Wednesday, January 7, 2009

5/7 Changing the World One Camel at a Time - Redux

8:15 with Amy

Great class tonight.  I felt really with it all the way through, and pushed harder than usual through standing series -- so hard that I had to sit out one set of Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee.  Everything just felt right today.  The class was smallish, with 10 people, but everyone had really strong practices and the energy was very high.  

Amy's exuberance and enthusiasm was also refreshing.  It's been a while since I've had her class.  She has a natural effervescence that is infectious.  So even though her classes tend to be on the hard side, they usually wind up being very satisfying.

Several months back I made a post called Changing the World One Camel at a Time.  It was in response to some things that Lenette said.  Basically how each posture brings with it the opportunity to improve your attitude about the world, and how the world of the happy man is different from the world of an unhappy man.  So, by doing your yoga, you basically get the power to change your world, from the inside out.

Today's passage reminds me of that.  There are three basic points here:  First, heal yourself before you start to heal others.  That happiness and joy are naturally contagious:  happy people tend to make others happy as well, and vice versa.  And finally, that yoga is the means by which you can heal yourself.  Every step on any of the eight limbs of yoga will naturally increase your own happiness and peace of mind, which in turn will spread to others.

The philosophy major/critic wants to pull apart these ideas, largely because there are so many ways that a person can fool himself about the direction he's moving in.  So how would you know that you are going the right way.  The great thing about yoga is that it's almost purely practical.  You just do it, and things get better.  There's no need to be hyper-critical, because the test is whether its working.  

The last nine months have given me ample proof that, at least so far, it works.  I'm happier than I've been in a long time.  I am much less prone to argue just for the sake of arguing.  I am more likely to be helpful with friends or strangers.  And there is absolutely no arguing with how much better I feel because of the physical benefits.  And I still feel like I've just touched the tip of a very deep iceberg.   So I see no point in being critical about this passage.  It's so much easier to tell someone just to try it and see.  If they don't see, that's too bad for them.  But there really is no need to convince anyone about this with argument.   The practice proves itself, especially after a class like tonight's, where everything seems absolutely right.

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