Sunday, October 18, 2009

194/290 - Easy yoke, light burden

Friday off.
Saturday 9:30 am with Amy.

I'm in an every other day habit these days, and its serving me fairly well. Still, I can't help but feel a bit like a slacker. I've slipped on the frequency mostly because of my knee. But being perfectly honest, I have to say that there are days where I could go to class, but I just don't for whatever reason. I think I will probably try to do every day between Thanksgiving and Christmas break. And I'm sure Amy will have some beginning of the year challenge to jump start the New Year. But for now, I'm pretty content with the every other day routine I've fallen into.

One thing that I've noticed, however: no matter what routine I fall into, it seems to be something that seems to fit. I've gone every day, five days a week, now every other day. They all seem good. And the only time any routine seems like a burden is actually during a challenge.

Class was good. There was lots of strong energy in class today. I worked really hard at the start of standing series, and knocked myself out of a set of Triangle and Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee as a result. But what I did, I did well. I got a nice compliment for coming down really slowly in the third part of Awkward pose. It turns out that the extra care I use going down, to make sure that I don't blow out my knee, is also just what you are supposed to do.

Floor series was very nice. It feels like a luxury being able to spin around without worrying too much that it will lead to something popping. And I can keep up with the class for the first time in weeks.

The best thing in class actually happened right afterward. There's a regular who has been coming to Amy's studio since she first opened, and been doing this yoga for five years with strong consistency. He's in his mid-60's (by my guess), and is in really good shape for his age. Today, after class he announced to Amy that he got his butt on the floor for the first time ever in Fixed Firm. He was beaming. He had the attitude and delight of a six year old. He said when he first started, he couldn't even sit on his knees, and he was positive for years that he would never get his butt on the floor in that pose. The progress is amazing, but even more amazing is to see the effect that this breakthrough had on him -- the joy, astonishment, and the pleasure in just being alive and having a body that works. It's truly amazing, and inspiring stuff (there's that breath word again).

The day 269 meditation starts with the quote from Matthew (and one of the greatest parts of Handel's Messiah): "His yoke is easy, and his burden is light." Gates describes the typical day of a woman he knows who teaches yoga. She too is in her 60s, but has the body of a 30 something and deep wisdom. She works hard at her practice, but the work is also a joy, and it has led to results that are much, much easier than the alternatives.

Gate's example is pretty easy, and I don't have any quarrel with it. It may not be all that the quote from Matthew means, but its a pretty good start. I've actually hit on this kind of meaning twice, at least, in this post. First, I said that regular practice only starts to feel like a burden during a challenge. And that burden is more mental than physical. The actual work of going to class is really hard, but in the overall scheme of things it makes daily life so much better that its an easy burden to bear. Second, it took five years for his butt to hit the floor, and there was some real work involved in that process, and I can imagine that there were setbacks along the way. But just feeling the satisfaction radiating out from him, because its actually possible to fulfill the promise of the yoga, and you can see that the burden of it was extremely light.

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