Thursday (Thanksgiving) off
Tuesday's class went well. I was a bit worried beforehand because I had pizza with lunch. (This is one of those lessons that I seem to refuse to learn.) It caused some havoc in one set of Locust, but otherwise I was just fine. I felt especially good in the backbends. In the first backbend, I think there is some point of relaxation that I simply don't get, and that if I could just figure out what it was and let go of it, I would get much deeper.
My knees are gradually improving. I'm still slightly hampered in the second and third parts of awkward. No bouncing like a motorcycle ride for me yet. I am almost to the point again where my hips touch the floor in Fixed Firm, which is some real progress. And I don't really feel any other big limitation from them anymore. I'm thinking maybe a month or two before I try Toe Stand again.
I thought about going to a studio on Long Island on Thanksgiving morning, but I only got two hours of sleep the night before, so I opted to sleep instead. I hope to get one or two classes in while here on Long Island. But there is also something to be said for simply vacationing once in a while.
The day 286 meditation discusses turning inward in a bit more detail. According to Gates, pranayama gives the experience of having one foot planted in the external and another in the internal world. Part of the attention is on sensation and physical technique, but because this attention is on the breath, we can't help but at least partially focus inwardly. The next step is to turn completely inward.
Gates says we should first try this in asana practice (for me this means tomorrow morning). The interesting thing is that he asks a series of questions, and one of them is "What resistance do you have to letting go of the past and the future?" To me, this seems to show that either turning inward, and being present, are the same thing. Or, maybe its that being present is in some way a prerequisite. I'm not even sure if there is a real distinction there.
The other point Gates makes is that this is not supposed to be hard work. That's nice to know. Maybe its sort of like those magic eye posters, the ones that look like nothing but a mess when you first look at them. But if you learn to look at one the right way, a three dimensional object emerges from the mess, and sometimes the image is quite extraordinary. Maybe there is a similar "trick" to turning inward -- so that its not hard to do once you learn how, but learning how might be a matter of either getting the knack or finding it to be impossible, with no middle ground.