Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Monday 10:30 am with Danielle
Tuesday 8:15 pm with Amy

Yesterday's class was really good.  I felt strong throughout.  I pushed to my limit by Triangle, and then managed to stay with it through the end of standing series.  I felt like I hit a new high in Locust, but I can't say for sure because I can't see myself.  But for the first time in a while, I felt like I had some real control over myself throughout that pose.

Today's class was a bit different.  I had a big lunch of Chinese food, including Peking Duck, a wonderful spicy fried eggplant stuffed with shrimp, and sauteed soft shell crabs.  It was a great lunch, but Chinese food doesn't always vanish after 20 minutes like they say.  So tonight, I could feel tightness from the start because of the food, and sure enough, I had trouble keeping it down in Locust and actually had to bail out of part of the pose.

Other parts of tonight's class were really great.  I locked my knee out in Separate Leg Head to Knee, on the right  side.  I haven't done that in a while.  And I felt much looser on both sides.  I went deeper in Camel than I have in a while.  And I got all the way down briefly in Fixed Firm.  I also really pushed myself at the start of class, and lost my breath and went down in the second set of Triangle.  So overall, tonight's class was a mixed bag.  It was really challenging, but I also had the feeling at times that I am making some real progress.

I don't have much to say about yesterday's meditation.  Of course, all glory is fleeting in one sense, so I take his point about the winners at the Oscars, and perhaps about the Bulls, who I didn't really care about anyway.  But then I think about my 1969 Knicks, with Frazier, Barnett, Reed, Debusscher (sp?), Bradly, Cazzie Russell, etc...  That team was magical, and there are several moments from that season that I will live in my memory forever.  Of course, I was only 10 at the time, and basketball was probably more important to me than food.  But there is a certain kind of glory and artistry that lives on long after the moment of the championship, especially in the eternal mind of a child.  So, Bill Bradley coming around a screen deep in the corner and getting fed with a pass and effortlessly making a shot while fading out of bounds.  Or Walt Frazier making the extra pass on a break for an even easier lay-up.  Or Dick Barnett making that crazy kick with his legs and calling out "Fall back, baby" while the shot is still in the air.  Or Willis hobbling out on the court in game seven, and then nailing his first two shots and totally inflating the atmosphere of every person in the Garden.  These are some of the many moments of glory that I think Gates may too easily dismiss.  

Having given all of that praise, I will also say that in one sense I completely agree with Gates.  The Knick's team was unique, partially because I was just a kid, but more because they played the game absolutely right, and together as a team.  More than any team I have ever seen, in any sport, that team for that one season showed the complete power of unselfishness.  And in that unselfishness, they also showed the pure joy that can be had from a group of people playing mostly (or at least seemingly) for the love of the game.

In today's meditation, Gates mentions a military saying that its always 3am, its always raining, etc...  To me, this brings to mind the hot room.  Bikram calls it the torture chamber.  As Lenette has said several times, a big part of yoga is getting comfortable with the uncomfortable.  The hot room is just another thing there trying to mess with our minds.  If we can deal with the discomfort of the poses, the sweat, the humidity, the lack of air, the barking instructor -- if through all that we can focus and meditate, then everything else in our lives should be that much easier to deal with.  Thus the Bikram studio I think approaches the same idea in a somewhat different way. 

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