Sunday, June 21, 2009

118/171 - Adventures in Falling (and the Frog and Peach)

Saturday 9:30 am with Amy.

We set a record today, with 64 sweaty bodies in the hot room. We squeezed in four rows, and in the front, there was barely enough room to get the forearms over the forehead. That made for pretty silly sit-ups. But the energy in the room was great, for the most part. It was really humid, but not too hot. And there was noticeably less air in the room.

I fell. Twice. Both times for pretty much the same reason, and I'm not talking about falling out of a balancing pose. Instead, I'm talking about having both feet planted on the ground and still just losing it completely and landing on my ass. The first time was in Awkward Pose, third part. I was going down slowly, and a woman passed directly behind me, while bolting out of the class. On one level, I think I fell simply because my eyes were drawn to the motion and it pulled me out of balance. But I also think that the falling may have been a kind of physical reaction to my being so flabbergasted. I've seen people give up before: but in the first set of Awkward? Lenette was behind me, and I could hear her laughing at me as I recovered, and it was too funny.

The second time was slightly different. It was the first set of Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee. I was rolling myself down, which means the entire world is sort of spinning and tilting, and another woman is now coming back into the room, chugging on a fresh bottle of cold water she just got. Here, I think my eyes were simply drawn to the incredible rudeness of this, and I kind of flopped onto my side. No damage done. I still have a hard time believing that someone would leave the room for more water in the first place, then come back in and walk behind people who are getting into the pose all the while making audible "chug, chug, chug" sounds.

I guess I needed these two falls to complete the trifecta. I fell in Rohit's class earlier in the week but didn't mention it. That was in Standing Separate Leg Head to Floor. In the second set, I felt like my back was pretty straight, I was pulling pretty hard, and my legs were set up really well. So I decided to lean forward and see if I could get near touching. I leaned, and then leaned a little more, and then I lost it and my head went BANG on the floor. That wasn't much of a fall, but it was totally startling. I don't know if that contact was a breakthrough or not. I kind of think you have to be able to hold the pose for a second to think it counts. But Rohit gave it a big compliment, and said that you have to be willing to fall in that pose a few times before you will finally get it.

The day 170 meditation feels a bit to me like a recap. There's one idea that particularly struck me: that we don't learn from experience; we learn from the experiences we choose to learn from. This reminds me a bit of a classic Peter Cook / Dudley Moore comedy routine. Moore is a TV interviewer, and Cook is the owner of the recently failed fast food restaurant "The Frog and Peach". The "Frog and Peach" served two items: Frog a la Peche, and Peche a la Frog. The first is a broiled whole frog with a peach stuck in its mouth. And the second was a large peach which, when cut in half, has 300 black tadpoles swimming where the pit had been.

Anyway, on a whim, I looked it up on youtube and sure enough it's here And it's almost as funny as I remembered.

At the end of the skit, Moore asks whether Cook has learned anything, and Cook answers: "I've learned from my mistakes, and I'm sure I could repeat them exactly." I think that's both hilarious and all too true. That's the way most people go about their relationships with others. In learning music, every time you make a mistake and let it go, you train yourself to learn the mistake and not the music. I've done that. Moreover, I've done it again and again.

Yoga may be the antidote. Of course, even in Yoga, its pretty easy to fall into a mistaken pattern and to get the wrong thing ingrained in your system. But staying present, really listening to the dialogue, and observing what's actually going on with your body can help prevent that. And the awareness itself fosters an openness that allows you to try new, and better, things. And this can cross over to other areas of life as well. It's another reasons why advancement on the mat can lead to progress elsewhere in life. Instead of learning from mistakes so we can repeat them exactly, yoga can actually help us to understand the mistake and perhaps avoid it later.


thedancingj said...

Frog and Peach - amaaaaazing!! I loved that!!

Class - oh dude, I've seen people bail at PRANAYAMA before! This woman came and did one set of breathing, and was like "oh, sorry, this is NOT for me." It was too funny.

I was just taking to my friend about distractions before class this morning. People do funny, funny things in that room. My feeling is that the distractions are totally part of the practice, cause the yoga room is a microcosm of your life, and LIFE is FULL of distractions!!

Which is not to say that it's ok for people to be rude! It's just... well, THEY'RE not thinking of themselves as rude. They're thinking, "oh I need water or I'm gonna die", and then they're thinking "uh oh I guess I should go back in the room right away." They learn better over time. Hopefully! But since there will ALWAYS be oblivious beginners, I hold to my philosophy: "life is full of distractions." ;-)

Duffy Pratt said...

Yeah, I totally agree. I wasn't even really mad at these people. More like dumbfounded. Life is full of distractions, and sometimes we fall down.

All night tonight I've been thinking about little bits of Frog and Peach and laughing to myself. Peter Cook was so amazing. "I wrote a letter." Hah!

thedancingj said...

"Wonderful opportunity. SEIZE it!" "Where can they go to get a really big frog?" I am dyyyying... I can't believe I didn't know this existed...

bikramyogachick said...

Duffy~ LOVE this post. I have learned from my mistakes and could repeat them exactly. That is too funny and too true. Hopefully we will learn from them and not repeat them, but all too often we do, as sometimes they come back, disguised in a slightly different form. As for falling, I think it's good! You are pushing yourself to the edge and beyond. Progress for sure.