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Perspective altering moment - Tactical Ninja

May. 3rd, 2013

09:49 am - Perspective altering moment

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So yesterday I was in the gym doing my handstands, and there were these two guys staring at me. This isn't unusual - it seems few folks in this particular gym do much inversion type work, and whenever I do it I get funny looks. Often from people who are busy making pretzels of themselves in the stretch zone, weirdly enough. Huh. So anyway, these guys were staring at me, and next thing I know they asked if I minded if they joined me.


They had recently started learning yoga inversions, and were there to practice. They were doing a thing that in handbalancing is called the tiger stand:



Only they were starting with head on floor and then moving up to the stand. So I had a go at that. Turns out that if you've spent the last (almost a year bloody hell!) trying to do handstands and working on getting strong shoulders, this sort of thing is not all that hard. Also, I desperately want to critique that photo up there for closed shoulders and a sway back, but I don't know what it's supposed to look like in yoga.. anyone know? The guys seemed quite wobbly through the core, but the one who was a personal trainer said that swaying your back like that is part of the yoga move. I think it makes it harder to maintain the position because it's not strong through the middle, but I know nothing about yoga.

Anyway, then they wanted to know how to get started doing handstands. I've no idea tbh - I can't remember a time when I couldn't get my feet up over my head in some way, shape or form (terrible form up til last year, so I'm told). So I suggested they try doing it up against the wall, so they could fling their feet up without fear of toppling over. Seems it's a bit of a psychological commitment, and one of them could do it while the other couldn't.

The one who couldn't seemed to be struggling to open his shoulders, so while his legs went up, his body was staying more horizontal than vertical, and pulling his legs back down before he reached the balance point. I expect this lack of flexibility through the shoulders is probably a common problem with people who've done a lot of weight training, but I have no idea how to combat it, and didn't know what to tell this guy except "Keep trying, and trust that the wall will catch you."

It was a weird feeling. I'm so used to hanging out with people who make all the things I struggle to do look easy - there's the circus people, and then there's DoomBoy, who could do an L-sit a week after I told him what one was (while I still can't after months of trying). And at my practice sessions, I'm always stoked if I manage to maintain a full handstand for more than 10 seconds. It's getting more regular, but I still don't consider myself to be very good at it.

So meeting people who couldn't do it at all? Holy perspective-alteration, Batman!

I don't think I want to think too hard about how embarrassed I felt to be so much better at some physical activity than someone who was a personal trainer. It was the same cognitive dissonance I get when people ask to use my work as an example, or tell me I'm smart. I immediately want to self-efface and not be as good as I am, and I don't really understand that. Bler.

Anyway, it was nice to run into folks who also like to turn upside down. Maybe it's a growing thing!


Meanwhile, what do you think of this? PopSci article entitled "Is ecstasy safer when it's purer?" Propaganda? Balanced? Worthwhile? Stupid? It came in for some critique on the internet yesterday, and I'm curious what other people think.

And finally, in Reasons To Love Dr Wheel #217:



What's not to love? [edit] I should probably point out that the guy in the video is not actually Dr Wheel

Comments:

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From:pombagira
Date:May 2nd, 2013 09:59 pm (UTC)
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i sometimes get a similar thing happen but not handstands so much as spirituality..so to speak.. sometimes it is nice to see where you have come from and how far you have come, and then there are the other times when i meet someone who is better, and it is nice to see that there is more out there to learn..

does that makes sense?

*ponders this*

also yay friday and fidels..

*beams*
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From:tatjna
Date:May 2nd, 2013 10:01 pm (UTC)
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This is true. I'm very thankful to have so many people around my who can do things that inspire me to keep at it.

But I'm vaguely disturbed that when I'm in that position, the first thing I want to do is pretend I'm not very good and crawl under a rock.
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From:pombagira
Date:May 2nd, 2013 10:11 pm (UTC)
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hmm.. yeah i know that one to.. its weird.. like when someone say you are very skilled at sewing, and or thats art, i get all.. self effective..? is that even a thing.. and end up toughing it out a little, oh that its nothing .. *coughs*.. no i am not an artist i sew things.. *coughs*..

but on the other hand when it comes to spiritual and magic thing..i don;t get it as much... *ponders this* i wonder why the difference..

so thinking about it.. i can remember being essentially told of for 'showing off' by my family, and to a degree culture as well, if you did something well you were not to be seen to boast about it.. and when someone said you did well making something or doing something you were not supposed to agree.. or something...

which reminds me strongly of the Protestant ethic of a sorts.. which is about sure you no longer need to buy your way into heaven like you do if you are catholic, however you must now work for God, and if you make a bucket load of money because you are good at something they you will know that you have Gods approval, however you must not show this off in any way because that would be sinful and God will not approve...or something along those lines..

so in closing *laughs* its a combination of all of the above, society where self effacing is the norm, which is in many ways a strong influence of a protestant ethic influence, and coming in my case from a family that did not approve of thinking above you station.. which was to say that you were pleased and said thank you when someone pointed out that actually you were a textile artists with excellent sewing, design, and creative skills that were worthy of their praise..

*takes breath*

err yeah....

*grins*

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From:labelleizzy
Date:May 3rd, 2013 12:33 am (UTC)
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I remember being shocked when I told my sister I was learning how to make art and she said, "what are you TALKING about, you've always been so creative!" and I was like "erm, but SEWING is different!"

I wonder if it's easier to let ourselves feel good about the magic and ritual thing (because I share your perspective) because if we didn't grow up doing it, nobody ever told us off for doing it, bragging on it, et cetera, because we learned how as adults instead of as kids in judgy families.

*scratches head*

Edited at 2013-05-03 12:34 am (UTC)
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From:pombagira
Date:May 3rd, 2013 12:47 am (UTC)
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yes it has been quite the challenge to admit to being a textile artist, *shifty eyes* i am still waiting i think for someone to come and correct that assumption, with a no actually you just sew things.. *scratches head* yeah..

could also be that with magical and ritual i don't actually talk to my family at all about it.. my tribe sure thing, they understand me in ways my family never will...

ack judgy familys... they do get in..

*crosses eyes*
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From:tatjna
Date:May 3rd, 2013 12:51 am (UTC)
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Oddly enough, my family was anything but judgey, it was my school socialisation that was all "Don't be bigheaded, don't show off, we'll tear you down a peg or two" until now I just do it for myself to save anyone the trouble.
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From:pombagira
Date:May 3rd, 2013 12:57 am (UTC)
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ohh.. wait that reminds me of when you said that you had changed your accent so to better fit in.. which could be a thing, with that now you do it for youself to save anyone the trouble thing.. *waves hands* so instead of judgy family, you had judgy school...

*ponders this to*

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From:labelleizzy
Date:May 3rd, 2013 12:29 am (UTC)
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yay for yoga boys willing to try new things!
yay for handstands!
yay for cognitive dissonance! (the only way to learn, for reals)
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From:tatjna
Date:May 3rd, 2013 12:33 am (UTC)
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It was totally an inversion party!

Normally at the gym, nobody really interacts. It was quite cool to be chatting and trying things with people. ;-)
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From:ecosopher
Date:May 3rd, 2013 12:47 am (UTC)
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I'd be much happier having my children experiment with drugs (in a few years, obviously, because I do believe that 6 or younger is a little too small) if I knew the drugs were at least less likely to kill them. I mean, I've had no bad experience with ecstasy but them getting a bad pill is one of the things I really worry about, should they decide they want to try it.

Yay for sharing of handstand knowledge ;) How cool!
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From:tatjna
Date:May 3rd, 2013 12:50 am (UTC)
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Did you think the article was promoting drug use or misleading people to believe that MDMA is completely safe?
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From:ecosopher
Date:May 3rd, 2013 01:08 am (UTC)
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Hmm, no, but then I'm coming from the perspective that I don't think drugs are EEEEEVILLLLL, just that I would like better information about them. I guess the problem is that people who are conducting experiments for whatever reason have an agenda and an expectation as to what the results will be. Not that I think scientists are corrupt, just that they're human, you know?

I also think they're not really saying anything we've not heard before. The bigger issue is not that MDMA might be less dangerous than we thought, or whatever, but that when you buy it on the streets, you can't be sure what you're getting unless you test it.
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From:tatjna
Date:May 3rd, 2013 01:12 am (UTC)
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Hmm, that's what I thought too. I thought the judgement that it promotes MDMA as completely safe was a bit off the mark. I guess if you only read the headline it might seem that way?

The question "Is ecstasy safer when it's purer?" - I guess you could ask, safer than what? Safer than ecstasy that's MDMA cut with meth, yes. Safer than ecstasy that's MDMA cut with baking soda, probably not. Safer when you know it's purer rather than guessing what's in it? Yes again.

But the content of the article covers all those points, and the bottom line is that information reduces harm. At least, that's what I got from it. But like you, I'm not immediately anti when I see the word 'drugs'.
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From:ecosopher
Date:May 3rd, 2013 01:24 am (UTC)
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Exactly. And the point is, if people are going to take it, then I would rather they know the risks. You're never going to be able to reduce risks completely. And also, sometimes I think that's what people want... they want an unequivocal 'this will never harm you if taken correctly' kind of assurance, and that's just not ever going to be the case. I'd like for there to be information, but I'd also like for people to take responsibility for themselves. Anything you put in your body -- peanuts, seafood, ecstasy -- could cause you harm.

Heh, that ended up being a little disjointed, I hope you get my drift!

Also, happy birthday for the other day! :D
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From:tatjna
Date:May 3rd, 2013 01:28 am (UTC)
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Thank you! ;-) It was a happy day.

From what I understand, the research on MDMA to date is coming out to show it poses a fairly low risk of harm in clinical circumstances - like, lower than a lot of things we're allowed to put in our body without restriction.

When the parameters for 'low risk' associated with NZ's Psychoactive Substances Bill are finalised, I will be very interested to see whether some of these banned substances actually turn out to be safer than what is currently on offer in the legal high industry.

And your comment made perfect sense. I love cashews, they could kill my friend. Yet they are still legal! #wontanybodythinkofthechildren
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From:helianthas
Date:May 3rd, 2013 06:39 am (UTC)
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I am pretty sure that is not a correct position for yoga...
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From:helianthas
Date:May 3rd, 2013 06:43 am (UTC)
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Ok, in googling "yoga forearm stand" and "forearm balance" I'm getting a lot of those swayback images, but a few straight ones. I am of the mind that there should be core strength holding you straight but maybe different practices are different?
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From:siobhan63
Date:May 3rd, 2013 01:27 pm (UTC)
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I think the sway-backness is because there's another variation of that pose where you bend your knees to rest your toes on the top of your head, which kind of requires that you curve your back.
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From:tatjna
Date:May 3rd, 2013 09:29 pm (UTC)
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Yeah. I also saw one where you use the leverage of straightening from the swayback position to press up into a handstand:



And now I want to be able to do that...
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From:goddessofchaos
Date:May 3rd, 2013 10:53 am (UTC)
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People who can turn upside down at all are impressive to me. I've never been able to do handstands or any form of exercise that involves turning upside down, even when I was a kid. It probably has to do with my messed up sinuses/eustachian tubes though, rather than anything else - I feel a massive pressure in my head, like it's about to explode, if I put it upside down.
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From:tatjna
Date:May 3rd, 2013 09:30 pm (UTC)
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That sounds extremely unpleasant, and I'd avoid being upside down too if that's what it felt like every time. O.o
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From:pythia
Date:May 4th, 2013 12:18 pm (UTC)
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Saw this today and thought you might appreciate some of the handstand work. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kyOWj-ZZNc4
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