Practice a Deux

Folie à deux (literally “a madness shared by two”) is a rare psychiatric syndrome in which a symptom of psychosis (particularly a paranoid or delusional belief) is transmitted from one individual to another.

Tuesday mornings are practice with The Cop. Today he completed the entire series. Usually he gets irritated with kurmasana and then agrees to come along to baddha konasana, which I don’t want to miss these days. This morning, though, we just rolled through the whole thing.

I helped him find his hands in supta k and he put his soles together. A huge bit of progress for him. And then, quite delightfully, he asked me what his drishti was supposed to be.

It’s fun “teaching” The Cop. “Teaching” in quotation marks, because he is just like me and does NOT like to be taught. He likes to watch and figure things out for himself. If I start to explain, I can watch my words hit his “Do Everything Myself” force field, where they are revealed to be the lame explanations they are. Like trying to explain an answer to a koan to the zen master. You only have to get about two words out before you realize you should just stop.

So in the end, I teach just the way I most prefer: by example. Not to say I’m a stellar example. But I’ll do.

And he’ll do, too. He gave me a great adjustment in baddha konasana.

My own practice is in a good place: my focus has been on a handful of poses: marichy D (setting it up without putting my weight onto the vertical leg), supta k (getting the hand bind more fully and figuring out how to cross my feet), garbha pindasana (pulling it tighter) and baddha k.

Best of all, though (and I say this hoping I’m not going to jinx myself!): my hamstrings seem to be healed, and also just more generally stretched and open. Like they stay open even if I don’t practice for a day. This is so lovely! I looked back in these entries and found that I have had hamstring pain since March. Seven months of it!

Why did I practice through all of that? Folie a un, I guess.


On the periphery of practice

The Cop had someone at gunpoint last night. He told me about it when I got home from practice. Usually after evenings with gun-related events, we chat a bit before he goes to bed.

The guy was in a stolen car, tried to elude the police, and then, when the police caught up and there was a confrontation, rammed one of the police cars and then bolted on foot.

The Cop, checking out the area, just happened to hear the guy rustle some bushes. (Coincidentally, those are the bushes near where the Mysoreans park their cars on practice mornings.)

Anyhow, The Cop spotted him in the bushes and had him at gunpoint, and the guy was moving around without showing his hands. As is always the case when we discuss potentially violent events, I verified: “You were ready to shoot, right?”

This is an interesting question to ask right after practice. It certainly doesn’t qualify as “yogic” in the usual sense that the term seems to be used. But it is an entirely sensible question from a zen perspective.

I really suspect that yoga is pretty tough–like zen, and that there’s been an overlay of a kind of alternative view of it, of yoga as a gentle lifestyle. Kind of new agey. Not that there is anything inherently wrong with new-agey-ness. But it can be somewhat limited. And limiting, if you conflate new-agey-ness and yoga.