Friday, November 20, 2009

211/322 - Breathing and Non-Violence

Wednesday Off
Thursday 6:30 pm with Rohit

I pushed really hard in the standing series, and then had to skip a set in Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee. I've thought for a long time that, no matter how conditioned you are, you should be just on the edge of your stamina limit by the time that pose rolls around. If not, then you probably have left something on the table. And if you push too hard, like I did this time, you have to sit out.

Getting it just right can be elusive. Some teachers can convince me to go on when I'm certain I need a break. I'm not always the best judge of my own limits, though I think I'm gradually getting better.

Recently, one of my hardest poses has been the third part of Wind Relieving. For a while this seemed pretty easy. Now, when I grab my elbows my legs start to slip out of the grip. I try to hold on, but then I start tensing up in my upper back. I'm not sure what's causing this, but I think its a pretty clear sign that I my belly has gotten bigger and I need to be a bit more mindful about food. That's a nice thought with Thanksgiving just around the corner...

The day 284 meditation is about the infectious nature of nonviolence. Gates says that people and nations continually respond to violence with violence in return, and then wonder why peace is so elusive. I don't know if non-violence as a response to violence would always work. At the extreme, I have doubts about whether any non-violent approach would have stopped the holocaust. So, on one level, its hard for me generally to accept the idea.

Having said that, in many, many more cases it seems to me that non-violence is the much better approach. And I think that that's true almost universally in my personal life. I've also noticed that its been much easier to refuse confrontations since I started yoga.

Gates also talks about non-violence in the yoga practice itself. This is a point that I'm still developing. If I push myself to the point where I lose my breath, as I did in this class, then I've slightly crossed the line . And that, I think, is one of the central points to this meditation: learning to breath comfortably is learning non-violence. And from learning to breath, all the rest can follow naturally.


Jennifer said...

Sometimes this works for me when I need to skip a set of something - I just think "Just one more set/pose, and then I will sit out the next one." Then I do that set/pose, and think "Just one more and then I will sit out." I can often get myself through the whole standing series that way. I agree, though - it's funny how for some teachers, we push ourselves that little bit harder. Really, we are pushing for ourselves, not for them!

bikramyogachick said...

I pushed myself so hard last night that I couldn't come out of second set, second side of triangle properly. I sort of had to put my hand on the floor and drag my right leg back in. I looked like a total retard. It was hilarious. I suppose if you push so hard in yoga that you throw up or pull something that could fall under being a bit violent with yourself. :)
I'm the same way about third part of wind removing btw. I'm not a skinny girl, so I always can feel two or three extra lbs in the gut in that pose. ugh. enjoy turkey first, than worry about it later. :)