In the morning I decided to go to the afternoon class. As I was getting ready to go, a client called with an "emergency." (Clients always seem to have emergencies, no matter what's actually happening.) So, I missed class. And on a bad day, since the Woody Allen quote that is the title of today's post is one of my favorites, but today I didn't show up.
The day 141 meditation is about klutzes. I wonder if Gates subconsciously picked a Woody Allen quote for that reason. (A lot of the humor in the "earlier, funnier" movies comes from playing on the idea of Woody as a klutz.) Gates discusses his wife, who thought of herself as a klutz for many years. She was not comfortable with anything athletic, but came to like yoga, and over time realized that her co-ordination had spontaneously improved.
I wasn't really a klutz, but I wasn't much of an athlete either. Basketball was my game, and as the saying goes, I wasn't that big, but I was slow and I couldn't jump. The slowness has been something of an obstacle for me. When I was a film editor, it was tough simply to keep up with the physical speed that was demanded, especially when putting reels back together or cutting dailies. This involved cutting. splicing and taping literally hundreds or thousands of pieces of film and soundtrack together, each one a manual operation requiring some hand dexterity -- and I was slow at it. But ultimately that wasn't that much of a big deal.
Where the slowness really hurt was playing music. I just never had the hand speed that's required to be a technically great musician, and I've always regretted it some.
Now for the big surprise for me: Yoga has helped. We don't do anything specifically for our hands. But I've discovered over the past year that, even without practicing much, my speed and coordination on both the guitar and piano have noticeably improved. And improved more, by doing yoga, than they did over any similar period playing scales and exercises. This was a benefit that I had not anticipated at all.
Thinking on it some, I'm not really that surprised. Efficiency playing an instrument stems largely from three things -- good posture, relaxation, and the ability to concentrate and focus. And guess what? Yoga has huge payoffs in all three areas.
Woody says "Eighty percent of success is showing up." Gates picks up on the big point here, which is that most things can be learned, and people will eventually learn them if they apply themselves. That's definitely true with things like balance, co-ordination, discipline and other things that we sometimes falsely tend to believe are natural attributes. And as I've recently learned, it is also true, at least to an extent, with something as basic as speed while playing piano or guitar.