Thursday, September 30, 2010

I Put the HOT in Hot Yoga. Oh wait... it's 40 degrees?

Today I took a hot yoga class.
                         ...if you can balance rocks, you can balance yourself.

     For those who don’t know, hot yoga is yoga in a hot room. I’m talking super hot here; the temperature ranges from 37 to 39 degrees Celsius, so that you can pretend you’re doing yoga in India like the real thing. And no, the progression isn’t lost on me- we’re going from freezing cold showers to boiling hot exercise. Maybe next week I’ll jump in a volcano, you never know! I won’t.
     I visited Moksha Yoga Winnipeg on Waverly for a beginner’s practice. That’s a frustrating thing I quickly learned about yoga- it’s always practice. You’re always practicing, for what? The yoga finals on Saturday? But anyways…
     Moksha’s website dictates strict rules regarding what to bring and when to show up, and it’s one of those systems where being on time is late and being twenty minutes early is on time. So, wanting to make a good impression, I showed up forty minutes early. The studio exudes calm and unity, and even has a vegan cafĂ© called Calm Unity. I was immediately impressed by, of all things, the change room: clean, bright, sinks made of marble, and a couple giant showers. Now with a modest yoga studio, the change rooms are going to be proportionally small. At first it wasn’t a problem because let’s face it- guys doing yoga are a minority, so I had the space to myself. But once a couple of surprisingly old men came in and got naked, it got a little cramped in there.
     So I snuck out to wait outside the studio. I stood around with my rental mat trying to look inconspicuous until the door was opened to let the eager beavers in. My mind was wandering but it was impossible to miss… “Oh isn’t that nice of her to hold the door for OH MY GOSH IT IS HOT IN HERE!” The hot yoga room is basically a sauna. It’s the hottest day at the beach without the sexy tan, the comfort of sand, the refreshment of water, and the fun of volleyball.
     My plan was always to set up my mat at the back of the class and hide, but the room was so wide and only ten feet deep, so the “back” was actually about half the class. Oh and did I mention that half the walls were actually mirrors? There was nowhere to hide. I was relieved for a few reasons though: it seems I had chosen a popular yoga outfit, all black and showing some shoulder and leg; and I wasn’t the only one who had brought a non-yoga, beach towel. In fact, my towel wasn’t even the beach-iest one there; it didn’t have giant anchors all over it like hers did.

     Jessica, our yoga leader, came in and turned up the lights, speaking in hushed soothing tones about breathing and being in tune with our thoughts. Things quickly got serious as we went through our various poses, and the heat was definitely getting to me. I don’t want to get too graphic here, but it was the most I have ever sweat in my life. I normally don’t sweat a lot, I’m kind of classy like that, but I was pouring buckets the second we got out of child’s pose. By the time we got to dancing pose, I was dreaming of a oxygen tank as the heat closed in on me. But it turns out that was almost the end of the class, and I survived. Once Jessica wished us Namaste I walked out, being careful not to pass out from the head rush and heat.

     I got back to the change room and get this- had a cold shower. Little inside blog humour there… perhaps there are reasonable times for normal people to have cold showers after all. But anyways, I used their pump o’soap they provide right in the shower and went home smelling like coconuts.
In closing, I say Namaste. Random yoga word. Random… yoga word.

Check out Moksha Yoga's Website here.
(An Introductory Week is $20 for unlimited yoga sessions.) 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

My Cold Shower- I've never been less aroused in my life.

Today I took a cold shower.
      Usually a staple for psychotics and possibly sex addicts, I reappropriated the cold shower to normal people tonight. I jammed the temperature handle as cold as it would go, and instead of letting the shower warm up, I let it cool down. I couldn’t believe how nervous I was; the sound of that freezing water running gave me a knot in my stomach like I was heading to a much different type of shower.
     For some reason, the thought of concentration camps didn’t end there. When I finally manned up and stepped inside, the cold hit me like a slap to the face. I couldn’t breathe, even though I was gasping and panting for all I was worth. My hands flew around hysterically, numb and useless. Although I thought that the lack of comfort would make me get out faster, I spent too much time huddled in the corner, wrapped up in my own arms, shaking violently, trying unsuccessfully to avoid touching the water.
     The whole ordeal was over in less than ten minutes, and any thoughts I had about how refreshing it was had to be delirious, as I rubbed myself with a towel trying to scrub the goosebumps off.
     All in all I don’t recommend this. Just do yourself a favour and stay warm. Save freezing your valuables off for when you’re a senior citizen doing one of those polar bear dives for no reason. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Blogging About Tweeting is Overkill

Today I started tweeting.
It's surprisingly easy to do something you always promised yourself you'd never do. About seven clicks and suddenly I've gone back on all my promises. Next thing you know, I'll be riding those old-school bicycles or listening to Bieber, other things I hate. Then again... I'm blogging about him right now! It's too late!
CreComm is forcing me to be a different person; so far it's been a lot to get used to. The latest development is my new Twitter account, @deweyparker. What was that again? @deweyparker, follow that immediately!
I have to admit, because my teacher is making me, in a way, Twitter has been kinda cool. Within minutes I was able to see hilarious posts from Conan O'Brien and Stephen Colbert. Twitter will also help me keep in closer contact with my fellow students. And, if I ever have something important but extremely short to say, Twitter will be there. Lastly, if you ever need to tell me about something, just tweet the deets!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Try this Experiment!

Today I watched The Experiment.
      Anyone who’s taken a psychology class should remember the Stanford Prison Experiment by Philip Zimbardo, and if you’re like me you found it pretty interesting.
The study looked at the extent to which our roles dictate our behaviour by putting regular men into a mock prison, randomly assigned as either prisoners or guards. The guards were instructed to maintain order as they saw fit; asserting their authority, doling out punishments, and even harassing or humiliating the prisoners. All of this was done to ensure both the continuation of the experiment, and their reimbursement for participation. Although the prison was fake, the men were all equal outside of the experiment, and anyone was free to discontinue at any time, events quickly turned ugly. With behaviour and negative effects on the participants spiraling out of control, the intended two-week experiment was terminated after just six days.
       If that wasn’t interesting enough, The Experiment brings things to a whole new level. Director Paul Scheuring (creator, writer, and producer of Prison Break) presents a take on this experiment that is both gritty and compelling. Not only does the film ignite this textbook information with emotion, Scheuring does an incredible job of staying true to the real story. Besides the fact that the movie’s experiment runs to completion at the full two weeks, the story closely follows the actual events and is rich with accurate details, for example: prisoners being stripped and deloused upon entry, pushups given as punishments, guards spraying the prisoners with fire extinguishers, and one outspoken prisoner fighting to maintain his independence.
       Said prisoner is Travis, played by Adrien Brody (The Jacket, The Village, Predators), a young man who starts as a peaceful activist but soon turns into a hardened animal that refuses to break within the prison walls. Travis stands up to the guards and protects others, which only makes him a target for the guards’ mistreatment. Brody is excellent; watching him test his limits provides a gripping performance, as he quickly becomes the besieged hero. The breakdown exhibited in the actual participants of Zimbardo’s experiment is clear and saddening in this film; depicted by the inmates, the mental and physical toll on them is obvious and devastating.
       Playing opposite Brody is Forrest Whitaker (Street Kings, Vantage Point, The Last King of Scotland) as Barris, a man appointed to a guard position who quickly moves up as leader of a sadistic, violent group of guards. Although Barris and Travis are friendly to each other prior to the experiment, prison quickly turns them against each other. Viewers will quickly be disgusted at Whitaker’s performance; his creepy portrayal of a man slipping into insanity, drunk with too much power, makes him the perfect villain.
       While studying the original experiment in school, I wondered how ordinary people could let this madness extend to such lengths. Here The Experiment provides keen insight, as it’s easy to see events and people progress from innocent participation to brutal, animalistic behaviour. Although guards start out simply trying to continue the experiment in order to get paid, step by step their actions get sicker the more desperate for control they become.
       Of course, as with all movies, The Experiment differs from the original subject material in some ways. One guard for example, deprived of women within the prison, drifts towards pansexuality, beating and humiliating one prisoner in an attempted rape. While this no doubt adds to the drama and inspires more hatred for the guards, there is no evidence of such behaviour in the original experiment.
       Overall, The Experiment provides a view of a classic study that’s both insightful and visceral to watch. It supplements the psychology with emotion, making this experiment a personal experience. You should try this Experiment.

For more information on the Stanford Prison Experiment, check out its website at 
Watch The Experiment’s trailer here:

Thursday, September 9, 2010

It's A Brand New Blog

           Today I started a blog.
           I never saw it coming; I always saw blogging as a form of writing that started out dead and somehow got even less popular. Of course while I was seeing that, I never saw myself joining the ranks. But here I am, doomed to toil away in obscurity on a public project that will no doubt remain much too confidential.
          The purpose of my blog is to try new things; after all, this blog is one of them. I’ve heard it’s good, enriching, satisfying to try something new everyday, but I decided to be realistic. I’m sure if I looked closely enough, I’d discover some minute detail everyday that hadn’t occurred before, but the problem is more the actual documenting of those details. Life gets in the way of goals like that, but I promise you, dear reader(s?) that I’ll write you at least once a week. Don’t worry, you’re still important to me, but I have other stuff to do!
           Starting this blog wasn’t my idea, which shows you I’m very open to suggestion. To that end, be sure to leave me a comment to let me know if you have any ideas for what you want me to do, and I’ll see if I can get it done.