Monday, August 29, 2011

Practice Takes Time

Your practice must be done correctly, 
for then a firm foundation is laid. 

You must cultivate your practice,
Over an extended period of time.

Thus far How Yoga Works has been an intriguing look into the world of yoga. Much like the Captain I believed yoga to be a largely physical practice. However as the Captain spends more time with yoga and with his teacher he learns that the physical practice represents only half of what yoga is, and probably the easier half at that. The two quotes above from the yoga sutras have stuck with me since I read them. In fact I wrote them on the white board that adorns my wall. Each morning and evening I look at them and think of the day ahead or the day behind. Everything in life seems like practice for something else, but am I doing it correctly? Something as simple as interacting with others is definite practice for later interactions but am I doing it correctly? As they say knowing is half the battle and then you must cultivate your practice, over an extended period of time.

In the course of the book four months have elapsed thus far and the captain has progressed but not without some hurdles to overcome. Reading this whilst being new to yoga makes me wonder what obstacles will arise in my own journey aside from my inability to touch my head to the floor. The Captain did yoga out of compassion for the Corporal and the Sergeant but who will I do it for. If we do something just to help ourselves, it will never work. (p.20) How then should I direct my compassion? Who should it be directed towards? Who am I doing this for? Before I can move to far forward a few of these questions will need an answer. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Reflection on Day One

8/23/2011 Today was a tough day. I awoke at 7 after a long sad night looking forward to a day that ran non-stop from 8-5. I had found out on Monday night that a friend of mine from high school had died and I had yet to come to terms with it. By 8 am I was inside the Bear Habitat getting food ready, at 9 I was driving the disability shuttle around campus and at 11 I started 6 straight hours of class. I was pretty set to not have to think about the information I had learned the previous night. The mental strain of keeping something like that repressed made me tired and lethargy seemed to characterize my moments alone throughout the day. With 4.5 hours of class down, yoga honestly was the last thing I wanted to do. About midway through class, during a variation of mountain pose, I shut my eyes. Images of my lost friend crept into my consciousness and as fleeting of a moment as it was I felt connected to him again. I felt connected to him forever. As the poses continued and my body loosened up I could feel the weights that had so quickly accumulated on my soul begin to dissipate bringing me to a place where I could effectively deal with my own grief. It made a believer out of me. One yoga class brought me to a level of inward peace that I would have never imagined could have come on a day like today.

Throughout the week I continued doing poses for about fifteen minutes a day either in after I woke up or before I went to bed. The time for me has become a moment to decompress, to leave remove the fluctuations of my mind. Yoga has began creeping into my everyday life. "Let your feet be like leaves," resonates through my mind whenever I stand still. When stressed I've began pushing my shoulders together, making my torso long and my chest big and have felt better by doing so. It almost feels like as I move into a pose my outlook on a given situation changes slightly, in a positive manner. I'm intrigued and interested in where this journey may lead. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Yoga for Dudes

Crux (noun): something that torments by its puzzling nature; a perplexing difficulty; a critical, decisive, or pivotal point.

I'm Dan and I'm going to be blogging about my new life as a yogi. I did yoga once a week for most of my freshman year and continued certain practices up until now. As both a runner and a rock climber I have noticed a benefit from doing certain balance poses and I use certain other poses as a means to stretch out my arms, trunk, and shoulders. Yoga for me has thus far been a physical endeavor and I have yet to approach it in a philosophical manner. This brings me to my first reason for taking the class, to explore my inner self. Having spent the past 3 years existing in the complex, dynamic, and liminal space between childhood and the remainder of life has left me uncertain of who I am but has set me on a path to find that person. This class for me acts as part of the search. I don't expect to reach enlightenment nor unlock the secrets of the universe. I do however hope to find out characteristics of my self that I have previously been unaware of. Through outward expressions of balance, strength, and flexibility I hope to bring order to the chaos of my soul as I journey from this liminal state of young adulthood to the future.