Sunday, September 20, 2009

179/262 - Farewell to Asanas

Saturday Off.

I fully intended to go to class, but life intruded. (I ended up waiting for the contractors to show up and remove a great deal of debris from our driveway.)

The day 254 meditation is the last in the chapter on asanas. With this, we have gotten an introduction to the yamas, the niyamas, and the asanas. These, I think, are probably the aspects of yoga that westerners (or at least this westerner) are most comfortable with.

In this meditation, Gates dismisses the idea that yoga is there simply to soothe. As he puts it, it is not a "time-tested alternative to Valium." I don't think anyone who practices Bikram would ever even begin to make that mistake. Bikram does promote relaxation, but not during class.

Instead, Gates insists that yoga aims for big things: namely, realizing our divinity and sharing it with all beings. It doesn't get much bigger than that. And allowing big things to happen is the main point of this meditation.

Next up will be Pranayama.


Bosco said...

I look forward to the Pranayama section. Mastering breathing (or I should say focussing on it) has made a huge difference for my practice. I used to find it very difficult to breathe in many of the poses - Full Locust being a prime example. I would just so often end up holding my breath when it was time to give that last little lift. Proper breathing allows me to take that and many of the other poses in stride. So much easier when you remember to breathte. Also, the Day 255 Meditation (sorry to jump ahead) recommends a pause after each inhalation and each exhalation. I have started doing (trying to remember to do) that and that also makes a big difference, especially for me in Standing Separate Head to Knee pose, where breathing control is difficult.

So on with the breathing! (Here I am, 55 years old, looking forward to greater insight in how to breathe. Why was this not taught in grade school? Should yoga be taught in the public schools?)

Duffy Pratt said...

Something like yoga should be taught in schools. Anyone who did a sport could benefit from learning how to breathe better. Do you remember doing jumping jacks? and alternate leg toe touches (left arm to right toe, then right arm to left toe with the legs spread)? The things that passed for good fundamental exercise are kind of mind blowing when you think back on them.