Friday, May 1, 2009


Wednesday 8:15 with Amy
Thursday Off

The night classes almost always feel great.  Then I come back and have so much energy that I can't sleep for hours, and it takes its toll on the next day.  If only I could figure out some way of either importing that energy to a morning class, or else learn to shut down after the night class and get a real night's sleep.

Class was really strong again.  My stamina was up.  Balancing was good.  My strong poses (Awkward, Triangle, Rabbit) were very strong.  And my not so strong poses were still pretty good.  The one hesitation is that there's still some tenderness in my knees.  I held off of Toe Stand as a result, and Fixed Firm has taken a slight step backward.  There's no reason for alarm yet:  it's just something to monitor.

The day 118 meditation gives a better illustration for me of the dilemma I've talked about:  how to know what to do when you mind is at war with itself.  The example I've used is the one that recurs again and again on the mat:  whether or not to sit out a bit toward the end of standing series.  The first observation is pretty simple:  "we are not our thoughts."    I can think of the two sides of my internal argument as being carried on by two different players.  This brings to mind the cliche cartoon image of the angel and devil version of the self sitting on each shoulder, advocating their position.  Gates says that there's also a quiet "third player" that watches the warring thoughts.  As we cultivate stillness through the asanas and through other aspects of yoga, we also allow this "quiet self" to grow and to spread a kind of quiet influence over our other, warring aspects.

I don't think I'm in a position to agree or disagree with this lovely description.  It doesn't solve the dilemma I raised.  Rather, it shows how, with time and experience, the dilemma might simply vanish.


martind35 said...

Hi Duff -

"how to know what to do when you mind is at war with itself."

The teachings of Eckhart Tolle address this. He would say, I think, what you do is bring yourself into the present moment. He advocates 'watching the thinker'. The 'third player' Gates mentions Tolle calls 'the watcher' - the alive presence that is above thought.

I hope you have a chance to get into Tolle as it helps the yoga massively. Tolle teaches that we are not our minds - so when the mind is at war with itself in class you can recognize that the war is just the false self - the mind, the ego - bickering and begging for attention. Then you accept it and let it go. You do that by bringing yourself into the present moment.

Acceptance of what is is a big thing for him. The other day I was lying on the floor in between postures and I had sweat dripping down my nose - Good Lord it tickled!! I wantd to wipe - I had to wipe!! But I have been trying to be totally still between postures. Then I remembered about acceptance and I just accepted the situation, the sweat, the tickle. Accepted it and stayed in the moment and the tickle went away - was defeated.

When Bikram says 'Kill yourself' he may mean kill your mind, your false self, your ego by concentrating so fully in the present moment on the postures and the stillness in between that it dies and the real 'you', the deeper, eternal you arises.

I may not be explaining it well. If you are interested I have a number of his mind blowing - if you will :) - books on tape that I would be glad to post online for you to hear.

Thanks for blog!

Bosco said...


Great comment. I would like to read some of Tolle's stuff. I loved your description of escaping from the battle in the mind to find the eternal you that quietly observes from a point beyond the fray. Thanks.

Duffy Pratt said...

Thanks for the reply. I have not read anything by Eckhart Tolle, and I'm not sure I want to download anything, but maybe you could recommend a book that you think is especially worth it?

martind35 said...

Thanks Bosco and Duffy - I would try to pick up 'Power of Now' or a 'New Earth'. Probably could get it cheap online or at 1/2 Price Books. Also - a YouTube search could expose you to him but the books lay it out in an easier, more linear way.

Remember - you are not your mind ... and consciousness does not require thought .. and most important of all .. LOCK THE DAMN KNEE!!! :)