Long time

It’s been a long time since I did a primary-only home practice. This morning, because Volleyball Guy is off at his niece’s wedding, I practiced here at the house. Since Saturday is usually led primary, I decided just to go ahead with a nice, leisurely primary practice. Afterwards, I actually went back and looked in the archives and found that it’s been 5 months (beginning of March) since intermediate poses were added to my practice. So all home practices since that time have included those poses.

So anyhow, this morning, just primary. Comfy and pleasant. Since I tend to focus on the poses I am working on at the end of my practice, I don’t usually “see” the primary portion of practice — I just do it. This morning I got a bit of an objective view. I read Jody’s blog last night and he mentioned his teacher’s suggestion that students practice at 75% of their maximum physical level and save the remaining 25% for the more subtle aspects of the practice. Yes, that sounded like a nice idea for this morning’s practice. Unfortunately, I sat around with my coffee, reading and surfing and chatting with My Gift via text message, and my mind got all revved up and then didn’t want to settle down and practice. Oh right, I forgot about that. Same thing happens with zazen: if your mind starts being busy, it is VERY hard to reel it back in and practice. I think this is the real reason for the traditional morning practice.So much easier to practice if you head the mind off, before it wakes up and gets all involved with the things around it.

Did finally get on the mat, and as per usual, things were all settled down by the time I got into the seated poses. What did I find, in this first primary-only home practice in at least half a year? Well, I found that the physical practice is easier and that my body has adjusted a LOT. The sheer repetition has left its imprints in my physical body, for sure. It’s kind of interesting, because I take yoga to be a deconditioning of the habits I’ve established, but (DUH!) it is a strong habit in and of itself. I used to have the habit of collapsing into my lower back while sitting at the office, and that has been alleviated — but there’s no hiding the fact that a new habit has taken its place. I guess we are ALWAYS forming habits, and the best hope is that we fashion useful ones. As I’ve said before, I see habits as karma, and karma as habits. I guess the best I can ask is that my practice burn away some of the old karma and replace it, if necessary, with karma that will be more useful in the future. Next lifetime, an easier, more advanced yoga practice?

A couple of people on my team at work are trying out some yoga classes. So far, they both like it. They also both see it as a physical practice. I’m not telling them anything different, either. They’ll find what they need to find. I am amused, though, to realize that they think my practice is a physical pursuit. Even as much as I, as a driven Ashtangi, focus on the physical aspects of my practice, so do I recognize — when contrasted with the lenses through which these new practitioners see my yoga — how much MORE it is than the physical.


2 Responses

  1. Laying down new habits is so much easier first thing in the morning, isn’t it? It’s interesting how much my personal rhythms depend on the 24 hour cycle. I’ve sometimes tried to conceptualize the beginning of the day as being noon, or six pm, but it doesn’t really work. Somehow each day accumulates its own karma, its own samskaras.

    Good think with your friends. If it becomes mental or spiritual, then it does. The more delightfully if they’re not looking for or expecting it.

    Good luck abstracting today. Here’s a link I didn’t include earlier but thought you’d like. Mostly an article about a weird form acquisitiveness, but with a great interlude on poet-managers.

  2. I have the same form of acquisitiveness. I’ve cut back considerably, though I’m sure The Cop would argue I’ve not cut back quite enough. Love the idea of poets as the original systems thinkers!

    And yes, new habits are much easier first thing in the morning. Once the mind hooks into all the distractions available to it, it’s pretty much off to the races. Endlessly entertaining, but hard to be contemplative in the midst of it all.

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