Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Ascetics Invented Yoga 'Cause They Were Poor

I'm busy. I start teaching at 11 a.m. and end my theatre rehearsals at 10:30 p.m. The days seem to blur into one another; despite our progress both in class and in rehearsal, it feels like I am doing, over and over, the same thing.

Thus: the busier I get with school/work-related activity, the more important it seems to be that I have some kind of alternate creative outlet, something wildly different than what I am doing the rest of the overstuffed week.

Last year at this time, it was cooking. Up through about February, it was still cooking -- but around the beginning of the year, something started to change.

At first I thought I was imagining things, but then the WSJ confirmed it: grocery prices have skyrocketed.

Milk has gone up by 26% and eggs have gone up by 24%. Grocery stores have tried to entice shoppers by cutting prices in other areas, but, as the WSJ notes:

At a Wal-Mart Supercenter in a northern suburb of Chicago, the price of a box of Little Debbie Frosted Donuts was recently reduced to $1.50 from $1.63 while a box of Sunbelt Oats & Honey granola bars was cut to $1.66 from $1.80.

But even with the promotions, the price of a basket of goods selected by Credit Suisse researchers at a Chicago Wal-Mart was up 2.5% in February compared with January. The basket price of a Target Corp. store in Chicago was up 2% and that of a Kroger Co.'s Food4Less store in Chicago was down 0.1%.

Since January 2008, I have purchased milk once: a quarter-gallon to make the quiche, and it was an event. I've purchased eggs twice this year, I believe.

I eat a lot of lentils and spinach, and when there was a sale on vegetables at the Kroger, bought a bunch and made enough sabzi to stock my freezer for a while.

So what have I been doing instead? Yoga -- and I've become obsessed. Obsessed to the point where I kind of plan my meetings around ensuring I will get an hour-long yoga break at some point during the day.

I started out doing a session in the afternoons, before rehearsal; then switched to the mornings, then realized that on certain days I could do mornings and afternoons. I've gone online and drooled over videos of ashtanga, fantasizing about a day when I could take ashtanga classes because it's supposed to be the hardest yoga ever, and learning it would be a superchallenge.

Long story short, it finally hit me: the reason I've become so interested in yoga and exploring my physical endurance is because I, literally, have nothing else to explore. I have frugalized myself down to such an extent that the only thing left is my own body. Other forms of entertainment -- shopping, movies, going to bars, going to concerts, discovering new music, even cooking -- are all out, at least until I get a post-graduation job.

On the plus side, I've got back abs. I've never had back abs before. I suppose lack of income has its benefits. ^__^

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