Category Archives: DLN

Do Like Natasha

This week’s “Do Like Natasha” (in which we explore alternative “modifications” to everyday life) is about exercise.

I can’t afford to go to a gym right now.

So twice a week I’ve been hiking Temescal Canyon Trail in the Pacific Palisades. It’s a great hike.  Just the right length with lots of great up-hill sections for some really nice cardio, and some of the best views I’ve found: the whole city on your left and the Pacific ocean on your right.

And it’s free.

But there’s something about hiking that’s also exceptionally useful for staying sane. And staying sane is the name of the game right now.

When I hike, the swirl of (mostly useless) thoughts and (entirely useless) anxieties that are always loafing about, falls away as I move up the trail.  These are lazy thoughts, you see.  And so they can’t keep up.  Get a little momentum going, and I can always outpace them.

But something else remains in their place – the weightier thoughts, the deeper, creative, spiritual thoughts, which seem to float along with me, like balloons tethered around my waist.  They are good and respectful companions.

Maybe others have had this sensation when running, but when I attempt that honorable sport, my thoughts generally go like this: I hate this I want to stop I hate this.  So I hike.  And leave, if just for an hour or two, my lazy loathing in the dust.

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Do Like Natasha

I don’t really do Yoga.  But some friends introduced me to a beginner-level video on Netflix Streaming called Candlelight Yoga.  Rest assured, it is just as awesome as it sounds.  Ethereal nether-world music, flowing drapes, candles scattered willy-nilly.

The instruction is given by the melodious Sarah Ivanhoe.  Whether she is a real person or just a robot built by Ray Kurzweil, it makes no difference – she is something to behold.

As Sarah serenely guides us through stretches and increasingly complex positions, she singles out one of her yoga-lackeys as “Natahsa” – an obscenely fit blond woman, who, we can see at one glance, is in no way remedial.  Yet it falls to Natasha to demonstrate what Sarah calls “modified” positions, meant to accommodate those of us who never passed the flexibility portion of the Presidential Physical Fitness Exam.

But here’s why I’m in love with Natasha: even while modeling the idiot’s pose, Natasha maintains a transfixing, statuesque dignity.

So tomorrow I’m launching what will be a regular and recurring feature, inspired by Natasha’s beguiling grace, for all those moments when the “correct position” in daily life is impossible.  When we need an alteration, an amendment, a modification.  When we must “Do Like Natasha.”  Stay tuned.