Saturday, January 9, 2010

Ill Will

Wednesday Off
Thursday 6:30 pm with Libby
Friday 6:30 pm with Sherry

Classes are back to normal again. My stamina is back to where it was, making me think that I must have been fighting off some illness last weekend. I used to get sick. Now I have really bad yoga classes instead. It's a pretty good tradeoff. And normal also means that I'm in the middle of nursing one of a seemingly endless series of petty knee ailments.

Here's the strange thing. I set up my towel on Friday and felt some drops on my head. And then some more. I looked up, and there was no leak anywhere. Rather, it was raining on my mat. Inside. That's how strange the heating system combined with our cold snap is. So, while the usual for cast for Bikram is hot and humid, now I'm going to have to factor in the probability of rain as well.

I don't have much else to report on the classes themselves. My balance is better the last few days, especially in Standing Head to Knee. So has my forward bending. I did really well in Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee, getting a nice tight compression and keeping both legs straight. I also had a killer Rabbit yesterday. My forehead was on my thigh (not the knee), I kept the heels together, and my hips went up. And for whatever reason, I could breath in the pose, too. What a difference from how the pose has been for what seems like months.

The day 298 meditation is about ill will. Gates says ill will stems from the conviction that something is wrong, and the problem resides in someone or something other than ourselves. The example he gives is one I've seen many times in the Bikram studio. An experienced yogi comes to his first class. He finds himself in some difficulty, and blames the difficulty on the heat, on the instructor, on the series. He refuses to follow the directions. And the first class completely beats him up. The reason for his difficulty is his ill will toward the new practice.

This problem is one that arises very easily in Bikram. I've experienced it again and again. There are times when I blame the heat for my troubles, or the humidity, or the teacher's timing, or the person next to me doing things I find distracting. And even while laying blame, I know those things would go away if I could just stay within my breath, and let things be.

Libby wrote on Facebook a while back after some class she taught something to the effect: "I don't care if you hate me, if you just do the pose." At the time, I replied that anyone who is doing the pose will not hate her. A bunch of other teachers chimed in, telling me that I must not be a teacher, and that one of the hardest things for a Bikram teacher has to deal with are the constant looks of hatred, fear and loathing they get from the students.

Of course, they must be right about what they experience from students. But I also know that when I'm really doing the yoga, and am doing it right, there's no hatred at all -- no ill will to the teachers or to anyone else. And if I do find myself hating a pose, or the heat, or even the teacher, that means that I'm not really doing the pose. So my comment still stands -- anyone really doing the poses won't hate the teacher. Now I just have to acknowledge that, and let go of my ill will, the next time I find myself glaring at some poor teacher.


tara said...

Thanks very much for this post. I got very little sleep last night and am not looking forward to class today at all. This very sort of ill will is one of the things I struggle with constantly, so this being the post I start my day on can only mean I must be mindful today.

bikramyogachick said...

I have heard many teachers comment about the dirty looks they get from students. I always scratch my head in confusion about that because I've never gotten mad at the teacher, even if they are trying to roast us out of the room. The only person that gets a dirty look in the mirror is my own self and I need to cut that out! No dirty looks period! It's just yoga. :)