Yoga for people who can’t be bothered to do it

Geoff Dyer is my new friend. We met for the first time at Miriam Gross’s annual literary soiree a few weeks ago and bonded instantly over the discovery that we share an ambition to try the South American hallucinogen DMT and would both like to find out whether it’s really true that everyone who does it experiences the same trip (something to do with grey alien creatures, apparently).

It was lucky this all happened before I’d read any of his books, because if it hadn’t I think I’d probably hate him. Not only did his new book Yoga for People Who Can’t Be Bothered to Do It help deny me one of the potentially best moments of my recent holiday in Africa (I’ll explain how in a bit), but it also made me spit with rage and jealousy because his style and preoccupations are not dissimilar to my own, yet he’s several more books and prizes down the line than I am and I worry that he may have cornered the market.

What Dyer does–in this book, anyway, which a Dyer aficionado friend tells me is slightly less heavyweight than his earlier stuff–is to swan round the world with a succession of beautiful, articulate women, taking drugs, hanging out with strange people and recalling it all in neat, unfussy, languidly conversational prose punctuated with clever philosophical apercus and some great jokes. (more…)

The movements of the people in the group doing the unusual exercise were smooth and fluid. People walking through the busy city park stopped to observe the small group concentrating on a routine in t’ai chi (ti-che). It was hard not to notice the contrast of their gentle motions to the hustle of the crowded city around them.

The t’ai chi system of exercises had its beginning in ancinet China. Here in the United States, many of us lack the gracefulness and slowness of pace that t’ai chi offers. But more and more people are practicing t’ai chi because they believe that it relaxes the mind as well as the body. They say that it helps digestion, calms the nervous system, is good for circulation, loosens the joints, and refreshes the skin.

T’ai chi and yoga are examples of exercises that originated in the Orient and have become increasingly popular in the United States. (more…)

Benefits of Yoga

Abdul-Jabbar attributes his remarkably long 20-year basketball career to the benefits he derived from yoga. “I wouldn’t have played as long as I had if I hadn’t done it,” he told Maclean’s. “Basketball is a game of skill, and either you have it or you don’t. But being able to maintain the skills is directly related to yoga in my case.” The former Los Angeles Laker star centre adds that yoga “really helped my flexibility and range of motion, and it paid off in injuries that I did not get. It also helped me use my strength more efficiently.” Although he is now retired from basketball, Abdul-Jabbar still practises Ashtanga, a physically demanding form of yoga that is gaining in popularity among elite athletes. Still, he says that some of the athletes he has introduced to the practice “bail out” after 45 minutes because they are not prepared for such an intense workout. (more…)