Thursday, September 10, 2009

170/250 - Flexible Mind

Monday 10:30 am with Sherry.

Class was surprisingly full for a holiday, with about 38 people. I got a spot in the front right next to Lenette. It's always nice to practice next to a teacher. It brings a little extra energy for me. I know it probably shouldn't make a difference, but there it is.

Again, I was a bit concerned going into class because my knee wasn't feeling that great. And once again, the yoga defied my expectation and turned things around. After class my knee felt much, much better. And it has since. As for the class itself, it was pretty solid. I skipped one set of Triangle, and one of Standing Seperate Leg Head to Knee, both because I didn't want to push the knee too hard.

The day 245 meditation talks about how the asana develops flexibility in the body, but also by showing us that we can push our limitations, develops flexibility of the mind in the process. This is a great point, and I think Gates makes it well. Thinking about it, there are more parallels between the physical attributes we develop and the attibutes of mind or character that come along with it.

Take balance. It's hard to even separate physical and mental balance. If your mind is flopping all over the place, it's unlikely that you will be able to stay on one foot. And the opposite is probably true too: falling out of the pose again and again tends to lead to frustration and can easily put the mind out of balance. So, when we are cultivating balance in class, we are getting at both the mind and body at the same time.

And the same thing goes for strength. Think of Awkward pose, second part. Of course, this is working on inner thigh and quad strength. But the way to develop this strength is by also exercising focus and determination. Thus, yoga is developing physical and inner strength all at once.

Flexibility, strength, balance, stillness. A mental and spiritual aspect gets fostered for pretty much every physical virtue we try to cultivate. Of course, if we keep in mind that yoga is union, then this all makes perfect sense. But when you break it down this way, its a pretty amazing thing to behold.


thedancingj said...

DUDE! This is unrelated to this specific entry, BUT! I was just up in San Luis Obispo - took class, roamed around, did some work - and they have an actual pub there called THE FROG AND PEACH!! I was totally delighted and would have gone in for a drink if I wasn't about to drive home. But I thought that was AWESOME and I had to tell you about it. :-D

Duffy Pratt said...

That's great. Too bad you didn't go in. I would have loved to hear whether they had either Frog a la Peche, or Peche a la Frog on the menu. How was the parking?

Bosco said...

I loved Lao-Tzu's quote in this meditation:

"Whoever is stiff and inflexible is a disciple of death. Whoever is soft and yielding is a disciple of life."

This really captures the point of your post: it applies to the body, mind, and spirit.

thedancingj said...

I'll have to go back sometime. The parking was a little tougher than parking in a marsh, but it was also easier to get out. I wanna chat up the bartenders and see how many of them actually know the reference...

camilyn said...


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Mano said...


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