Saturday, January 17, 2009

12/17 - Love in Action

9:30 am with Connease

No breakthroughs, but a good class anyways.  I mention no breakthroughs because I predicted one might be coming based on yesterdays soreness. I've still got the soreness though, so there's still hope.

Class started cold and humid, which never bodes well.  I bailed on one standing posture (Separate Leg Head to Knee, second set), and on one third part of Locust.  It was also fairly crowded, with 39 people.  

A crowded class always makes me happy.  It means Amy is doing well, which is good for everyone, because that means the studio will stay open.  I often wonder about the economics of the studio.  About a week ago, Amy said that she needs an average of eight people to keep a class.  Recently I haven't been in a class smaller than 15, and thats really good.

Gates postpones getting to the yamas and niyamas for at least one more day, while he makes another small, general observation.  The quote that precedes today's passage is  1 John 3:18:  "Let us not love in word or thought, but in deed and truth."  Gates says that the purely practical aspects of yoga -- yamas, niyamas, asanas, and pranayama -- are nothing more than love in action.  This is a pretty amazing idea.  Again, there might be good reason to be sceptical of this idea.  But, as I said before, its a purely practical thing -- either it will work or it won't.  This is just the sort of thing where I think Pascal's Wager actually does apply:  if you try it and it works, you gain so much.  If you try it and it doesn't work, you lose hardly anything at all.  And without trying, you certainly gain nothing.

On top of this, there are two other amazing ideas today.  The first is that yoga shuns failure: as long as you are honestly trying, you are on a path toward redemption, of mind, body, and spirit.  This doesn't mean that everything is OK, just that when you do stumble, its perfectly to get up and try to keep moving in the right direction.  This fits very well with the early emphasis on the pointlessness of punishing ourselves.

The other idea that is amazing is that the practice of yoga generates positive energy, and that this positive energy makes it possible to generate even more.  I've certainly found that just going to class gives me more energy in general.  It also tends to make me more efficient, and to want to be more helpful and productive.  And from what he says, it appears that I'm just scratching the surface.

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