Wednesday, July 1, 2009

128/181 -

Tuesday 4:30 with Sherry

It was so bad that after class Sherry asked me if I was alright. I don't think I was whining or moaning, but who knows? It's possible. Actually, it probably didn't knock me out as badly as Saturday's class did. And I held myself together fairly well for most of the standing series -- only skipping Triangle. And I managed staying with the standing series without struggling.

But once we hit the floor, I just felt like staying on my back. I missed a set of Locust, and then Bow, and then Camel. I'm not sure what it was. The temperature and pressure outside dropped radically during class, as a storm rolled through. Ordinarily, I love it when it rains during class. But I think something about the pressure drop may have hit me the wrong way. At least, that's the only explanation I can come up with. (Aside from the obvious explanation that I've done 12 classes in a row for the first time in a while, and there are bound to be some tough ones.)

The day 180 meditation starts with another quote from one of Gates' students. What struck me is how different her introduction to yoga was from mine, but how over time it sounds like we are on pretty similar tracks. She knew nothing about yoga when she started, and found herself gradually sucked into it. I had done some gym yoga before, and knew from the first class that Bikram was for me, signing up for an unlimited year after the second class.

And it was a physical thing for her at first. For me, I think the thing that was different to me about Bikram, and appealed to me so much, was the obvious focus and discipline that was brought to the practice. From the very start, I was taken aback somewhat by people who referred to a Bikram class as a "workout."

She then describes in detail how yoga has changed her approach to honesty. And on this point, I am entirely with her. Her tendency was to sugar-coat situations. I shared some of that -- I tended more to simply push aside parts of the truth I didn't want to deal with, but it amounted to the same thing. Now, I'm much more likely to at least acknowledge harder truths, to ask myself what I'm really afraid of when I'm feeling anxious, and so forth. And I think I owe this to the yoga practice.

Gates then gives a great summary of how the yamas and niyamas seem to grow out of the practice itself. Just by focusing on the poses, we need to learn moderation, balance, honesty, self-study, contentment and zeal in practice. It's like the poses themselves are a laboratory designed to instill these qualities in people who are open to the process. And that's exactly how Gates sums up the transformation that can occur: "to the extent that we are willing to give of ourselves to this process, we receive the benefits of it."


Bosco said...


Vintage 60's wisdom:

"When you're hot, you're hot.
When you're not, you're not."

(This would seem to have special meaning for those doing Bikram yoga.}

As my good friend Ira Rubinfeld once said: "Babe Ruth didn't hit it out of the park every time he came to the plate. There were lots of strike-outs." I wonder how hard he was on himself when he had a string of stike-outs. Did he practice the yamas and niyamas?

Duffy, you were on such a roll there for awhile. I am glad to see you are still human! Obviously this practice goes in waves, or cycles, or phases, or whatever. I feel like my practice would take a quantum leap if I could just breathe deeper - but maybe my lungs are already doing all the can do, and I just need to accept that? And work on my mind a little more?

Well, Conan just had Bonnie Raitt and Taj Majal playing together with a real nice blues band. Music that I could sink my teeth into. Where have all the flowers gone?

Later -


Duffy Pratt said...

Jerry Reed was about the last thing I was thinking of. Why were all the popular country songs back then just little novelty tunes?

Instead of focusing on breathing deeper, which sounds like doing more work, why not focus on breathing calmer and more relaxed. I think if you do that, the deepness will probably come on its own.

Good news though, after we get through the asanas in these meditations, pranayama is next, and if I recall, Gates has lots of practical advice on breathing.

Bosco said...

I can't believe I am actually getting excited about learning how to breathe? Shouldn't I be pretty good at that already? for crying out loud, I've been doing it nonstop for 55 years!

Seriously, thanks for the advice on this. I will try calmer and more relaxed.