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Yoga studios are often thought of as spaces for healing, for retrieving some life balance now lost. Last week, I began an intensive yoga course in my new home, San Francisco (a city with perhaps the same reputation as a yoga studio). I quickly learned that yoga itself isn’t about restoration. As a physical discipline and as a series of philosophical reflections on life, yoga tries to combat the illusion that what most people need is a return to a healthier moment. Instead it encourages a less nostalgic form of participation in the processes of aging/living/dying. Outside the yoga studio, however, the city has a different wisdom about it. One lesson it teaches is that worldly goods, if not constitutionally transient, are at least easily replaceable by the wealthy. I witnessed my first robbery here yesterday. Two dudes sitting in a cafe I was working in grabbed two iphones and ran out. After a short-lived attempt by one former iphone owner to give chase, he sat back down and calmly remarked, “It’s a company phone.”  The other barely looked up from her coffee.

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