Sunday, May 3, 2009

86/122 -Forgetting Yourself

Saturday 9:30 am with Danielle

I only had about 4 hours sleep, and after Friday's murderous class, I was a bit apprehensive going in.  Of course, there was no need.  I was fully awake and rejuvenated by Awkward Pose.  And from there, class went smoothly.  I felt great throughout and even better afterwards.  The contrast from Friday maybe could not have been greater. 

It's tempting to pin the difference on the heat, but I don't think that's it.   In this class, I went in with basically no expectations.  If I started out feeling wiped out, that would have been fine, after so little sleep.  And with no high expectations, I simply relaxed into the practice.

The high point in the postures, I think, was Locust.  I went up into the third section very smoothly, and I experienced it as a real backbend.  Normally, I think of it as an exercise in strength.  And in this class I could feel the flexibility part of the pose kicking in.  It also felt like I was up pretty high (though of course I don't know how high).  Any time I get all the way through this pose without any panic, its a minor victory.  Today I was a few steps beyond that point, and I could even say that the pose felt good.

The other new thing in todays class came in Standing Bow.  As I was kicking up my right leg, my right shoulder made an audible POP.  It was big enough that it nearly threw me out of the pose.  It's a sign that something is happening, and that's almost always good.

The day 120 meditation is about forgetting yourself.  This is the yoga cure for pride and ego.  Through the process of coming to the mat, focusing on the asanas and on breathing, we gradually learn to be present, to find the still point, and in that process our bad habits drop away, and we gradually drop the false definitions of self that we have for years built up.

Bikram puts this differently, but I think the point is the same.  At the beginning of class, we are often told:  "Kill yourself."    Lenette says that Bikram has explained this as meaning by throwing everything you have into the practice, you can kill the self which is the ego.  This helps cure the "loose screws" that we all carry around in our heads.   How do we accomplish this feat:  by surrendering to the dialogue.  As some of my teachers have said when people stop following their lead:  "My brain, your body."  

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