Thursday, June 18, 2009

115/167 - Doing Your Best

Tuesday 10:30 am with Jessica

Class was solid and workmanlike. I had no breakthroughs, and no earth shattering revelations. I was just happy to be there, and to have my stamina back. I'm trying to think back on high or low points, and coming up with nothing. Usually, that's a good sign.

I got one good correction. I let my shoulders bounce in the final breathing. I wasn't even aware of it, but its true. Jessica suggested I really concentrate on bracing my arms, to quiet the shoulders. I tried, and I think I sort of got the hang of it, but (naturally) it makes the posture much harder. I thought I had learned to isolate those diaphragm muscles, and now I see that there's still a long way to go here.

Gates describes what he does when he doesn't really feel like going to the mat in the day 166 meditation. The main point is that, even when you don't feel like it, you can still simply do it and give it your best. As long as you do your best, nothing much else matters. I fully agree with this, but I'm still gradually learning that my "best" shifts from day to day, and sometimes for no apparent reason. And the other thing I sometimes have a hard time with is the idea that my "best" is not necessarily trying my "hardest." It's trying as hard as I can in any given pose, without struggling. So maximum effort, no struggle. Or "focused and effortless." That's what I've been aiming for recently.


Bosco said...

It's so great to have a good, "solid and workmanlike" class, as you put it, with energy, focus, and commitment throughout, and little struggle in the mind. I had a class like that yesterday, where I felt I really stayed right with the practice throughout, and my mind didn't wander or act up. As a kind of bonus at the end, in the final stretch with both legs I got as close as I have ever gotten (by a noticeable margin) to actually getting the backs of both knees on the floor. It may actually happen someday. I have started working into my warmup some stretching for my left hamstring, which is very stubborn, and that seems to be helping.

I love the quote from General Patton: "If a man has done his best, what else is there?" It's a good question, and somehow very inspiring. I guess it applies on whatever battlefield our life takes us to.

Duffy Pratt said...

It's good to hear that there is progress with your hamstrings. They are stubborn things, aren't they?

It's a great quote, and Patton is not one of the sources you would expect to find in a book of inspirational, yoga quotes. That's one of the reasons I like Gates so much.