Well, I am catching up on a few things while my lunch settles before I practice and head back out to Castle Hill for the evening class.
I taught Focus on Form this morning which went well. We had a lot of new folks in class today which is usually the case at this time of year. People who have been out of class for a while seem to show up around now, renewing their commitment to practice and getting a jump start on New Year's resolutions and so forth. It was lovely to have some new people in class and of course, I am always happy to see my "repeat offenders!' (That is a joke. I mean that affectionately!) We worked with Supta Padangusthasana 1 and 2 A LOT and took it into parsvottanasana and trikonasana. Good, strong basic work.
I got going on the theme of the midline and about lining up with it and about how the process of alignment is physical and metaphysical and yet the metaphysical is really grounded in the simple things like lining up the mats, lining up along the vertical axis and lining up by balancing the front and back body and doing all of that as a way to line up with all that is central to who we are.
I got to thinking about that as a theme this morning because I was thinking about how the yearly cycle is ending. Which got me thinking that a new cycle, a new year, is also beginning. And then I got to thinking about how really the Cycles of Creation (birth, sustenance, destruction) are everywhere we look and how really the yogis have always been concerned with what is not subject to that cycle, what is eternal, steady beyond and beneath apparent fluctuations of circumstance. And while in our human lives we certainly learn to engage the cycle skillfully and grieve our losses, celebrate our new beginnings and so forth, the spiritual domain is about what is not at the affect (or is it effect? I need an editor!) of those forces.
I remember one time Lee was talking about a sangha-mates passing. He said to us, "If you really knew what had happened, I mean, if you really understood what it meant for her to pass in the way she did, you would not feel sad at all." Our friend had died a wonderful death, with several miracles involved and his point was that her death was truly auspicious to the point that if we experientially could grok what really happened- not just theoretically or intellectually understand- but if we could really get it- we would not feel sad. He was saying this was totally different than the notion that that we would have a good perspective or keep her death in the proper context but that literally, we would not be sad because it was, in truth, not a sad thing at all. And from where he was sitting, her passing was not something to grieve in the least.
Of course, we can get into trouble as spiritual practitioners if we are truly sad and pretending otherwise. We call that a "spiritual bypass"-- when we use spiritual concepts to rationalize avoiding our feelings and bypassing the psychological material that is arising within us. I suppose that is another post for another day. I do think learning to recognize, give voice to and find appropriate expression for our emotions is super important work and is a big part of the foundation for spiritual practice. For sure. My point is that Lee was really giving a yogic perspective on living from the direct experience of the eternal rather than the viewpoint of the changeable.
And I suppose what I love about Anusara Yoga and the philosophies that inform it are that we do not need to chose between one perspective or the other. We endeavor to see them each as Real and valid at the level they exist. At the level of creation, the cycle is Real. At the level of the Eternal, the cycle is illusory. But since here we are in bodies, in the game of creation, some skill at navigating the ups and downs of creation, sustenance and destruction is pretty darn useful. Sally Kempton told me recently that navigating those domains is necessary and that the ability to live effectively and honestly in each must be earned through direct experience over a long period of time.
Anyway, all of that that was the musing that became a midline class and a lot of work in Supta padangusthasana. (bottom leg, the eternal leg, don't let it change. top leg it does all kind of fancy things- it is the leg of the relative domain. Like that. Ah yes, good times.)
After class, I had a good meeting with Stefania and came to some decisions about my schedule which I have been chewing on for a while. I am going to shift my teaching schedule and start teaching the 6pm class as a Group Practice beginning next week. We will add 15 minutes onto class time to have enough time for a full-spectrum practice. Sam will take over the 9:30 Focus on Form class and she will sub for me at 6:00 while I am gone. This will give me some more time to rest and re-charge while I am at home and also still give me a way to connect with the community and see people when I am in town and free up my daily schedule a bit.
I looked at my calendar and realized that I am really only home for about 8 days each month starting January-March and teaching two classes on Wednesdays just packs that time too full for me to get a handle on my personal life in any meaningful way. So, this is my solution, thanks to the wise council of Stefania.
Let's see, I suppose that is kind of it.