Friday, June 12, 2009

111/162 - Giving Up the Fight

Thursday off.

In the day 161 meditation Gates talks about working through the problem he had with curvature in his back.  At first, and for a long time, he came to the mat determined to improve this problem  He fought with it, and lost.  That renewed his determination, boosted the level of his fighting, which led to bigger defeats.  

I can really identify with this part of what Gates is talking about.  For me, its more things like my utter inflexibility going forward in Standing Separate Leg Head to Floor.  Or the rigidity in my shoulders.  Or take any of the "impossibilities" I run into throughout the series.  Partially because it seems the obvious way, and partially because of the exhortations in the dialogue to "push, PUSH", I tend to fight with my limitations, and lose.

The next part of what Gates says is fascinating.  Over time, he began to respect his back.  And gradually, he made friends with it.  This happened by shifting his focus away from his limitations, and turning it toward what it could do.  During this process, the need to change his back disappeared.  Now, the curvature in his spine has disappeared, and he doesn't remember when it happened, because when it did, he no longer cared.

I'm somewhere in the beginnings of this process in asana practice.  But this story pretty much mirrors what happened with my weight.  After several yo-yo rounds of dieting, losing up to 60 pounds in a fairly short period and then putting it back on in a coupe of years, I came to yoga determined not to diet anymore.  Yoga put me more in touch with my body, and my appetite, and I started naturally to some better foods, and less of it.  In the last 15 months I've lost a bunch of weight, without dieting at all.  I don't know how much any more, and I don't care either.  I haven't weighed myself since August.  

Now I just need to take the same approach to my hamstring flexibility....


bikramyogachick said...

hmmm. I can think of two applications for this. Weight (I have the same struggle as you Duffy) and perhaps I could apply it to being single. To stop fighting it and hating it so much. To stop grieving failed relationships or looking for anything new. Perhaps to just embrace what I can do and maybe eventually I will get to a place where I have let go and think "when did that happen".
Thank you for your post...insightful as always!

Duffy Pratt said...

I hadn't thought about it like that, but I can see how it might work. Another area where I've seen it work again and again is with couples who have fertility problems. I had a friend who was the fifth of seven children. His two eldest siblings were both adopted, because his folks had given up on having their own kids. And then...