Acronym for What Occurs When Learning! LOL (I crack myself up, sorry). I would pronounce it to rhyme with howl.

I used to teach reading to first graders. I am boldly going to say that the steps for learning what reading is for, are interchangeable with learning what yoga is for.

In the beginning you are perfect and capable and enough. You cannot yet read. You are still all those things but acquiring the skill of being able to read moves you from one situation to another. It is fair to say you are not the same. You have changed. If I want to get prosaic, I can say you have transcended ignorance on certain levels. And if you were illiterate as an adult, you can certainly use the word liberation to describe the experience.

Now that you can read symbols you use this to access information, to communicate, to change,  to grow,  to travel both literally and metaphorically. In other words, what you read and how much you read, transforms you. It changes you. More than once.

Now that you are a consistent reader, some reading is easy, some boring, some delightful. Other types of reading are difficult to understand, They may be emotionally draining or painful to read. But you don’t stop reading do you? Or, invent a new way of reading so it is not so hard to read the science books or Finnegan’s Wake. You do your best to understand what you choose to read. We select what we read like most of our actions, we need something and as our skills and comprehension grow, we enjoy finding it! And you not for one nanosecond regret having learned how to read.


10 thoughts on “WOWL

  1. Well people have tried to invent new ways of reading actually, remember speed reading? that didn’t do much for comprehension. And then there are those awful Cliff Notes or the Reader’s Digest! I still can’t read Finnegan’s Wake and probably never will but no matter.


    • See? Just like yoga! Take out the mumbo jumbo and speed it up, or take out the hard parts and nobody gets sore. You know one thing that drives me crazy? When people say Ashtanga is fundamentalist and there is no room for modification but don’t ever mention an example of when/where/by whom it was forbidden. I don’t know how Guruji would have taught Heather Troud without modyfing. And in my experience, All senior teachers from Sharath in a gym full of hundreds, to Louise Ellis in a tiny shala have suggested modifications for me. I know that there are teachers who are in their own eyes “traditional” and I know because a person has had the sincerity and honesty to boldly mention a personal experience that supports that statement. What drives me crazy (again) is that a person can make an entire video mentioning how the practice is fundamentalist and strict, but not cite any examples of that experience, while giving that impression to the wide general public. WOWL! what a raaant! >

    • Check AJ’s FB thread. I saw a vimeo clip of a teacher from New Zealand interviewing J Brown. In a very abbreviated one sided nut shell, I will describe it as: “How I started by doing ashtanga but then I fixed it so now it does work.” >

      • oy. that thread made my head hurt more than James Joyce. and I didn’t watch the vimeo because, well, I don’t care what he (whoever he is) thinks. but just for the record, I also don’t think the sequences are magic either. They just seem to suit my otherwise disordered brain.

  2. Yep. It kind of leaves most of us behind. The sequences may not be magic. But some magic happens during the sequence once in a while between the moon cycles. That it suits some of us is to me in itself not ordinary at all.

    • the same magic happens when you practice a musical instrument everyday with an open mind, an open heart, and a sense of wonderment of WOWL

      it’s the daily repetitions not so much the asanas themselves methinks and the clever use of drishti, bandhas and breath to give Mr Monkey something to do

      speaking of which, did you see the video of the monkey resuscitating his monkey friend who had fallen on the train tracks? A-ma-zing.

      • All of it true. Of course I say the monkey, you know I live in here. Last night I saw a poor dog left alone (it seemed like it was the routine there) wearing a go pro camera and it captures his despair and dismay at being left behind. Broke my heart. I am not a pet person, and I am terrified of monkeys (a tiny sized couple of them dragged me down a hillside by my hair when I was 11) but animals are us too.

  3. Get ready for some monkeys, M. 😉 They cannot be avoided where we are going. And I didn’t watch the video but I agree with you. Ask anyone who practiced closely with him – it was generally always done in the traditional way but there were also modifications given to support the individual on a regular basis – but when needed, not just to make it less daunting. When needed. It makes perfect sense to me. Those senior teachers now also teach in the same traditional way – and I haven’t been in a room with any of them and not seen a modification doled out.

    • Gosh I know! My sister could not stop laughing when I told her I was going. I am beginning to think it is maybe not that there are narrow minded teachers but instead an overstock of competitive pissing contest loving students, who size each other up and snicker about who does real or fake ashtanga. The fake kind being people who need to modify from the get go or at some point in their lives. Some of those students maybe become teachers, so there’s that. >

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