Indians bare all in new yoga craze.

In the past nude beaches were looked on in dismay. Parents would quickly cover their kid’s eyes when getting a glimpse of one from a boat on a sun holiday. These days nude beaches are no longer breaking news. However there is a new craze beginning.

Fancy stretching out in front of a room of people with no clothes on?

Perhaps not but the dolphin pose, the scorpion pose and the half moon pose amongst others are now being done naked in a new nude yoga practice that is sweeping the nation.

Praised by stars such as Gwenyth Paltrow and Halle Berry nude yoga has been around since the early 1960’s in Western society but has only recently reached Indian plains.

Nude yoga clubs are dotted around the US and Europe and it is only so long before there will be some here in Bangalore. Experts claim ‘it liberates people from their inhibitions and helps unification of the mind, body and soul’. However we must question whether India is ready for this.

In the USA 29 year old female Nadia Domino has been practicing nude yoga for almost 3 years. She says “in the beginning I found it strange but my friend dragged me along and I like it. No one cares that you are naked and I have learnt to love my body for the way it is”.

Elsewhere 34 year old Mark Twohig from Dorset in the UK says ‘I’m not so sure it would be a good idea, because I think it would totally distract from the purpose for me. I would be too interested in admiring the female form and not focusing on proper breathing techniques”

Of course the venue is important when setting the scene. Anywhere from a living room to a community centre, a yoga centre or a club can be used. Rooms are usually dimly lit so as to make the individual more comfortable. Most classes offered are co-ed so the individual would have to be very comfortable with their own body. Nude yoga is said to have the advantage of practicing yoga without the confinement of clothing and accepting the body in its natural state.

While practitioners and clubs insist there is nothing seedy about the practice yoga sris in Bangalore do not like this new trend. One yogi says “India is not ready for nude yoga, it is too sexual. I do not approve of the practice. I would not do it and I would not encourage others to take part”.

Despite this rejection nude yoga is said to have existed for thousands of years amongst Naga Sadhus(naked mind) yogis in India. These yogis free their minds and the nudity symbolizes the rejection of all things of material value. In the begging the individual will feel the judgmental eyes of others but this soon disappears.

Benefits of nude yoga

It makes the individual more comfortable with their body and allows the practice without the constraints that clothing bring.

Disadvantages of nude yoga.

Many cases have existed where the location was not approved and individuals took advantage of the chance to see others nude.

Nude yoga classes also exist for children which can invite unwanted attention.

Other comments

Mel from Exeter in UK                                                                                                                                                 Well it would never catch on here in the UK – we’re all too prudish to cope with the idea of nude yoga!

I can see its appeal though – no clothes constricting movement, which is kinda the idea – I always wear fitted but stretchy clothes to do yoga or pilates because then nothing is flapping in my way and its easier to see whether your posture is correct or not.

There is nothing wrong with the naked human form. And if you were doing yoga the whole point is to be focused on your inner self and your breathing – I know I hardly ever notice the people around me when I’m doing a class because you’re supposed to listen to the instructions and focus on your movements.

Hannah from Ireland

I wouldn’t, no. For the same reasons I wouldn’t attend a naked cookery class, a naked book group..you get the idea.

Zannah Netherland

I have done it.I was at a naturist camp and there was a naked yoga class, which I took. I liked it, but not more than ‘clothed’ yoga class, but as it was very hot at the time and I was naked the rest of the day, it would have been silly to get dressed. I think that it’s essential that everyone is actually doing it, so you don’t have to worry about people looking at you and you don’t have time to look at others, after all, you’re supposed to be concentrating on the asana’s so it doesn’t really matter what anyone is or is not wearing.

Restaurant review

High Note

100 feet road, HAL 2nd Stage, Indiranagar, Bangalore

As a European living in India for a month the culture is certainly a lot different. The traffic, the food, the people and the traditions.

Suddenly you go from English, American and Italian delicacies to eating rice at every meal. High note restaurant offers a sweet alternative to this.

Finding the place in our last week as volunteers we were greeted with a menu full of Italian and European foods such as pasta, fish and chips and steak.

This was the first occasion for many of us since arriving earlier in the month to eat chips, beef and fish.While High Note does offer the Indian choice it also offers a variety of other food genres from noodles to curry.

Drinks -The drinks menu at High Note offers a great choice from wines, soda, cocktails or even mock tails. We decided to go for three sweet lime sodas’s which were a great prelude to our meals.

Starters-For starters we ordered a selection of stuffed mushrooms and assorted potatoes. While the quantities cater for these starters being shared it is possible to work up enough of an appetite to eat one alone.

The potatoes in the basket gave a great variety from crispy fried chips, to spicy potato wedges and even traditional English hash browns.

The mushrooms were soft and nicely fried and came with a chili dip that added an extra kick to the taste.

Main course-For main course we settled for two pasta dishes as well as a steak and chips.

The chicken and mushroom pasta was light and creamy providing a rich taste to our pallets.The cheese covered steak was nicely browned and the portion size was just enough to satisfy the average diner.

Desert -While desert selections included cooked pineapple with ice-cream, date wontons and ice-cream we decided that a chocolate fix was just what we needed to finish of the perfect meal. Provided in individual bowls the chocolate moose was rich and creamy with a nice liqueur aftertaste. With a cherry on top the chocolate went down perfectly and left us with a sweet taste in our mouth to end the perfect evening

Service -Arriving 30 minutes before opening time we were cautious about the service. Would they be angry? Would the place even be open? The waiter kindly agreed to let us sit and have drinks while looking at the menu. Once we had decided he took our order for starters and assured us that as soon as business began at 7pm our order would be the first.

The same friendly service continued throughout the meal as the waiters did all they possibly could to ensure that we were having a good night. The friendliness was not overpowering and we still felt we had privacy in our corner booth.

Atmosphere-The atmosphere in High Note is relaxed with a candle lit dinner in a room that overlooks 100 foot road. The restaurant is not themed for any culture and so it is very possible to sit back and enjoy your food whilst pretending you are dining in Italy, Ireland, France or any other country of your choice.

The waiters were helpful and the music was low enough so as to provide a soothing atmosphere over a loud distracting one.

Overall the experience was perfect and an excellent end to a four week stay in Bangalore giving us familiar food with the choice to also eat Indian if we so wished.

Ready for an acid attack?

Published Thursday August 20th

It all began one sleepless night when DJ Robert Babicz, also known as Rob Acid, sat down on his commodore and started creating music. Catch him live this weekend.

Robert Babicz or ‘Rob Acid’ as has been called is due to perform in Bangalore next Sunday for the first time. As part of his India tour which includes performances at Mumbai and Pune, Babicz will play at Fuga from 10.30pm onwards. The Polish born DJ is said to be “a true pioneer of minimalist sounds as well as raw groove.” He is one of the greatest talents to come out of Germany in many years. Roberts performances are each unique in their own way. Never relying on playbacks his performances are all live and distinctive as they use different songs and sounds. His performances have been described as touching people and having a lasting effect that many other DJ’s fail to succeed in doing. Robert’s entry into the music scene was not planned in the slightest. One sleepless night he sat down on his commodore and started programming. Ever since that night he has been drawn to the computer by his love of music. There are many DJ’s out there producing techno and acid but Robert has an advantage over them all. Being part of an older generation he has the experience to always better his performances. He can always reinvent himself to suit the demands and needs of his audience. In his words “playing live is for the moment, not for reproduction”. Since his first release back in the early 1990’s Robert has experimented with different sounds and even found ways to work different genres such as jazz, techno and RnB into his works. Evolving with the times this is another way that he catches and keeps the audiences attention. Not only has Babicz experimented with music type and genres he has also changed his name several times to suit his current style. Going under the pseudonym “Acid warrior” in 1994 he premiered at clubs with “Junk food”. Other names that he has used include sontec and dicabor. While primarily being a soloist Babicz is sometimes joined by performers on other instruments. He integrates these instruments in accordance to the current style he is using. During his jazz project he added a trumpet as well as drums and guitars. When it comes to his creations Babicz is grateful for the availability of such great hardware and software. He relies heavily on FabFilter about which he says “”I fell in love with FabFilter Timeless after I heard it for the first time. It’s really a masterpiece! Usually I use my Eventide Orville for effects, but now Fabfilter Timeless is the king here”. He also likes Pro-C, “I am a huge hardware fan with a big collection of analog EQs, compressors and effects, but FabFilter plugins are now in the center of my production. I’m using them in nearly every track” he says. Babicz has already toured several destinations around the world including UK, Malta, Estonia, USA, Canada, Poland and Russia. Albums by Babicz include “A cheerful temper”, “Dark Flower” and “Purple Dance”.

Mridula Koshy on her latest book, her inspirations and her lifestyle.

 Mridula Koshy this week launched her collection of short stories “If it is sweet”. The Delhi-based author focused on the challenges in life explaining different lifestyles and the struggles they bring. The book is centered on Delhi but also visits Oregon’s Klamath Falls and Los Angeles Sunset Boulevard. Included in the stories are characters from all walks of life including construction laborers, garbage collectors and maids. The detail of each story draws the reader into the life of the character. In “The Good Mother” the main protagonist after hearing neighboring noise decides that tools are either “made light, for smaller hands, or made cheaply, for poorer people.” This story deals with the struggles associated with being a single mother contrasted with the feelings that new love brings. Mridula explains her entry into writings as being linked with walking. Although she jokes “there was a long period of walking which never resulted in writing”. She first began after moving from Oregon to South Delhi. Back in Oregon she used walking as a means of escaping being in the house all day. She would bring her kids and nephew. It was through those walks that the stories came to her. She thought of little narratives combining images and words. This process lasted over 6 years. However after moving to Delhi and all the hustle and bustle that a big city brings she longed for solitude and for some quiet time. She continued her walks and her narratives and formed her ideas into stories. She cannot explain the difference between cities only that “it wasn’t as simple as I walked in one city and never wrote, walked in another and did”. Ironically enough much of what Mridula learnt from and what inspired her was her little niece Ella who whilst learning to talk used to make up little rhymes and story tales. Mridula took this into account and used it in her own stories. In one memory she recalls a game with her niece. Ella who at just 3 years old refers to herself in the third person got frustrated and said “She wants to get back to Ella”. This third person narrative has been a great inspiration for all of Mridulas’ stories and helps her in the writing process. Koshy’s stories are centered in Delhi. She was born and lived there before moving to Oregon at the age of 15. Because of this she say’s she feels when writing about India she “had to begin with Delhi”. In her past Mridula tried her hand at several jobs including being a silver ware polisher and waitress. She also spent a lot of time as a trade union worker which has become the inspiration of many of her stories. Her career as a trade union worker has a lot to with the stories as she was immersed in a lifestyle of dealing with immigrants struggling with anxiety. She came to realise that in US she was a second class citizen and she used this to help her understand the turmoil of others. Mridula is still busy at work with her next project being centered around Kerala. Other works by Mridula Koshy include Jeans in India and Intimidations of a Greater Truth. Mridula’s ‘If it is sweet’ is now available at bookshops.

From a high cliff to a cold lake

Published Monday August 17

Josh Kornbluth speaks of his attempts to adapt award-winning Citizen Josh to the Indian audience. The comic monologue on democracy, which swings from silly to serious, will be performed on Wednesday

Described as being “a pleasure to behold” Citizen Josh makes its Bangalore premiere this week at Ranga Shankara.

Josh Kornbluth is the sole actor in this play about democracy which has been performed only in the US so far.

After a request from the Indian embassy, Josh has adapted his original script to suit the Indian audience. He has spent time researching and reading about Indian culture in an effort to make his play suitable. Describing this experience, he said: “It’s a shock for me to enter any new phase, much like jumping into a cold lake from a high cliff.”

He jokes, “The audience should expect to see a very bald, middle-aged American talking about his attempts to make the world at least a tiny bit better for his little boy.  The man will sometimes say very silly things, and some other times be quite serious”.

Describing the play, he says it is “a comic monologue about one very passive person’s realisation that he must become an activist, so that he can properly participate in his democracy. Starting with his failed attempts to get some equipment fixed in a nearby playground, and leading to a meeting with former vice-president Al Gore, this is a story about how politics pervades virtually every aspect of our lives; it’s also about how we’re all in this mess together.”

Same difference

Josh says, “I hope that audiences in India, despite the cultural differences, will find much to relate to; we are, after all, two former British colonies who broke away and became democracies”.

Arriving in India for the first time last week, Josh says, “I am just beginning to experience Indian society, so I don’t feel qualified to judge how my story relates.  My sense is that Indian society itself is made up marvellously – of so many different cultures, religions and languages, I suspect that people in different Indian cities might relate to my story in different ways.  But even though my tale takes place in a small city in California, my attempts to feel connected to my own government will strike a chord with citizens here.”

Lessons learnt

Speaking about the play from birth to production, he says. “I have learned a great deal about myself in developing this piece including the lesson that even someone as incompetent as myself can have something to contribute to in a democracy!  Also, that if I want to help make the world better for my son, I must participate in important political decisions. As for what I am just beginning to learn from my first encounter with Indian society, I am already struck by the power and resilience of India’s multiculturalism; I believe that the US has much to learn from India about tolerance and inclusiveness.”

After this tour, Josh plans to return to the US where he will continue to shoot Love and Taxes, his second feature film.

He is also planning a tour of the US with his comic monologues. But more importantly, “The thing I’m looking forward to the most is playing with my son”.

Where: Ranga Shankara.
Call: 2659 2777
When: Wednesday August 19, 7.30pm
Run time: 70 minutes.
Wallet factor: Tickets cost Rs 200

Bangalore reacts

Published Mid-Day Tuesday August 11

Bangalore reacts
The first two cases of the H1N1 have been confirmed in Bangalore and the city is slowly reacting. Frank Anthony Public School on Cambridge Road bore the brunt of media attention as the first recorded case is a student there. The other victim is a 13-year student of National Public School.
 
Schools react
Parents outside the school expressed mixed feelings about the flu. Lionnel A Coulter who has two sons in 7th and 8th standard said that he “would not be afraid to send his kids to school”, on the other hand Geraldine Philips who has a daughter at the school said that she is “afraid because the school is closed through Friday and her daughter will have to go to work with her now.”
While an earlier message sent to parents of children at Frank Anthony Public School reported that the school would remain open, they have now announced that the school is to remain closed till the 17th. Students at the nearby St Meera’s school said that they “are very scared of getting sick”. A parent at the school said, “the school does not know what to do and neither do I.”

Pharmacies react:
While other countries are quickly handing out treatment for the swine flu virus, pharmacies in the city shake their head and pay little attention when asked about the drug.

When asked whether they stocked or would now be interested in stocking Tamiflu or Relenza, they responded mostly in the negative.

Sai Health Pharmacy on 8th Cross, Thippasandra gave us a blunt, “No!” while Maya Medical, also at Thippasandra told us clearly that they weren’t interested. “Not now, but if the demand grows, then yes,” said Arihant Medicals on Cambridge Road.

Govt hospital keeps mum:
A spokesperson from the Government hospital on Cambridge Road declined to comment.

Swine Flu

Wednesday August 5th

SWINE FLU

In the aftermath of India’s first swine flu death we have to ask if the world is doing enough to prevent the spread of the virus.

As an avid traveler I have spent time in the UK, Ireland and US since the outbreak of the H1N1 virus and was only once screened for the virus. This came at the final part of my trip and the destination was Bangalore.

Arriving at 5am each passenger on the flight from the UK had to fill out a swine flu questionnaire as well as pass through a thermometer which detects a raise in body temperature. Yes the process took time and was the last thing many passengers wanted to do so early in the morning but it was also somewhat reassuring.

Entering and leaving JFK airport in NY in June no such process existed. The situation was the same this week in London Heathrow airport and Cork airport Ireland. Passengers were told to inform personnel if they suspected that they may have swine flu but that is where the screening started and stopped.

Worldwide coverage of the virus has sparked fear amongst people. Could they be infected? Could they pass it on? Will they die?

This is a reality that should be faced and unless officials across the world step up their screening then the virus is going to spread.

In July British Airways announced that travelers with swine flu would be prevented from boarding the plane. So too did Virgin airways who announced “”If the medical team believe there are reasons not to fly, the passenger will be asked to produce a fit-to-fly certificate from their doctor or a hospital, and they will be put at our cost on to the next available flight” as of yet no strict measures are being conducted.

Fear also exists over the use of the only known treatment – Tamiflu. Side effects including insomnia, nausea and hallucinations have been experienced in many cases where the treatment was given. In the UK and Ireland patients have been advised against the use of the drug unless the patient has underlying health problems.

Airports should be pressurized into using more preventative methods. There have been reports that the temperature testing is not the best method but it is better than nothing at all.

As the majority of cases in India are related to people coming from infected countries embassy talks suggest that visa applicants will be asked if they are undergoing treatment or have symptoms. Based on this applications may be refused entry to the countr

In country advice

The Indian government yesterday advised anyone with swine flu symptoms to go to designated hospitals.

Countries that use preventative methods

India – 574

Hong Kong- 4,066

Malaysia- 1446

Japan- 4462

Sri Lanka – 55

Thailand – 8,877

Others Turkey, Cambodia, Egypt, China

Countries that do not.

Ireland – 276

UK – 11912

France -719

Germany – 7177

Others – Mexico, New Zealand, US, Zurich, Tenerife, Australia, New Zealand.

Book reviews

Tuesday 4th August

 

Book name: Marley and me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog

Author: Josh Grogan

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (26 Jul 2007)

 

 “A dog doesn’t care if your rich or poor, clever or dull, smart or dumb give him your heart and he will give you his”.

Brought in as a distraction for not having a baby journalists John and Jennifer decide to add a new member to their family. Picking up Marley from the breeder all seems fine. He is a cute and cuddly golden retriever who soon becomes “the world’s worst dog”

The passing of time is dictated through passages from John Grogan’s column. Bringing Marley to life in these columns the reader is guided through the happy and sad times. The story will touch the heart strings of anyone who has ever had a pet and that is what makes this a book for all ages.

The best bits: The column extracts are definitely asset to the story and nicely break it up.

The worst bits: Realizing that good things don’t last forever.

 

Book name: Broadway musicals: The 101 greatest musicals of all time (2004)

Authors: Ken Bloom, Frank Vlastnik.

Publisher: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers Inc; 11 Nov 2004.

 

Providing an insight into the New York Theatre District readers can experience the magic as they flick through pages of pictures, reviews, plot summaries and interviews which bring each show to life. Covering 101 award winning shows this is a must for any theatre fan. Following the history of the show the reader can learn what made it a success as well as any difficulties faced along the way.

Included in this book are classics; Evita, Chorus Line and Cats.

 

The best bits: the photographs that were never before published.

The worst bits: the fact that the contents were quite old and given that many shows are not running anymore this means that the content is not suitable for today’s theatre market.

Book name: Nine Stories

Author: J.D. Salinger

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1st Little Brown Mass Market Pbk. Ed edition (1 Jan 1970)

This book is a great introduction to the work of J.D Salinger. Consisting of nine short stories the reader is introduced to many characters who are each dealing with their own emotion. Containing the classic “For Esme” this book gives readers some traditional Salinger whereas other stories “A Perfect day for Bananafish” and “Uncle Wiggly goes to Conneticut” are thought provoking and make readers feel for the characters.

The fact that these stories are all so short leaves the reader wanting more.

The best bits: The laughing man was the best story which leaves the reader wondering what happens next.

The worst bits: A perfect day for Bananafish provoked feelings and emotions that some readers may find uncomfortable to deal with.

 

Book name: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

Author: Mildred Taylor

Publisher: Puffin; New Ed edition (27 Jan 2005)

 

This book gives a unique insight into the hardship of growing up in Mississippi in the 1930’s. This is the first of four books told through the eyes of ten year old Cassie Logan as she deals with racism first hand and struggles to cope with the reality that she will always be treated as second class.

Being the only girl in her family Cassie takes on the roll of big sister, mother and protector to her brothers.

Mildred Taylor doesn’t hold back on detail but this lets the reader experience the full emotions of the story.

Cassie fights for her rights whilst at the same time understanding her place in society. She struggles to hold back when a friend goes too far.

Although aimed at younger readers the story is timeless and appeals to all ages.

 

The best bits: the whole book is filled with great scenes perfectly illustrated through the

eyes of a child.

 

The worst bits: There are some storylines left open which require reading the next book

in the series.

 

Book name: The Great Gatsby.

Author: F Scott Fitzgerald.

Publisher: Penguin Modern Classics (25 Jan 2007)

For one man life appears to be perfect, he has everything he could ever want, the looks, the money, a social life and more than many could ever dream of. First published in 1925, the story is set in Long Island‘s North Shore and New York City during the summer of 1922. Narrated by Nick Carraway a bond salesman the reader is told of the struggles of his neighbor Jay Gatsby a millionaire who is hiding a dark secret. The pressure of keeping such a secret causes him such emotional turmoil that eventually his life begins to fall apart. This timeless tale of struggle with oneself is suitable for older readers.

The best bits: knowing that money cannot buy everything.

The worst bits: the constant struggles of the character get repetitive.