Thursday, February 5, 2009

26/36 Temperance

Wednesday - 8:15 pm with Miranda
Thursday Off

The fourth yama is temperance or moderation, and in observance, I took the day off.

Yesterday's class was interesting.  I really did not feel like going at all, felt a little bit sick, and was concerned that I might not be able to get through it.  And about 15 minutes in, I was getting even more concerned.  And then, all the troubles just melted away, and the rest of the class simply flew by.  I felt better and better as the class went on, and felt great by the end of it.  It was one of those days where the class gave me about a 180 degree change in attitude.

In yesterday's meditation, Gates talks about yoga as a kind of homecoming.  Basically, the idea that yoga reacquaints us with our youth -- with what used to feel right and can feel right again.  For Gates, the magic moment came in his first class, when he could feel something opening up in his back.  I get little moments like this all the time, from being able to touch my toes, to standing up from a chair without using my arms, to not waking up at night with heartburn. 

I've often said to people that, inside, I basically still feel like I'm in high school.  And step by step, yoga is making my body more and more like it was back then as well.  Without dieting, I'm back to wearing the same size jeans I wore then.  More important, there are times when I feel myself walking with the same sort of bounce in my step.

Today's meditation introduces the idea of temperance.  This is another yama that is tied in with the idea of non-attachment.  Basically, you could reframe this yama as non-obsession.  Whenever you become overly preoccupied with anything, it's a good idea to let go a little and put things back into perspective. 

I first felt this aspect crop up naturally in my attitude toward food.  For the first time in a long, long time (maybe forever), I could feel when I was full and actively wanted to stop eating.  So I was no longer continuing to eat just because there was more on my plate.  That's the main thing that led to losing 40+ pounds, and it's mostly a result of natural (not willful) temperance in action.  

The same basic principle can apply in all sorts of areas.  The intemperate person is never satisfied.  The goal is to get enough control of yourself in any area to be able to say "That's enough, I am satisfied."  

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