Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Practice and Detachment

So- we covered sutras 1.4 -1.11 very quicky tonight :

1.1 Now, yoga
1.2 yoga is the means by which we join our mind in one place.
1.3 When yoga happens, the seer dwells in the splendor of our true nature
1.4 Other times, we are identified with the fluctuations.
1.5 there are five kinds of fluctuations you may know about them or you may not; they may be ahrmful or they may not.
1.6 the five flucationsa re correct perception, inoccrect percetion, conceptualization, sleep and memory.
1.7-11.11Then there is a discussion about each type of vritti.

And then he begins to list ways that we can still the fluctuations of the mind, starting with practice and detachment which is sutra 1.12 and where we focused our attention tonight. We worked on strong actions in the 5:30 class which took us through some standing poses into an introduction to bakasana. I made lots of technical adjustments and I really saw some improvement as we went along.

We had a few people missing in Beginning Yoga tonight but they were all accounted for and so we are still looking good on the Beginning Series Challenge.

It was kind of funny to work on the qualities of practice and detachment tonight. I did a strong practice myself before class where I worked on Maricyasana D. I was completely attached to working on the clasp. I actually got it quite well sitting on two blankets and by the end of the practice I was able to do it solidly sitting on one blanket. So, unpropped is another story. (There's the detachment part.) But the way the blankets have worked for me in the other maricyasana poses is that first the clasps came with the extra height and then shortly thereafter I could do them unpropped. One thing that was obvious to me is how little I actually tried to work on this pose in the past. I had totally ignored it and wrote it off. After Leanne's little pep talk post, I had some confidence that I should at least give it a good go.

So before pracitce, I did take a fascianting foray into reasearching the pose and where it first is presented in the LOY sequences. (This is some advice that Mary Obendorfer and Eddie Marks, two of Anne's teachers gave us at a weekend workshop. When you want to learn about a pose, find where it is first presented in the LOY sequnces and then see what came before it and that will tell you lots.) And it did. Maricyasana IV (Maricyasana D, to you Ashtangi's) is well into Course Two- all kinds of poses preceed it in the Iyengar School that do not preceeed it in the Ashtanga sequence. Like all of the variations of lotus- gorakshsasnaa, vatayanasana, yoga mudrasana, matsyasana, simhasana, badha padmasana, kukkutasana, etc. which tell you how important lotus is to the pose and that being able to move in lotus is crucial to Maricyasana IV.

In fact, with this standard, where the pose is place in the Ashtanga sequence is not in anyway adequate preparation. So maybe the Indian practioner for whom lotus is no big deal is prepared for Maricyasana D by the time they get to it in the Primary Series, but it comes as no surpise to me why it presents the stumbling block it does to the average, tight -hipped American.

Anyway- I am enjoying fousing on this nemesis pose and diving into the poses that inform it. So exciting to have a challenge and a learning opportunity all wrapped up in one. Stay tuned because how it always works is the learning opporuntity and practice challenge soon become the teaching opportunity.


Unknown said...

Wow! You always give me what I need. Just got done with a very intense discussion with my husband about perception. I have been the seer who dwells in the splendor of my true nature, but not lately. Lately it has been those other times for me. I have been in a shame spiral. Now I know I was learning. Today with the help of my husband, my teacher(that'd be you), myself and most of all the divine(we are all one, oh yeah, I just remembered that) I may dwell here in the splendor. Life is truly the gift of the journey. Wahoo and Love.

Dale said...

Yeah. I'm kind of the average fat tight-hipped American, so Marichi's got my number :-). Mike Matthews helped me alot in the poses in two ways.

And actually, this advice was concerned with all of the 1st series poses with one leg in lotus, taking the bind, & then bending forward.

First, observing that I was not having the most wonderful time trying to get the bind & then doing the forward bend, Mike recommended that I blow off the forward bend for the present, and just take my time working on the twist. This was wonderful! I had gotten into this grasping for the grasp, so I could herry up and get into the forward bend. This is when the Zen master whacks you with his stick :-). But Mike just freed me from the forward bend, so I could spend the time that I had working on a single aspect of the pose. Much Better :-).

Second, he helped my injure myself slightly during an assist, & thereby taught me an valuable lesson: Do not ever ever ever ever ever ever give up the integrity of a pose in order to get "deeper" into the pose.

One of the genius bit of Anusara is the simultaneous energising of opposing/complimentary groups of muscles during muscular energy, so that the ligaments are relaxed as the joints are fully seated by the action of the opposing tendons/fascia. This forms walls of safety which prevents alot of joint and ligament injuries. What I did was to completely relax my back muscles in order to allow a deeper twist so I could get the bind. Unfortunately (if predictably) this allowed me to overstretch a ligament in the pilot "joint" between the sacrum & L5, which pissed off that area for a couple months. But I got the bind :-). this is the result of the false freedom of no walls, as opposed to the true freedom that exists within the walls of safety/ethics/right action/the universal principles of alignment.

Later i came back to the bind with patience, firm udiyana banda, and stern ahimsa, and I am again making progress, but this time _real_ progress, with integrity.


I also injured my abdomen several times in twists which compress the internal organs, but that is another story :-).


It is interesting - coincidentally (?), I am currently studying the Yoga Sutra, and I don't really find alot the first part of the sutra very compelling. I'm not a Buddhist & I don't believe in reincarnation, & my work isn't to avoid suffering by escaping the great wheel.

But I'm finding alot that is useful to me in the second part of the sutra - the How To part :-).

I'm not interested in escaping the great wheel - i just want to catch a ride with the Beloved :-).

But that's just how I roll :-).

Christina Sell said...

You know, Dale, I feel much the same way. I actually have an affinity for the reincarnation ideal and always have, although I know that as a committed Christian, that would not be your paradigm, as your "eternal life" is kind of different deal.

But for me, samadhi, getting off the wheel, etc. is not a big guiding ideal or even an inspiration for me in any way. My thing is more about discipleship, deep involvement, radical affirmation, recognition of the sacred and communion with the Beloved. Much more immediate, practical and useful.

Anyway- and yes Tabatha, great to have you back from the grip of "at other times..." I am sure we can all relate. I know I can.