I came home and ate a light lunch, worked on my computer and then did a long back bend practice. I worked a lot with John Schumaker's sequence from Feathered Pipe with a few additions and embellishments. It was fun to revisit his teaching and work with his instructions in my own practice. I ran out of steam right around the 3-hour mark and made some food and talked to Kelly before heading back up to The Castle to teach. I taught a forward bend class which seemed to go well. We worked hard in some standing postures and then went into baddha konasana, janu sirsasana variations, pascimottasana, supta padangusthasana, triang mukhaipada pascimottanasana, eka pada supta viarasana, urdhva prasarita eka padsana, and krouncasana. Again, we had a lovely group assembled but with lots of the regular players missing. I think its summer.
I worked with the theme last night about dignity. Gioconda and I were in a discussion about that on my drive into work so it was on my mind. See, the thing to me is that the great invitation of yoga is to experience that inner state of dignity directly and then to make choices from that recognition. I am not so much into a list of yoga do's and don'ts that we are supposed to follow in order to be "good yogi's." I'm really not. I feel like I have, in some way or another, been trying to fit myself into someone else's box since I was a small child. So, I am not at all interested in fitting myself into a "yoga box" of someone else's making. (And I have tried that approach, believe me. Some boxes are too small for me for sure and others, frankly, are a bit too big to be useful for my purposes. But that is another story, I suppose.) Anyway, what I am interested in is learning and living what facilitates access to my Heart and then making choices that keep me lined up with what I have accessed. And for me, when I touch that inner place of my Heart, I find, again and again, that a great dignity resides there.
Recognition such as this begs the question, "So now what?" So how do I bring this to my life? What actions will dissipate this awareness? What behaviors will refine it? What patterns or samksaras so I have that might sabotage me? How might I let go of what stands in the way of my living from this place? And so on. For the most part, it is a movement from the inside out, not from the outside in.
This so now what? question is such a hallmark of our yoga, I think. Not only are we on an inner journey but we are on a journey from the inside out as well. The recognition we find in asana, meditation, contemplation and so forth ideally initiates a next step of action. We don't leave the insight on the mat or put it on the shelf with our neatly folded blankets after class. No we take it with us, and chew on it and digest and assimilate it until it becomes us. And obviously, some things digest easier than others. Sometimes the insights we get are like small snacks and are easily incorporated. Others are like gigantic meals and cause indigestion, stomach cramps and all kinds of gas and bloating before they digest. (just sayin'.) But the point is- it's ours--our very own insight, brought to life through our very own, painstaking digestive process. It's not a rule from the outside we are conforming to.
So here we are again, I suppose, in the age-old exploration of chit- ananda. If we know the source of our own dignity (Chit) we will express it with joy, clarity and creativity (ananda). Anyway, more could be said, but its time to move on with the day. Kelly and I have a play date this morning, then a little work, some practice and teaching tonight. it's my last night teaching Thursday afternoon so I hope you can make it.