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

8/29: Another Econolodge

I repeat: I swear I'm not seeking out Econolodges (or secretly being sponsored by them).

Once more, I was on the road (back to the car for the time being, so no Kalki to retire in) and, despite my best-laid plans, I tired unexpectedly and, thus, needed an impromptu place to stay. Next exit, I'm stopping, I decided -- and, as it so happened, the next exit presented only a single hotel, another Econolodge. It would make my third EL in a row, this time in a sleepy little South Carolina town that I'd never heard of prior to stopping off there in need of a roof over my head.

In the end, my entire stay would prove a repeat of its predecessors: rather pleasant, both my room and my yoga. When hunting out my yoga-spot, I saw it at once: at the lot's far corner, between two picturesque trees of a species I couldn't identify (ever notice how many folks seem to be plant-life experts? I'm not one of them). Free from the allergies that had plagued me up north, I did my yoga in the company of a burgeoning sun, a tranquil meadow, and the pair of unidentified trees. With my eyes closed, I'd never have thought myself in a small strip of grass in between a highway-side hotel and a busy Waffle House.

Afterward, I rolled up my mat with a gentle, contented smile, feeling ready to finish my interrupted drive. How strange it is, the places that nourish us.

8/28: To the Gym

Today marked my first time doing yoga in a gym.

Make no mistake: I'm no stranger to gyms. I've held a regular presence in some gym or another literally since I was a young child (my father, a lifetime fitness buff, instilled a gym-ethic in me from the get-go). Just, for whatever reason, I've never done my yoga in a gym, despite it being the location of choice for many yogis. Me, I like my yoga outdoors, with sun and nature and wide-open spaces. Why'd I resort to the gym today? Simple: fall allergies. It's the one thing that can see my yoga relocated indoors (that, or a hard rain).

That said, I found yoga in a gym to be satisfying, if mundane. I performed it in the facility's designated stretching/kettle bell/ball-workout area (another first for me, setting foot in this space). I was quasi-delighted to find a complimentary mat, already set out, which proved somewhat more comfortable than my own. As a cute footnote, the sun shone through the nearby window, gracing me with sumptuous light (if not the vitamin D-producing goodness filtered by the glass).

Once done, I felt oddly matured, as if I'd lost some sort of virginity.

Friday, August 28, 2015

8/27: Back to the Office Park

Remember that unexpectedly nice office park I stayed at sometime ago? Well, I went back.

After the success of my last stayover, and with my having another doctor's appointment there, I decided to try my luck again. And, well, my luck held out, because this stay was as quiet, shady, cool, and uneventful as the last, with an equally satisfying yoga session to boot. Such a blessing, this. Really, I could've paid top dollar for a hotel room and not gotten half the quiet and peace at this little white-collar enclave.

So, in the unlikely event that the park's owners are reading this: thanks, guys! I really love the place (and I made sure to leave it like I found it; I would've picked up litter, had there been litter to pick up).

Thursday, August 27, 2015

8/26: Back to Wal-Mart

A triumphant return to "roughing it"-style yoga, in a Wal-Mart parking lot.

This time, I was in the back of the property, by the store's loading docks, where I'd slept to the incessant "beep-beep-beep" of the cargo loader's zipping about, then backing up, then repeating. Not much else to say about this one. Once again, my yoga was successful, and no one killed me (or tried, that I know of at least). I patronized the store a couple times, and it was certainly a Wal-Mart. Unlike that one store, no souped-up cars raced in the parking lot (they must've been at Target down the street).

Thanks, Wal-Mart! You are my friend, no matter what folks say about you (or how much you sell to us from China).

8/25: The Yard

Yep, more yoga in the family yard, for want of a more invigorating place. You'd think I live there, still.

Last yard-yoga for a while, I promise. Kalki and I are hitting the road this afternoon.

8/24: Another Park

Today, I set out for another local park, which turned out to be a pleasant surprise.

A broad, meandering greensward, this park lay on the outskirts of my hometown -- right under my nose for my whole life, yet I'd never visited. A pity: it was great, or this morning it was, anyway. I yoga'd there just after dawn, as the sun crested the mountains and the clouds, greeting my bare torso with friendly warmth. Some landscapers appeared during the tail-end of my session, cranking obnoxious riding mowers, but this failed at sullying my enjoyment of the grounds. For me, the park and my yoga were nourishing to the point of relegating any noise to insignificance, like hearing a pin drop during a hurricane.

I should return to this park, I think.

Monday, August 24, 2015

8/23: A Quickie in the Yard

No, it isn't the name of some lewd comedy movie.

Today, it was another session in my family's yard, rather unimaginative of me. I was forced there due to time constraints, which also made it rushed and unfulfilling. On the bright side, perhaps this subpar session will make tomorrow's that much more enjoyable.

Thus, a rather rushed and unfulfilling post.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

8/21-22: Criminal Yoga

The scene of this morning's yoga constitued a crime.

I trespassed -- not murder, exactly, but a crime, nonetheless. The scandalous place in question was another mountaintop property, down the road from my family's, along an ascending ridgeline offering million-dollar views of the town below. It was these views I performed my yoga before, to the music of crickets and stray breeze (and not a single passing car). My only company on the lot was the multiple "NO TRESPASSING" signs planted about.

As it were, this lot has a bit of lore in the town, having originally hosted an ultra-modernistic, conspicuously all-black house which had been owned by, then confiscated from, a drug dealer (or so I've heard, secondhand). After the maybe-dealer owner's arrest, the bizarrely beautiful home sat empty for years, during which it attracted regular visitors in the form of college students from town (as well as an abstract nickname that I can't just now remember). Eventually the property was auctioned off by the county, bought by a bank, and then cleared of the drug dealer's decayed black house, leaving the lot vacant but for a gravel-filled foundation, still painted black in places. Hence the space for my criminal yoga, and the overbearing announcement of NO TRESPASSING.

Normally, I would've refrained from my whim to do yoga on this lot, out of simple respect for its owners (even if their no-trespassing ordinance has no practical or real-world foundation, instituted just to keep drunk college kids from congregating there). Today, however, I made an exception, for reasons too complicated to explain. For what it's worth, I cleaned up some litter afterward, leaving the forelorn old lot better than I'd found it (though I do this everywhere I yoga; cleaning up litter won't change the fact that I violated a law, after all).

That session was so nice, I had to go there again, the next morning. Then, I was joined by a curious beagle, hot on some scent (and, thankfully, no angry property owner's).

Friday, August 21, 2015

8/20: Back to the Family's

After a week or so of migratory travels by car, I returned to my family's mountaintop homestead and, thus, Kalki the RV.

So, today's yoga was a reprise of my usual routine at this venerable old haunt: an early-morning session in the property's pleasant front yard. It was interesting, for all my past sessions here; whenever I'm away and then return, the yard is refreshed in substance, always offering something new, like a favorite book. In my experience, the same could be said for everything, more or less: abstinence not only makes the heart grow fonder, but washes away whatever perceptual and emotional barnacles had become attached by contemptuous levels of familiarity, as to restructure people and places anew. It's one of the great secondary benefits of travel (if not the primary).

In the end, I quite enjoyed my homecoming yoga session.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

8/19: Bed and Breakfast and Yoga

Today's yoga was in the backyard of a mid-size, neighborhood home.

It wasn't just any backyard, however, but that of Smalltown America, on an archetypal Main Street (which was, coincidentally, right on the town's Main Street). Lying on a sleepy, tree-lined two-lane non-highway, the bed-and-breakfast of my overnight was every bit something from another time. The doorkey I was issued was of the classical skeleton variety, requiring a full, three-sixty turn. The home had a proper, walk-in cellar. A cinderblock outbuilding marked the property's perimeter, the kind now commonly plastered with old tin signs from Coca-Cola and Pepsi and gas companies that have long since rebranded. The place was, like the town it lay in, anachronistically quaint, and in all the right ways. I liked it, and, also, I liked its backyard, where I yoga'd on a grassy little knoll overlooking an intersection where a stoplight blinked and the area's workers passed in commute.

This locale didn't much help my serenity addiction. I need to get back in Kalki and do some Wal-Marting ...

8/18: The Marsh Again

Just had to make sure it was still there. Honest.

This time, however, it wasn't so tranquil: a storm was blowing in, providing some contrast to the stillness of my yoga. Wind whipped around me. Stray raindrops nipped at my concentration. Thunder boomed in the distance. "You've had too much serenity," the world seemed to be saying.

Stormy marsh-side yoga. Kinda fun.

8/17: Becoming a Plant

 Today's yoga transpired in a friend's garden.

I'm fond of this pleasant little garden, having visited it from time to time -- so fond that, on a spontaneous whim while enroute to my original destination, I forwent another beach-side session in favor of the garden. And, as it turned out, my caprice was rewarded, for I found garden yoga to be as fulfilling as I'd suspected. There, I again felt transported from the nearby highway and its frenetic energy, enough that I attained a slight bond with the plants in audience of me. Afterward, I proceeded to have a foot-reflexology session (from the same friend who owned the garden), and this proved a wonderful compliment to my yoga.


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

8/15-16: Yoga on the Beach (aka, Feeding the Serenity Habit)

I once said that my marsh-side yoga sessions could not be excelled in serenity. Well, after these last few beach-side sessions, I take that back.

As it were, it wasn't just my first time yoga-ing on the beach, but my first early-morning beach visit, period. Wow. The gentle lap of the waves; the scarcity of people; the slow, burning-orange crawl of the dawn; the nourishment as I breathed it all in -- just ... wow. After my first day, I had to do it again. Same for the second. Too bad I'm leaving today.

Or, maybe not. Left to this trend, I'd soon be living out there.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

8/14: Back to the Marsh

Today I returned to Myrtle Beach, SC, which meant more marsh-side yoga.

Didn't I vow to break my burgeoning serenity habit ...?

Thursday, August 13, 2015

8/12-13: Econolodging

I didn't plan it this way, really.

The last two nights, I stayed at two separate Econolodge hotels, in two separate towns; but it was only by chance that this came to be. Not one for too much planning, I left my family's yesterday (in my car, leaving Kalki parked) without hotel reservations; it just so happened that, when it came time to find a room these last two nights, the most convenient and appealing hotels were Econolodges. Both had yoga-friendly grass plots (which were noisy and public enough to break me of my recent spoilage for serenity); and, interestingly, both were within earshot of an active railway (just like the 10th's locale, as it were -- three train-adjacent overnights, almost sequentially, without even trying). As for my yoga sessions at these twin hotels (which weren't so identical, really, given that one room was unexpectedly luxurious and the second rather average), they were successful and fulfilling despite their "imperfection," thus rekindling my faith in (and enjoyment of) the less-than-wonderful.

As I stretched and meditated to the sounds and smells of passing traffic, it brought a strange sense of ahhhh.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

8/11: Return to the Relatives'

Another recycled picture.

Back to my relatives' for one more day, at their little mountaintop sanctuary, and as pleasant and nourishing. Yep, I'm getting spoiled, big time.

This must change.

8/10: Riverfront Meadow

Oh, I'm really spoiling myself now. Three days in idyllic, peaceful settings -- it's the end of the world, or something.

I was still in the western NC mountains, but now farther south, and in a valley, with un-mountainly heat. But heat was okay, for the heavenly meadow made me forget all about it. Sited between a whispering riverfront and the attractive outbuilding which housed my lodgings for the night, today's yoga-spot was rather ideal, even more so than the last two. I sat. I stretched. I listened to the water flow. Traffic noises were nonexistent, until a freight train passed on the nearby tracks (but even this was enriching, for I'd never seen an active train up close).

If I keep going this way, I'll never set foot in a parking lot again (even just to park).

Sunday, August 9, 2015

8/8-9: Generous Family

For these two days, I indulged in another spot conducive to yoga: the yard of some family members, this time.

On a relatively secluded mountaintop in the Appalachians of western NC, the property is wonderfully rural and quiet (or so it is now, after its neighboring homes are no longer rented to college students). So these days' yoga had it all: grass, seclusion, silence -- and, unlike 8/7's park, some sunshine, even. What's more, I progressed in one of my asana's, at last able to touch my forehead to my big toes. On top of it all, I got to reconnect with family (who are used to seeing me bouncing on a rebounder and doing solemn-looking yoga stretches every morning).

Those were good days.

8/7: Spoiled by a Park

Today's yoga was an exception for me. That is to say, it was wholly logical: I did it in a tranquil, tree-lined public park, a setting conducive to yoga (for a change).

What's to say? It was morning. The park was empty. It was raining gently. There were only a few passing walkers and joggers, unlike the constant snake of cars during yesterday's Wal-Mart session. I enjoyed myself quite much -- perhaps too much. I could get used to this whole peace-and-quiet thing (though something tells me to tread lightly here, lest I get spoiled against the inevitable parking lots and such that lie in my future).

The next time I get the chance for a naturally serene setting, perhaps I should think twice.

8/6: Wal-Mart Campout #3

I'm becoming a certified "That Guy."

There are lots of "That Guys" (Those Guys?), seen variously and widely across the great quasi-urban wilds of America. The sidewalk ministers. The conspicuously sexy joggers. The imperious, sign-holding panhandler. The minions and colleagues of these characters. Etcetera. Also included in this set is the Wal-Mart RV guy -- still an emerging species, without the set-in-stone traits of his more time-tempered contemporaries, but nonetheless a That Guy, through and through.

And now, if my repeated patronizing of Wal-Mart's RV policy says anything, I can now claim membership in this last designation.

Okay, enough with the dramatization. I stayed at Wal-Mart again, this time in a quaint little mountain town in western NC. As before, there isn't much to say about this particular answer to "Where is the Yogi?" This Wal-Mart was kind and accommodating (for me, at least). I did not get robbed, abused, battered, or otherwise violated. I never felt unsafe or threatened. Even during my yoga and rebounding (have I mentioned that I also exercise for a while on a Cellercizer trampoline immediately before these public yoga sessions, as if trying to make a spectacle of myself?), I didn't get anything more than some playful rhetoric from a passing man. If there was anything remotely interesting or sensational about this particular Wal-Mart visit, it was the repeated passage of an obscenely loud car on the lot's frontage road; the furious revving of its engine was evocative of the drag-racing cars that interrupted my sleep at my maiden Wal-Mart stay, down in SC.

Wal-Mart, I'm lovin' it (come on, you know it's only a matter of time before they merge with McDonalds).

8/5: Office Park of Peace

You know those white-collar, cookie-cutter, soulless-feeling office parks that invariably occupy the professional district of any city center, their brick enclaves harobring all manner of financial advisors and medical specialists and other folks you probably don't want to see because it usually means bad things? Well, I crashed one of these parks today, or the clean-cut, professional-realm equivalent of a crash, considering how out of place an RV-dwelling nomad-yogi was in such a place.

But, as the post's title suggests, this was no ordinary office park. I'm not sure what I was expecting upon deciding to set up camp here, other than maybe some real-life version of the one-dimensional stereotype described above. Instead, I found myself in a cozy, quiet little parcel, once again nestled in the belly of a reasonably populous city (Winston-Salem, NC, this time). The lot, harbored by its rampart-like surround of polished three-story office buildings, was all mine as I occupied it for the night. The only other soul I encountered was a man in a pick-up truck who swung by briefly to deposit some trash in the lot's dumpster; I imagine he had about as little permission to do so as I had to camp there.

The next morning, yoga was performed to a transient audience of well-dressed upper-mobiles arriving for work, soon followed by their clients. As for whether I craned any necks, I'm not sure, having my eyes closed most of the time (and not being too concerned with funny looks in the first place); but I'm sure the potential was there, given the absurd contrast inherent in my presence.

If it's not obvious, my gratitude goes out to this property's owners, who were not consulted about my stay-over. (I had the blessing of the doctor I visited there the previous afternoon, but she was a mere tenant.)

8/4: Wal-Mart Campout #2

See, I told you there'd be more Wal-Mart yoga.

And, yep, this picture is the same from 7/26. Because, first, I was in a hurry and forgot to snap a picture of Wal-Mart #2; and, second, because this latest Wal-Mart camp-out space was almost identical to the last, right down to the slant of the parking dividers occupied by Kalki, and my yoga-ing in the abbreviated little "half" space at the end of the row. Even the shrubbery in the lane's endcap was the same.

So deja vu, right? Wrong.

For one, it was cooler here (in North Carolina), as not to leave me sweating copiously throughout the night. Also, no Speedracer wannabes roared circles around Kalki and me in the night. Plus, it was just a quieter, gentler locale, located in a less-urban area alongside a less-trafficked road. All these things translated to a generally more affable yoga session.

But, in the end, it was still Wal-Mart, as far as adventure and excitement goes. As for tomorrow's destination? Who knows ...

Sunday, August 2, 2015

8/1-3: Domestic Yoga

That's a normal, everyday American living room, if it's not obvious (remember, I'm a yogi, not a photographer).

After a week or so of out-and-about sessions, this pair was a contrast, done in the comforts of privacy and air-conditioning (and no bug bites to distract me mid-asana). Not a bad thing, contrast; I enjoy posh as much as primitive. Plus, having a door to close, I could strip to my underwear, a luxury denied the public yogi (unless you want to risk having the police called on you, or unless you're attending Kumbh Mela).