Monday, April 20, 2009

78/110 -- Imagination?

10:30 with Danielle

Another strong class.  The heat was perfect.  I'm back to no water (at least for today), and I stayed strong, focused and alert throughout.  For the second class i a row, I got a compliment in Rabbit.  That makes me think that something must have happened with that pose, but I don't really know what.  It's nice to know that I'm doing something right, even if I have no clue what the difference is.

I did notice one big difference today in some poses.  I've recently had some soreness in my shoulders and shoulderblades.  I wasn't sure what it was, and today it became clear to me that they are finally opening up some.  In Half Tortoise, I felt like I was reaching further forward than I'd ever thought possible.  Just reaching up over my head, the alignment of my shoulderblades feels different than it ever has.  Even just swinging my arms into position in Eagle felt different, almost startlingly so.

While class was rolling along smoothly, and I was having a great time, I still sometimes felt a bit rushed.  Danielle's pacing was a little faster than usual today.  I'm slower than most people as it is.  I tend to go into Fixed Firm at a near glacial pace.  Today, by the time I was ready to go back onto my elbows, we were told to start coming out of the pose.   

Now, I know I shouldn't let a little thing like this timing bother me.  But knowing it isn't always the same as doing it.  So, while having a great class and feeling really strong, I still find myself wanting the poses to be a bit longer so I could be more wiped out (and then complain about getting wiped out).  Go figure.  Even when I'm satisfied, there's no satisfying me.

After class, a woman introduced herself to me and asked me if I was "the one with the blog."  Needless to say, I was flattered.  I have no idea how many people in my studio read my blog, or are aware of its existence.  She said she's only done Bikram for a couple of weeks, and found the blog through a google search.  And like Navin Johnson, I can't help thinking:  " A google search!  Millions of people look at google everyday! This is the kind of spontaneous publicity - your blog on google - that makes people. I'm in google! Things are going to start happening to me now."

Today's meditation raises an interesting idea.  Gates says that imagination is one of the chief obstacles to peace.  In the past, he's discussed the perils of both fear and desire.  And since both fear and desire involve what might happen in the future, they both necessarily involve the imagination.  So, if you free yourself from your imagination, you will also free yourself from fear and desire.

Gates also makes the more challenging assertion that most people spend most of their daily lives living in their imaginations and not in the present.  People tend to be ruled too much by their fears and desires, instead of simply experiencing what happens.  And I suppose there's alot to be said for this.  

And yet, while its perfectly happy to admit that the entire point of imagination is to pull you out of the present, I still have some hesitate to say that that's all bad.  I think there's much to be said in praise of daydreaming, for example. That sort of imagination also pulls a person out of the present, but is detached from either fear or desire.  It's imagination for the pure pleasure of being able to imagine.  The same goes for all kinds of art.  (And then I wonder if I'm right about this.  When I'm reading a great book, and I'm totally sucked into it, I of course am using my imagination.  But sometimes, I get so aborbed into the book that I can get the same feeling of stepping out of time.  So is it possible to become fully present in a state of imagination?  I won't say for sure, but my guess is that that is exactly what happens to some artists.)


Bosco said...

Nice blog.

Bosco said...

I suspect that as Gates develops his concept of "imagination" that it will have a more limited meaning than the way we usually think of it - the imagining of bad things that might happen, the making up of stories about what people are thinking and other things that are going on in our lives that aren't really real, they are just imagined. The positive aspect of imagination - imagining beautiful things - probably not what he is talking about. Just a guess. We'll have to see as he gets further into it.

I am glad he is talking about the asanas now. I am looking forward to finding more about how "yoga is the solution." Day 110 is starting to get into how it works. His book is beautifully written.

This is also a very worthwhile blog. Thanks!

bikramyogachick said...

I think bosco is on to something. Imagining what other people are thinking or making up little stories about that in our heads could possibly work against us as we would be moving toward "making assumptions" and "taking things personally" (the four agreements). But getting into a daydreaming state and imagining beautiful things you want in your life is not a bad thing, it opens us up into a state of allowing. Sometimes when I surrender in class instead of fighting, I find myself in a state of allowing for that 90 mintues and come out of practice feeling happier than ever before even though no circumstances have changed in my life.
Love your blog Duffy. You always make me think!

hannahjustbreathe said...

You've been outted by a reader!
Strange (and kind of awesome...) when that happens, isn't it?

Duffy Pratt said...

Bosco: Nice to see you finally posting. (Bosco is my brother, for anyone who is interested.)

Maybe Gates does have a more limited idea of imagination in mimd. Or maybe the problem is not the imagination itself, but what we do with it. In class, we're constantly told that when bad feelings come up, we should take note of them, and then let them go. To me, this suggests that the bad ideas, by themselves, aren't such a bad thing. But allowing them to take root, or to take control, is.

That gets to what byc said about allowing, which I think is a very nice and understandable way of expressing what has been a pretty difficult idea for me. Somehow allowing seems like something I can do, while "surrender", at least for me, carries with it some negative connotations.

And hannahjustbreath, yes it was a little startling to be "outed" by a reader, especially one who was a stranger to me, and it was gratifying as well.

BikramIsHot said...

thx for your comment on "tweet&train". Do you know any Bikram teachers that are currently blogging?

Duffy Pratt said...

Unfortunately, I don't know of any teachers who also blog. Jenn announced a shift in her blog back in the beginning of March. She was concerned about violating student's privacy (which I think is a very fair concern), but said that she thought she could continue with a personal blog related to her teaching. It looks like maybe she couldn't, since she hasn't posted since.

None of the participants in last fall's teacher's training have continued with their blogs, as far as I know.