I got very little sleep and was a bit anxious going into class. But it turns out there was no reason for it. Class was a very nice balance between being relaxed and intense, and as a result it was energizing throughout.
The high point in class was Camel. Not because I did it especially well, but because I got a great assist from Rohit, just like the one that Lenette gave me a while back, with the towel wrapped under the back and helping to pull up on the chest. It really opened things up in my chest.
Rohit said something today that's both interesting and funny: the job of a yoga teacher is to be a therapeutic irritant. Just a few days ago, Amy was telling me that I was going to love a new teacher because she had a great sense of humor, and was a real hardass at the same time. And thinking about it, it seems that it's the quality Rohit is talking about that I really like and admire in a teacher. First, that its always clear that they have the student's best interest at heart. And second, that they find ways to motivate you to push boundaries.
The day 186 meditation is about purity on the mat. Gates talks about this largely in terms of preparation -- diet, sleep, managing stress, etc... I've had some experience with impurity in this context. Today, going to class on very little sleep. Or going to the 4:30 class after having some nice sausage pizza. I can definitely see the point here.
But I also wonder about the whole idea of changing other parts of your life in order to perform better on the mat. To a certain extent, it seems like the tail wagging the dog. Not that I haven't been tempted. I've thought about losing some extra weight through dieting just so I could do better in the forward bends. Then I decided against it, because I somehow feel that the weight should come off naturally if it is going to come off, from a change of attitude and not from will power.
Of course, if the changes are going to be good for you anyways, then by all means make the changes. An obvious example is the water I now drink. It's clear that drinking this much water is just a good thing, but its also pretty much necessary to keep up with the practice. But Gates also talks about not reading a good book late at night because it would interfere with practice, and here I'm not sure I agree. Sometimes the book will simply be worth it, and practice can suffer for a day.
There's another, simpler, aspect of purity that Gates doesn't even mention. In Bikram, its the constant laundry. It's keeping the mat odor free with tee tree oil. It's getting the tissues ready beforehand when I know I'm going to need to blow my nose. And I'm sure I'm missing some other parts. I tend to think that the practice of stillness between poses, of limiting water intake, and the other parts of Bikram "discipline" also relate to purity, but that may just be me.