Wednesday, July 15, 2009

143/196 - Hurrying Through the Rain

4:30 pm with Jean

Class was just fun. The temperature felt anywhere from perfect to just on the cold side. The room was reasonably crowded and the energy was good. No newbies today, but two of yesterday's came back for a second helping.

There were several times when I simply laughed out loud. The best time was when the teacher confirmed that my name was Duffy and then said "I once went out with a guy named Duffy, but it wasn't you." I said, "No, it wasn't. I think I would have remembered." And then she said, "You seem like a much nicer guy than he was." Interchanges like that simply don't happen in Bikram class, and I cracked up. And, on top of that, it made my practice easier and more enjoyable, and I think better in the process.

Coming out of Fixed Firm, I made eye contact with the teacher, and then in Savasana she said that it's always nice to see a smile from the students in class. I know she was talking about me, but I didn't realize that I was smiling until she said it. Rohit puts a big emphasis on smiling in class, and I've been trying it more and more. So it was really nice to know that its coming naturally at some points.

The poses were mostly good. I skipped nothing. And no pose stands out as being either exceptionally good or bad. The best I can say is that I was alert, energized, and happy all through class. There wasn't hardly a moment of suffering or self-pity (well maybe for a moment in Awkward). Overall, I would say that its one of the easiest practices I've had in a while. And easy while still giving solid effort.

Oh, and I learned a new word: "Squeeziness" In half moon, Jean said she was going to come around a check the squeeziness in our butts. So I was trying to think of what the right word would be here, but couldn't come up with a better. Then, as she was touring the room, she noted that everyone started really clenching their butt cheeks together just as she was passing by.

The day 195 meditation begins with this quote: "When my master and I were walking in the rain, he would say, 'Do not walk so fast, the rain is everywhere.'" I love this quote, because I never run through the rain. Part of that comes from having lived for seven years in New Haven. But it comes more from an observation I made a while ago. If you are going a fairly short distance, you will get just about as wet whether you walk or run. The reason is because when you run, you are running through the rain. Your body passes through about the same number of drops whether you walk or run. Next time you go through the rain, notice the difference between how wet your front and back get. Your front will get much, much wetter than your back at first. By being in the rain longer, you will get slightly wetter from above, because there will be a slight difference in the number of drops that actually fall on you. But I think that you get wetter running from the amount of water you tend to kick up onto your pants, and that more than makes up for the difference. That's one longwinded explanation for what the master means when he says the rain is everywhere.

Gates applies the quote to not being in a hurry with asana practice. Since some yoga helps, many people think that more yoga will help even more. But Gates says not to hurry. The pain we are trying to escape is everywhere, and the grace we are trying to find is also everywhere. I agree with him about not hurrying. Hurrying implies that there's some destination to be reached. People hurry to get somewhere, and with the yoga hurrying, its to get so some particular benefit or result.

With that understanding, I think I agree with Gates. Its a good idea not to hurry, simply because its a good idea not to be so driven by goals. But that doesn't mean that doing more yoga is necessarily a bad idea. I definitely don't feel that way about the challenge I'm doing (except for the 15 minutes or so before I get to the studio, some days). When I was doing 5 days a week, I thought that was the sweet spot. This challenge reminds me that the sweet spot may just be to do as many classes as I can readily do. Every day doesn't seem like too much. And even though I'm thinking of continuing with an every day practice, its not because I'm in any hurry at all. Quite the contrary, I'm just trying to establish a norm.


hannahjustbreathe said...


Taken a little more literally, I see people hurrying within a yoga class all the time. Throwing themselves into poses too quickly and then yanking themselves back out just as fast. Chugging water. Jumping up out of savasana after only 1 minute. Personally, I can't stand this kind of sloppiness---it's a yoga pet peeve of mine. And I wonder if it is, in a little way, part of the hurrying that Gates is talking abouty.

After all, even if you shoot up out of a pose, the yoga is still there---I mean, in 20 seconds, you'll be moving into the next asana. You'll probably still be feeling that pain a little bit. You'll still be sweating just as much. "The rain is everywhere" indeed.

thedancingj said...

Love it. There is no rush! The yoga isn't going anywhere. The postures arent' going anywhere. Your body isn't going anywhere. It's not a race to a destination - some checkpoint, some advanced posture, some perfect "full expression" that doesn't exist. So walk, don't run. Do your yoga. Fabulous advice.

Duffy Pratt said...

I hadn't thought about rushing during class. I'm told, more often than I'd care to admit, "No crash landings!" Am I in a rush to get out of Locust or Full Locust. I say that I just relax very quickly. But I understand the point.

And I've also noticed that rushing is one of the main causes of people not following the dialogue. People get called out fairly often for moving ahead of the dialogue, but almost never for being behind.

The other thing that's really odd about yoga is that, even if there were a destination or checkpoint, almost everyone would get there faster by not rushing.