Wednesday, April 15, 2009

74/104 -- Love and asana

Tuesday 10:30 am with Lenette

Some days, the reason it feels so hot is because its just hot.  Class started at 111 degrees, and it just kept getting hotter and hotter.  I think the heating control may have been broken.  By Triangle, it was getting really bad and people were dropping all around me.  (I dropped soon afterwards for one set.)  Then, just before Tree, Lenette shut down the heaters for good.  I don't know how hot it actually got, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was 115 or even more.

Despite the heat, it was a pretty good class, and had one great bonus perk for me.  In Half Tortoise, Lenette came over and basically put all her weight on my back, pushing forward to lengthen my spine while flattening my back.  It felt amazingly good, even if it was a strong indication of how far I still have to go in the pose.  Afterwards, I thanked her, and she said that she would stay in Half Tortoise forever if she could just have someone lay down on her while doing it -- that's how good it feels.  And she's basically right, its so simple but amazingly satisfying.

Other than the heat, and that little episode, it was a fairly routine class.  My good poses were all good.  The troublesome ones remained a bit troublesome.  I may have gone deeper in the first forward bend than I have in a long time.  It felt much better, and my back felt longer than it usually does, which is a good sign.  I held Standing Bow better than I usually do, and did pretty well in Balancing Stick as well.  And Camel felt really good again today, with a very deep stretching feeling across the front of my chest.

Gates' meditation begins with a quote from Victor Hugo, "To love another person is to see the face of God."  This is a wonderful and profound sentiment, but part of me wants to say that it must also be wrong.  Loving another person is common.  I tend to think that even the worst people the world has ever known have probably loved someone.  So have we all seen the face of God, but somehow just not recognized it?

The meditation leads to one tip that I think totally worthwhile:  Gates suggests that we cultivate the same open attention to those we love as we bring to our asana practice.  It's fairly commonplace to say that marriage (and other relationships) take work.  But what does the work consist of?  Here, I think Gates is really onto something.   The attention we pay to ourselves in asana practice requires us to look deeply into ourselves, without judgment, and without taking anything about ourselves for granted.   Now simply imagine looking deeply into someone you love, without judgment, and without taking anything about the person or your relationship for granted.   It seems to me, in this light, all the petty disagreements, the little tensions that accrue through day to day life, would likely fall away into nothing.

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