On the mat next door…

And on the mat next door, our guest star for today: Returning Guy. Today I was between the wall and Returning Guy. It is always interesting to me how you can feel someone else’s practice. I couldn’t understand it at first, why there were people I particularly liked to practice next to, and people I preferred not to practice next to. That may be why led primary on Saturday at the Starbucks of Yoga can be such a crapshoot for me. I just can’t transcend my own competitive impulses when I practice next to someone who feels competitive to me.

On the other hand, there are folks I love to practice near–the Big Redhead used to be my favorite, before she went off for a semester abroad. Her practice was so lovely and internal and…well, gracious, somehow. The Dancer is great to practice near: she is astoundingly flexible, and there is a profound delicacy to her movements–almost as if she isn’t subject to the same laws of gravity that the rest of us are bound by. The Beautiful One is also nice to practice next to–for some reason her practice reminds me of films I’ve seen of Sharath: I don’t think she adds any aesthetic flourishes to her movements–though I don’t know why I think that, since I’ve never really watched her. The common characteristic of all of these women is that they have very circumscribed practices. They don’t “give off” energy–they aren’t sending energy out away from themselves. It’s like they have delightful psychic boundaries, like little spiritual snowglobes. Okay, I guess I’ve pushed that a bit too far šŸ˜‰ But still, it’s an interesting phenomenon.

Returning Guy also has a circumscribed practice. He’s not a “graceful” type–but he doesn’t seem to be pushing to make up for that by muscling through his practice. He just feels really even-tempered and relaxed and good-humored and conscious.

So this morning as I was driving to Volleyball Guy’s I realize I don’t have a hair tie. Nor anything in the car that can be fashioned into one. I tried a little something with the cleaning cloth I got with my sunglasses, but no go. So I practiced tie-less. Keep in mind that I have an unruly mop of hair that is highly humidity-sensitive. It was quite a wreck. I had to just be disciplined and rule out the extra vinyasa of unsticking my hair from my face on every pose. And Volleyball Guy kept apologizing for stepping on it during backbends. Okay, lesson learned: keep billions of hair ties in the car.

Today’s practice was lovely, with particular sweetness in sirsasana and padmasana. I think I was in a heavy meditation kind of mode this morning. Suddenly, on my way home, I wondered about drishti. Is drishti a means of getting inside oneself? Or is it really important to focus on the drishti point? If I am looking in the direction of my thumbs, but my gaze is totally unfocused and internal, do I need to get back outside myself a bit and actually focus more on the thumbs?

Oh well. It’s such a nice day (and Sunday is my birthday) that I’ve decided to use one of my accrued sick days. I’m going back to bed!!

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5 Responses

  1. Hi, gotta agree with you there on picking up on the energy from the people you practice beside… there’s a few here that make my practice just zing along. I think I’ve worked it down to the thought that they’re just reflecting the intention I’ve made to have a good practice when they’re there with me. It’s a positive cycle of energy flowing in/out. Well, atleast that’s how it feels.

    G

  2. Yes, I quickly learned to keep hair ties in the car, a few in my mat bag and I keep one on my key ring sometimes JUST IN CASE šŸ™‚

  3. Oh, good idea! I will put one on my keychain right now…

  4. I agree… I often notice that I like to practice next to certain people and not others, but then I wonder if the people I enjoy practicing next to is something I want to see in my own practice, or wanting to learn the things I enjoy in them from others.

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