One Hundred Eighty Three

yearofyogaJuly6A Year of Yoga: July 6, 2014

Pose: Pyramid

Location: The Louvre, Paris

Today is our last full day in Paris. We started at the Louvre and had to wait in line in the rain for about an hour. We ended only stayed a couple hours. It’s just too overwhelming. The obligatory viewing of the Mona Lisa was underwhelming and highly annoying due to the number of people who only want to walk around with a screen in front of them instead of actually experiencing the art. We had originally planned to have a picnic at the Eiffel Tower but the rain deterred us. I decided to hit up some vintage shops (no luck, but still fun), then we found delicious macaroons, walked through Luxembourg Gardens on our way to the Montparnasse Cemetery. Unfortunately we were disappointed to find the cemetery was closed. We finished the night at home with wine and cheese and bread and weird French tv. Tomorrow we travel to a campground in Grez-Sur Loing which boasts the “most beautiful forest in France”.

Photography Credit: Brandon

 

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One Hundred Seventy Three

yearofyogaJune25A Year of Yoga: June 25, 2014

Pose: Table Variation

Location: A cool mask shop somewhere in the Old City

Today I dragged Lulu and Momo back to the Picasso Museum. It’s free for students and children so all of us get in for free. I gave them a “kung fu mission” to choose their 3 favorite pieces. They each chose really interesting ones.

Lulu chose Gored Horse. Momo chose Science and Charity. I nerded out in the room with all of Picasso’s interpretation of Valasquez’s Las Meninas. We had some really nice discussions about these pieces, what they might mean, and why Picasso painted them.

Photography Credit: Momo

 

One Hundred Sixty Six

IMG_2165A Year of Yoga: June 17, 2014

Pose: Cow Face Legs with Eagle Arms

Location: Picasso Museum, Barcelona

Everything about this picture makes me laugh. Today I finally made it to the Picasso Museum in Barcelona. They don’t allow photos in the galleries so I had to settle for one in the foyer. This guy joined my photo just as I was twisting myself into this pose. I wonder what he’s thinking.

Photography Credit: D

 

One Hundred Fifty Nine

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A Year of Yoga: June 9, 2014

Pose: Prayer Squat

Location: Peter’s Garden; Rural Catalonia

C is here for a week! One of her priorities when traveling is to seek out cool art environments. She has dubbed them “outsider art”. Peter (of Peter’s Garden) calls them “places like this”. We rented a car and drove into rural Catalonia and found this special place. We wandered through the beautiful garden sculptures and buildings and then sat and enjoyed wine with Peter himself.

Photography Credit: Brandon

One Hundred Forty Three

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A Year of Yoga: May 24, 2014

Pose: Tree Variation

Location: Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Palau Nacional, Barcelona. Now that we have been in Spain for a few months and done a lot of traveling, we have gone into budget mode. In my research for free/cheap things to do in Barcelona, I learned that this museum offers free entrance on Saturdays. Lulu and Momo haven’t really been out in the city since we arrived in Barcelona, so today I dragged everyone out to do some exploring. We took our first metro ride. I have never lived in a city with an underground and I’ve never really vacationed or traveled in a city with an underground. So I’ve been a little nervous about getting lost on the metro….but it was super easy and now I think every city should have an underground. (I’m sure there are some cities with not so nice undergrounds, but Barcelona’s is really good).

We brought a picnic lunch to Parc Miro and the girls played on the playground. We then walked over to the national palace where the museum is housed and spent a little time checking out Catalunyan classical art. (The modern section is closed for refurbishment). Brandon has a much higher tolerance for classical art so the girls and I explored the outside of the palace while he took his time inside. As you can see from the photo, it is incredibly beautiful.

Photography Credit: Brandon

One Hundred Thirteen

IMG_3863A Year of Yoga: April 24, 2014

Pose: Side Plank Variation

Sanskrit: Vasisthasana

Location: In front of another cool piece of street art in Macarena. This was on a pre-dinner walk. Tonight we are having students over for dinner. We have been hosting groups of students for dinner throughout the semester. They have been having a tough time with their food situation. Most of them eat in the dining room at the residence but are sick of pork and white bread (aren’t we all). Some of them live in homes with families and are just not given enough food. It’s probably a good thing for them to go through, but I love seeing how they react when they sit down to a big plate of rice, beans, and tortillas. Sometimes we even have jalapeños and they go nuts. We have realized how very spoiled we are with good food in California. Any cliches you here about Californians complaining about food in other places…it’s true. Believe me, the food in California is the best food I’ve had anywhere….and I’ve been a lot of places.

Now that Spring Break is over, we are having student dinners two or three nights a week to make sure everyone has an opportunity. They have been so sweet and often come bearing delicious desserts and bottles of wine. It’s been fun to spend time with them in a less formal setting and get to know them better. I love hearing about the crazy experiences they’re having (of which I will not reveal the details). I love hearing what their plans in school are, what they’re majoring in, or considering majoring in. I love hearing about how living in another country is changing their perspective on the world, on friendship, on their own personal sense of independence. I’m honored that many of them have felt comfortable enough in our home to share some personal thoughts. What has often come to mind as I listen to them share, is that I’m here having similar revelations, but I’m in my mid-30’s and they are 19 or 20. To me, the age difference means nothing. It doesn’t matter that I’m 15 years older than them or that they don’t know who Kurt Cobaine is and that the concept of “rewinding” is foreign to them. It doesn’t matter what age you are when you have profound life changing experiences. What matters is that you have them; that you recognize them and take advantage of them in whatever form they’re presented. It’s been a constant reminder of the amazing gift me and my family have had; to live abroad and see and experience things many people will never be able to. Whatever I’ve given up or left behind has been worth it. Sometimes I need to be reminded.

Photography Credit: Momo

 

One Hundred Twelve

IMG_3855A Year of Yoga: April 23, 2014

Pose: Camel – Mermaid Bind

Sanskrit: Uttrasana – Eka Pada Rajakapotasana 

Location: Out for a walk in my neighborhood (Macarena) admiring the street art. There is a lot of graffiti in Seville. I’m sure the city has given up any attempts to clean it up, as it just reappears again. A lot of it is typical “tagging” people’s names or whatever in plain black or white spray paint; really unimaginative and stupid in my opinion. However, often there is true art in graffiti.

Photography Credit: Lulu

 

Ninety

Photo copy 3A Year of Yoga: April 1, 2014

Pose: Bound Side Angle

Sanskrit: Baddha Konasana

Location: Museo de Bellas Artes in Sevilla. What a hidden gem. Today’s cultural calendar event was a visit to the fine art museum in Seville. It’s practically in the backyard of the students’ dorms but it has gone unnoticed since we arrived. It doesn’t boast such famous works as the Prado or Reina Sofia, but it’s surprisingly large and full of works recovered from cathedrals and convents. It does boast a couple small El Grecco and Valasquez paintings. A fun fact is that Sevilla was actually famous for painting schools for a small time frame. The museum is housed in the former convent of the Merced Calzada. It was a nice afternoon although a bit rushed. I would definitely like to return and spend more time just enjoying the atmosphere and seeing more of the art.

Photography Credit: Brandon

 

Eighty Seven

photo copy 7A Year of Yoga: March 29, 2014

Pose: Handstand/Downward Facing Tree

Sanskrit: Adho-Mukha-Vrkshasana

Location: San Martin Bridge in Toledo, Spain. Today we took a day trip out of Madrid, to Toledo. Toledo was actually the capital of Spain for a long time and has a lot more history and charm than Madrid. I was not prepared for the breathtaking river town. Even though it was pouring down rain and part of our city tour was walking, it was beautiful and worth getting a bit wet for. Our amazing tour guide took us through the city to the Cathedral which holds a decent amount of art, including many works by El Greco. April 7 is the 400th anniversary of the painter’s death so the city was preparing to celebrate. Our guide gave us some interesting information about El Grecco including that he was extremely ambitious but also a bit defiant. Although he was required to paint what he was commissioned to paint by noblemen and the church, he found ways to do his own thing. After the cathedral we went to see this famous painting by El Greco (who lived in Toledo), which is housed outside the Cathedral. The painting was amazing but there were so many rude people pushing and shoving to get to the front. Our guide asked us to form a human wall and not let anyone past us so that she could point out some important information about the painting. She had 3 different people yell at her for this. But she handled herself with incredible grace, kept her cool, and still made sure we had a great tour. After El Greco, we visited the Jewish temple that is thought to be the oldest preserved temple in Europe. Toledo is famous for swords, marzapan, and El Grecco. I could do without a sword (although some of the students bought small daggers….?). We did enjoy the marzapan and El Grecco though! What a beautiful city. Make sure and visit the photo galleries which will soon have more photos of Toledo.

Photography Credit: Brandon

 

Seventy Nine

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A Year of Yoga: March 21, 2014

Pose: Tree with namaste variation

Sanskrit: Vrksasana

Location: Just one of the many incredible courtyards at the Alhambra in Granada. Today was excursion number 2 with the students. We boarded a chartered bus at 8am and set off on the 3 hour drive to Granada. I was especially excited because our family rented a kick ass loft and planned to stay in Granada until Monday in order to take advantage of our proximity to the Sierra Nevada mountains. (Just like in California!) Also, this is the first trip that we planned on our own. I love the excursions that have been planned for us, but it’s nice to have an opportunity to do something a little more our speed and style…(i.e. nature). But I’m on a tangent. More about Sierra Nevada in the next post. Today we explored the Alhambra. The Alhambra was originally a small fortress and then built up into an incredible palace by the Muslim kingdom back in the 11th and 12th centuries. We got a wonderful tour guide, Israel, to walk us through the grounds and buildings and give us a very detailed history lesson about Granada being the last Moorish stronghold in Andalusia, and how it was here that Queen Isabel finally won her war in 1492. The history is sad (like all wars) but the architecture is truly spectacular. For more pictures of this beautiful place, see the photo galleries.

Photography Credit: Brandon

Seventy Five

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A Year of Yoga: March 16, 2014

Pose: Warrior 1 with eagle arms variation

Sanskrit: Virabhadrasana 1

Location: Just outside the Museo de Baile Flamenco. If you look up in the window you can see a cool flamenco poster. The streets here are so narrow it was hard to find a great angle. Tonight we had a cultural calendar activity. We got a private guided tour of the museum. It happens to be the only museum in the world dedicated to flamenco. We learned that there are many kinds of flamenco and each type is dedicated to a different emotion. Tango, for example, is about the emotions of passionate love and lust. We learned that although flamenco has been around for a long time, it didn’t gain any international attention until the 1960’s when some movies started featuring flamenco dancing. One famous flamenco dancer, Cristina Hoyos is the founder of the museum. The museum also houses a dance school and performs flamenco shows in the evenings. After our tour we got to see a show. It was definitely a touristy thing to do, but holy crap! I have never been so impressed with guitar playing, singing, and dancing. It is impossible to follow the rhythm of the clapping. It was a one hour show but I could have easily sat through several hours of it.

Photography Credit: Brandon

Sixty Nine

A Year of Yoga: March 10, 2014

Pose: Half Lotus Forward Fold

Location: Parasol de Sevilla. If you google images of Sevilla, you will most likely find a picture of this plaza. We live just down the street from it and it is our closest major landmark. I haven’t learned much about the parasol but it seems like there’s a lot going on there including a produce market, museum of Roman and Moorish remains, and a restaurant on the top level which offers the best view of the city center (or so I’ve read). We will definitely be spending some time exploring this place.

Photography Credit: Brandon

Thirty Two

A Year of Yoga: February 1, 2014

Pose: Low Lunge with prayer hands

Location: Getty Center, Los Angeles. This is one of the best museums in LA. Today I visited with my husband’s literature students for a guided tour of illuminated manuscripts, stained glass and the Psalter. The pages on exhibit were a gift to Christina of Markyate; a medieval nun who rejected her arranged marriage and expected societal role. Her story is fascinating. You can learn more about the exhibit here. The exhibit closes tomorrow and I am so glad I had the chance to see it today. If you live in the area and happen to be free tomorrow, go see it before it’s too late! It was also a nice chance to get to know a couple of the students going to Spain for the study abroad program. It was a beautiful way to spend a Saturday morning.

Photography Credit: Momo

Thirteen

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A Year of Yoga: January 13, 2014

Pose: Mermaid

Location: Cal State Fullerton – North Lawn. This is a side of campus I hardly ever come to. I don’t think I ever noticed this sculpture before and I knew nothing about it, but I love big installation art, so I did a little research. It is the same artist that made this somewhat famous sculpture in the Chicago area. Sadly, that work was torn down to build a Walgreens, despite local efforts to save it. I was also sad to discover the artist died a few years ago at a fairly young age due to pancreatic cancer. You can read a nice article about him here. So now I am glad to know he has a legacy at my home away from home.

Artist: Dustin Shuler

Location: Lawn north of Pollak Library

Installation: 2003

Materials: Salvaged fuel ship

Acquisition: On indefinite loan by artist

Photography Credit: me (iphone 5 & gorilla pod)

Three

A Year of Yoga: January 3, 2014

Pose: The book I’m using to help me with this challenge calls it a variation of Tadasana or Mountain. I’ve also heard it called standing crescent or half moon.

Location: Magoski Art Colony during the first Fullerton Artwalk of 2014. The Artwalk in Fullerton was started by friends and will celebrate its fourth anniversary in March, which I am sad to miss as I will be on a plane to Spain. The Colony is an amazing conglomeration of galleries where running into dear friends and great art is usually a guarantee. Also, the Magoskis serve a delicious Sangria. So the first Fridays of March through July I’ll be lifting a glass of Sangria from Spain and thinking of Fullerton.

Photo Credit: Brandon F.

One

A Year of Yoga: January 1, 2014

Pose: Eagle

Location: Fullerton College Sculpture Garden Fullerton College holds a special in my heart. Both my husband and I are alumni and he is now a full-time English professor here. Many dear friends work here and pour their time, talent, and passion into the students here. It is also right down the street from where I currently live. It’s a beautiful campus and an integral part of my life.

Photography Credit: Vivienne (age 10)