My back was better today, but still a little stiff. My schedule didn't quite work out for getting to the late class today, and I decided that giving my back a day off was not a bad idea.
Today's meditation is on the effect of "tapas" or zeal in practice. The principal effect is to burn away impurities, both physical and spiritual. I can verify the physical purification. I'm off my medications: blood pressure and triglycerides. My total cholesterol was just under 180, and my good cholesterol was close to 50, last I checked. I have basically conquered a decade long bout of heartburn which had been impervious to medicine. I lost somewhere around 40 pounds without dieting. My skin is better than its been in years. My digestive system works better than it has in maybe 25 years. I didn't start yoga looking for any of the benefits above. And I definitely believe that I can attribute all of them to my infatuation with, and devotion to, this yoga over the last year.
It's a bit harder to catalog any types of spiritual purification I've undergone, at least it's hard to do that without sounding pompous, self-important, or otherwise blowing my own horn. I'd like to think that I've made some progress here. I can't say that I've stripped away all layers of falseness, etc... and seen the world as a little child, as Gates describes (and as described in the beautiful quote from Hesse's Siddhartha). On these fronts, I'm sure I still have a long way to go (indeed, I've got a long way to go on the physical side as well, if I think about something like locking the kicking leg vertically in Standing Bow....), but I can also say that after a year, the yoga feels fresher even than it did at the start, and I am looking forward to wherever it takes me over the next year, or ten, or whatever. And, thinking about zeal in practice, I think that that enthusiasm must count for something.