Home and shala

I was thinking about why I like the combo of home and shala practice as I drove to the shala this morning. As a quick aside, summer is wrapping up here in the desert and the mornings are exquisitely cool and clear these days — the mountains looked black against the darkest blue sky as I pulled into the parking lot.

I’m an introvert and I hate doing stupid things in front of people, so home practice is handy if I need to fall, roll over with my arms or legs stuck in some weird contortion, or grunt “Ow! Ow! Ow!” when I give myself a cramp. I also have a mirror, on one wall, which is useful when I need to understand something. I am not a super-kinesthetically-gifted person, and sometimes I need to see what I’m doing to actually be able to do it. And sometimes it’s nice to check and see that something that feels utterly ridiculous doesn’t actually look that way. Double-edged sword, though, for sure: the mirror’s revealed some things I wish I didn’t know. 😉

Home is where I get to listen to myself complain to myself about practice as I practice, and I guess that’s a good thing to know about. Otherwise, if I didn’t hear it, I imagine it could eat into my motivation pretty severely and possibly sink the whole project. I guess there’s some similarity with blogging there: until you realize the stuff that’s going on in the semi-conscious background of your mind, you really can’t deal with it. Yeah, meditation is all about hearing that stuff. Not that that’s the point of meditation: it’s just an unavoidable reality.

This week, for home practices, I put on my shuffle and used Sharath’s CD for the primary portion. My practice was getting too sluggish, and Sharath is definitely the cure. It’s nice hearing his voice, which drowns out a lot of the thinking in my head. Uck. The more I meditate, the more I practice, the more I hear how much thinking I do. Seriously. Years ago, when I first started meditating, I really thought that all the thoughts were VERY important. And very important to act upon IMMEDIATELY. Or else I would dissolve into a puff of nothingness. Now I don’t feel compelled by the thoughts, but damn, they’re still chugging away. I blame the media. There’s just too much input. And work. I should knock that off, too.

Oh right, so back to the subject at hand: shala practice is cool because your teacher is there. At home, I have my “things I’m working on” projects. At the shala, I am at the mercy of VBG. He comes by for the traditional Dave’s Astanga Prasarita C adjustment, and the customary VBG Supta Kurmasana assist. Then, lately, it’s all me until Bhekasana and then Ustrasana. Bhekasana is a pose I love for reasons I can’t fathom. I don’t feel like I’m good at it, but I am amused by it, for some reason. And then I’m off to Ustrasana. At which point he’s been throwing in a smoosh against the wall. I’m facing the wall, right up against it, and he smooshes me even flatter with his feet (this morning I fantasized that I actually crashed through the sheetrock), and then he weights my shoulders until I remember why I love the shala and hate it. Love it because I get pushed past where I think I can go, and hate it because I get pushed past where I think I can go. And then I know I can go there, and have to behave accordingly.


3 Responses

  1. D: “The more I meditate, the more I practice, the more I hear how much thinking I do. Seriously. Years ago, when I first started meditating, I really thought that all the thoughts were VERY important.”

    O: Wait. The thoughts aren’t VERY important?

    D: “Oh dear. Perhaps more practice is needed.”

    O: Mmm…..

  2. Tales of struggle of when I was doing primary and second up to Kapotasana: http://mindbending.wordpress.com/2007/05/ and earlier

  3. Thanks, Vanessa! It’s really helpful to read about other people’s experiences with this part of the practice. I keep thinking about how folks often quit practicing at this point, and I think I understand why: it’s one thing to re-balance your hip joints (primary) but another altogether to work into the back and sacrum so deeply (beginning of second). It’s really challenging me in terms of what I’m supposed to do to my body, my mind, my emotions, and my sleep patterns. Definitely challenging all of the samskaras!

    (0v0): Probably safe to say more practice is always necessary, huh? 🙂

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