Thursday, December 17, 2009

224/340 - Pi/e (and Sloth)

Tuesday 6:30 with Libby
Wednesday 8:15 with Rohit
Thursday off.

First, some housekeeping. I need to look back over my post titles. My day count is at 340, and I think there are 14 days left in the year. Did someone change the calendar this year? Or (perhaps more likely) I goofed on the count somewhere? (Edit: Oops, strike that. I goofed with this post. I went from 347 to 340. Doh! I will keep the title of this post as it is, and get back on course with the next post, maybe...)

This raises another interesting question: Why am I bothering with a day count at all? At one point, the days were going to match the meditations in Gates' book. Now, instead, they serve as a reminder of how far off the track I've gone. At this point, I think I'm doing it just to do it. And also, it gives me a convenient title for a post when I can't come up with anything cute. But random numbers would serve that purpose just as well. Hence the name of this post. (BTW, I have a nasty habit, when people try to get to think of a number between one and ten, of choosing either pi or e.)

I had three really good days of classes in a row. Libby's class was inspiring. I found new things in several of the poses. Most notably, I discovered how to go even more deeply into my shoulders in Half Moon. Here's the strange, but typical, discovery I made. I can get a much deeper stretch in my shoulders in the pose by paying even more attention to locking my legs and making sure that the inside foot is bearing the weight it should. That's just another example of how totally connected different parts of the body are in these poses.

Mostly, what I did in this class was pay even more attention to the set-ups. More and more, I'm impressed with the importance of the set-ups for every pose. The more attention that gets paid to following every detail, the better the pose. It's pretty much that simple. After the set-up, everything is a matter of breathing and determination.

The class itself was great. There were eight of us, and Libby had us all move to the front row. This means that there was basically no-one in my field of vision. But still, the energy was really high, and several times Libby complemented us on how we were staying together. Part of the reason, I think, is because the studio is in the holiday doldrums. For the most part, the only people who are coming are the ones who are very committed. And it makes for small, but high energy classes.

After two really good classes in a row, I thought about taking a day off, but decided to push my luck. At the last minute, I grabbed my stuff and headed for class. The only reason I had for not going was that I didn't really feel like it, and that's not going to be a good enough reason anymore.

Class was really good. Again there were about eight of us, and the class was strong and together. During Triangle, Rohit commented that it was the first time where he had nothing to say about anyone's Triangle during a class. Then in Floor Bow, he mentioned how no-one in class dropped out of the pose early. It's been that kind of week in these classes, and its really cool.

The day 293 meditation visits an old friend of mine: sloth. As Gates talks about it, sloth is basically whatever gets you to say that you don't need to practice today, that you can do your meditation sometime later, that tomorrow will be as good as today for starting some project. I think there's some difference between procrastination and sloth, but it's probably not worth mentioning.

As Gates notes, its pretty to overcome sloth with Asana practice. Once you get involved in your practice, its relatively easy to let yourself become completely involved. I think that's just the nature of the poses. Of course, in Bikram, the dialogue delivery has something to do with it as well.

He also notes that sloth is a bigger obstacle in meditation. This seems kind of counterintuitive to me. In some ways, when you are meditating, you aren't really doing anything. So I would think that meditation and sloth would make fairly good bedfellows. But here's the rub. Meditation requires focus and concentration, and sloth doesn't particularly like to keep company with them. So it will constantly try to bring you away from your focus, to turn you away from the meditative state and bring you back to the "comfortable" area where thoughts just sort of flit about as they will.


Jennifer said...

I count my classes, too. :) I started doing it because I bought a 20-punch card after my first two classes, and then after I used it up, I bought 3-month unlimited. I counted my classes then to make sure that the 3-month would work out to be a better deal than another 20-punch card would have been. By the time that was up, I was sitting somewhere around 50 classes, and I thought it was interesting to know I had done that many, so I kept keeping track once I bought an annual membership. I am at 215 classes this year, so far, so not too far behind you! I think it doesn't really take much effort to count them, and it's interesting to be able to note milestones along the way!

bikramyogachick said...

sloth....laziness...procrastination...all the enemy.
That's why I'm doing the 101 starting on Jan 1st. Those three guys have been knocking at my door this month. ;)

Duffy Pratt said...

When I was in college, I first heard about a procrastination club. This was back in the late 70s. The club was just getting around to coming out against the war -- the Spanish American war. I've been meaning to join this club, but for some reason I just haven't gotten around to sending in my application.

jindi said...

Yoga (Sanskrit, Pali: yĆ³ga) refers to traditional physical and mental disciplines originating in India. The word is associated with meditative practices in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. In Hinduism, it also refers to one of the six orthodox (astika) schools of Hindu philosophy, and to the goal toward which that school directs its practices. In Jainism it refers to the sum total of all activities—mental, verbal and physical.

Major branches of yoga in Hindu philosophy include Raja Yoga, Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, and Hatha Yoga. Raja Yoga, compiled in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and known simply as yoga in the context of Hindu philosophy, is part of the Samkhya tradition.[10] Many other Hindu texts discuss aspects of yoga, including Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, the Shiva Samhita and various Tantras.

The Sanskrit word yoga has many meanings, and is derived from the Sanskrit root "yuj," meaning "to control," "to yoke" or "to unite."[12] Translations include "joining," "uniting," "union," "conjunction," and "means." Outside India, the term yoga is typically associated with Hatha Yoga and its asanas (postures) or as a form of exercise. Someone who practices yoga or follows the yoga philosophy is called a yogi or yogini