Monday, February 06, 2006

Svadyaya

I feel pretty relaxed about the general mediocrity of my practice these past several days.

I find myself realizing that I am not progressing as quickly as I had thought I would, as I had hoped I would, in my twisting poses, and that I am still not "effortlessly" floating my arms back into my first two Marichyasanas, as I had thought I would be doing by now. Perhaps I never will. I find myself facing the fact that my jump-throughs are inconsistent, and my jump-backs are, well, pure improv.

I suppose there are times when I might suffer from the dissonance between what I envision myself doing at practice and what I am, in fact, doing. This is one way in which the "vrittis" can cause suffering. But I suppose that I am not suffering because I am not identifying so much with anything about my practice, at least not in a static way. Things change. Practice changes. This too shall pass.

Same goes for the stuff that I can feel content and at ease about in my practice. I appreciate the fact that my hips have cracked wide open, that I have good balance, strong legs and shoulders, and I know that my chest is slowly expanding across the collarbones, making space for better twists and better binds. But this all could change too, for better or for worse. Pleasure is a seed of discontent, ultimately, if it causes desire for more pleasure.

But staying somewhat dispassionate about the ups and downs of my practice has done wonders for me in terms of getting myself to the mat. My expectations are falling away, at least for now. And I just get myself to the mat and think, "whatever, at least I'm here."

For some students, that might not be enough. But those are the students who are not quite as "pitta" as me - the students whose challenge is to generate tapas. For me, tapas is my starting point. My yoga is cranking it down a notch...surrendering to where I am at, how I am feeling, to the temporary circumstances of each day. As Sir said to me today, my challenge in adjustments is to do nothing other than to breathe; for other students, maybe it's a different challenge.

Svadyaya is study of the self. Tapas is heat, or passion. Isvara Pranidhana is surrender to the higher power (God, or some notion of that which we cannot control). That is the yoga of action: Kriya Yoga.

YC

5 comments:

Tiffersll said...

I love tapas...I need heat. Probably why you and I love Bikram's so much. Sounds like you've got quite a relationship with Sir for him to tell you what your focus is on for the day. :-) By they way, I didn't practice on Friday, but I did practice Bikram's on Saturday.

yoga chickie said...

I've been wondering if maybe I am readjusting away from the need for heat - the heat at Bikram NYC has been very oppressive the past two times I went. But I've said this before - it's CRAZY hot at the Bikram NYC studios. Also the teachers tend to be quite inexperienced and don't know how to adjust the heat properly.

I went on Sat too...made Sunday's Ashtanga practice feel kinda nice.

Lauren

Anonymous said...

YC

Which NYC bikram do you go to?

I used to take George's class--anyone else and it would turn into an ego-fest.

I really enjoy the heat but can't deal with anyhing else--the mirrors, the smell, even most of the asanas.

But the heat--aaahhhhhh

I was reovering from an injury and had to do something--and--ALL yoga is good:)

yoga chickie said...

George DeLancey ROCKS. He is one of my most favorite teachers. I agree- the smell, the pranayama, the asanas, they all pretty much suck. But that heat man...it can change your LIFE.

Lauren

Anonymous said...

I have found--if I do the ujjai breath my whole practice-- if my monkey mind does not take over:)--I can generate my own heat.........

And George is a great guy. A yogi:)

Are you going to the guruji workshop in March?


Mandy

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About Me

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Northern Westchester, New York, United States
I live by a duck pond. I used to live by the East River. I don't work. I used to work a lot. Now, not so much. I used to teach a lot of yoga. Now not so much. I still practice a lot of yoga though. A LOT. I love my kids, being outdoors, taking photos, reading magazines, writing and stirring the pot. Enjoy responsibly.

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