Monday, August 17, 2009


9:30 am with Sherry

The nice thing about having an injury is that the breakthroughs start coming fast and furious. It's another way that being injured is like being a beginner all over again. Today, I first got all the way down in the third part of Awkward. Two days ago, I thought that might take weeks or maybe even months. Then I grabbed my foot in both legs in Standing Head to Knee. And again in Floor Bow. Those were the big changes, and each of them was a minor cause for celebration.

I still skipped right side of Triangle and Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee. I need to ask whether skipping one side of a pose for a while is bad or not. I'm not sure, and I can think of reasons both why one should, and reasons why its a bad idea. But overall, it was a satisfying and encouraging class.

The day 223 meditation gets into some pretty deep water. First, Gates talks about asana practice as linking the physical world to the metaphysical, and the linkage comes through breath. I know this is true. Just doing the postures properly has a big spiritual impact. Part of the reason I started reading this book was to try to get a better understanding of why and how that process works.

Then, at times, we might begin to understand that the physical and metaphysical are one. This is a point where I think words start to become inadequate. As he recently said, there's no understanding presence other than being present. And I think that the feeling of true union is a biproduct of being present. So this sense may be especially difficult to talk about.

At the end of this meditation, Gates talks about being alive to the endless diversity of life, while still recognizing the unity of spirt that underlies it all. This sounds great, but I think he may be pushing it. But maybe not. Again I think of music, and basketball. In both, if you are with a group that is truly together, then all the parts are functioning as one. So the unity is there. And at the same time, each player is distinct. These moments, at least in my experience, are pretty rare and magical. Is this similar to what Gates is trying to say? If so, and if this is where the spiritual practice of yoga is heading, then I'm totally on board with the idea.

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