Sunday, January 25, 2009

18/24 --Pretense

Saturday 9:30 am with Amy

As Amy likes to put it, Saturday's was a "drippy" class.  That means the humidity was way up and the humidifier didn't come on a single time.  The heat was up pretty high too.  I came out of class seriously drained, but I didn't feel quite as beaten up as I had in the couple of classes before.

Six days in a row has exposed several areas of tenderness.  My knees are feeling a little weak.  My hips and butt are sore.  My back is tight between the shoulderblades.  And surprisingly, I'm feeling some tightness in my breastbone area.  The last is pretty encouraging.  It feels like something is about to give, and I suspect that might help me in backbends and in the opening breathing.

Class was crowded, with 45 students.  And only a handful were people doing the challenge.  The weekend attendance has been really good so far this year.  It's pretty clear that a bunch of people put yoga as one of their resolutions, and I hope its one that they can keep.

Gates talks about another side of honesty, or non-lying.  Not only does it involve not telling any lies, but at a deeper level it means stripping away pretenses -- daring to be uncool.  Of course, it doesn't mean being uncool just for the sake of being different, because that can be just as much of a pretense as any other.   As I see it, there are a couple of different types of pretense.  The easy variety is to identify is the posing that a person does to impress others.  There's a flip side to this, typical in adolescents, where a person puts on a pose to repel, or put off, others.  I think this type of pretense is pretty easy to spot, in others and usually in oneself, and not that hard to get rid of.   

The deeper pretense comes from a person developing a harmful self-image.  You start to think of yourself as this or that KIND of person, and then let this image of yourself drive your behavior.  This kind of pretense can lead to all sorts of problems, from eating disorders in insecure girls, to unbearable righteousness in the insecurely religious zealots.  

There's a yoga version of this that I've seen as well, but fortunately not at my Bikram studio.  I've encountered yogis who hit you over the head with their "spirituality".  What I mean is the person who seems wound up very tight in their own spiritual "path."  But at the same time,  you don't get any real sense of them connecting or relating with other people in a genuine way, and they don't even really seem to care.  As I said, this has definitely not been a feature of Bikram, which in many ways seems to be more down to earth. 

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