Thursday, July 23, 2009

149/204 - Bellyhang

4:30 pm with Sherry

To begin with, the room was set on braise. Somewhere towards the end of standing series, it went down to a simmer. By the end, I was done, but not overcooked. Overall, it was a good class.

I tried harder to concentrate in balancing series, with some success. I made it through one of the Standing Head to Knee parts without falling out. And Standing Bow was pretty good, but by that time the heat was beginning to get to me.

Amy's tip in Cobra is simply amazing. By trying to extend forward first as your are lifting up, it really isolates the lower back. I was reaching new muscles, or new parts of muscles in the pose today. And I came out nearly cramping. Then I did something similar in Full Locust, and came close to cramping in my mid-back. And now I really am feeling it.

And I also got some new feeling in Camel. Usually, I can feel compression in my lower back, and I also feel it in my shoulders and neck. Today, for whatever reason, I could also really feel stuff in the middle of my back. I'm not even sure if I'm supposed to feel anything there in this pose, but it felt good. I don't really know if this was just a strange feeling, or whether its a sign of progress.

The day 203 meditation begins with the quote from Confucius that before you fix the world, you have to fix the nation; before the nation, the village, and so forth until it comes down to fixing yourself first. This is a recurring theme, and on this blog it goes all the way back to my post about changing the world one camel at a time.

Gates talks about how, through yoga practice, he has stripped away layer after layer of accepted ideas -- ideas which caused him to suffer. He doesn't here mention any specific ideas that he stripped away. Some of them we are familiar with from earlier posts -- his youthful competitiveness is a big one, for example.

I've noticed some of this happening in asana practice. Here's one simple example: The top of my shorts would roll down a bit after several poses, including every forward bend. After those poses, I would always roll them back up over my bellyhang. I probably told myself that it was a matter of comfort. But what I was really uncomfortable with was the idea of the bellyhang. And the shorts rolling down some just exacerbated this body image problem I was having. Somewhere along the way, I dropped this adjustment. I think the same thing happens with my shorts, but I'm not even positive of that. I just don't care that much about it anymore. The bellyhang hasn't completely disappeared. But my fetish over trying to hide it -- my irrational discomfort with it -- that part has simply gone away with the practice. And that's just a very small example of the sort of bad ideas that seem to fall away with asana practice.

1 comment:

thedancingj said...

Yes yes yes. One of my favorite comments that I've heard from a (non-Bikram!) yoga teacher was that EVERY thought we've had about our bodies is wrong. Not just SOME of our opinions, but ALL of them. They are all incorrect. We misunderstand our world.

And that is definitely good progress in camel!! Total spine backward bending. The middle spine is just the hardest part to get into. That's what I have been doing on purpose lately. :)