Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Wrestling, Yoga, and That Touchy-Feely Loving Kindness Shit...


the race is long, and in the end it is only against ourselves
Baz Luhrman

...have a terrible tendency to treat the yoga asana thing kinda like a wrestling match...I mean, I get that whole loving-kindness-toward-yourself thing...in theory...and yet...there I am again telling my knee to get down on the goddamn floor...whether it’s actually good for said knee to go all the way to the floor or not...

...and that’s not even mentioning calling my tendencies terrible...

...these things get complicated...

...especially since, even as I begin to see that vicious circle of recrimination clearly, that voice in my head keeps up...jeezus christ, yer the only person in the damn room can’t do a goddamn crow pose without fuckin’ fallin’ over...yes, the Foul Mouthed Grand Inquisitor even finds his way into yoga class... that’s the thing about the yoga crowd—so open and accepting they even let the Foul Mouthed Grand Inquisitors in...so long as they take their shoes off...

...for that matter, he even sometimes makes his way into this blog...yer usin’ that lame-ass Spanish Inquisition metaphor again?...jeezus , yer stretchin’ it ’til it breaks...kinda like torturin’ your readers on the rack...how fitting...this post suuuuucks...and, actually, I was wrestling with this post until three A.M. last night, and, this morning, deleted most of it...

...the truth is, sometimes the Inquisitor’s criticisms are valid...I mean, that stuff I cut out really did mostly suck....I just wish he’d be nicer about it...

...a person who’s likely encountered some actual flesh-and-blood grand inquisitors, Aung San Suu Kyi, wrote kindness is in a sense the courage to care...which, I think, means something other than the courage to beat one’s opponent into submission in a wrestling match...whether that opponent is a leg, a blog, or a Foul Mouthed Grand Inquisitor...

...since, in the end, what is a Foul Mouthed Grand Inquisitor but a badly wounded part of oneself, desperately trying to look tough...and, as such, as much in need of that touchy-feely loving kindness shit as anybody?

12 comments:

RB said...

If you can't get your knee on the floor, the problem is tightness is your hips. When you feel yourself yelling at knee--recalibrate your foul-mouthed inquistor and focus attention and energy on stretching your hip. It's a good distraction and it helps.

svasti said...

Homo-erotic overtones of your wrestling image aside... yeah, you gotta kick that idea to the curb.

Yoga is not being able to do all asana perfectly, like the stick figures or photos of others, or like the teacher at the front of the room.

All bodies are different. Some people have longer/shorter limbs and/or naturally wider/thinner body frames. Some people carry injury. Others have tightness in some/all joints.

No two people look the same or have the same capabilities. Not even the most flexible of people - everyone is different.

Doing asana shows you where your body is at, in a specific time and place. As you know, its not how it will always be, although it might be that way for some time to come.

Thinking violent thoughts or considering yourself as inadequate because you can't do what you think you should be doing is not helpful. Instead, I always explore where I am limited, in which direction and think about other asana that might aid in a further opening.

For example, when I injured my shoulder earlier this year, downward dog and many other poses became really painful. After resting for a week or so, doing dolphin pose became theraputic for bringing more openness back into the shoulder joint. I still do it now, because I find my shoulders are generally tight after several injuries.

This is how we can personalise our practice. We know what's hard/easy for us. And we work out what we need to do to make the hard asana easier, and practice that.

Eventually, as we relax and our body learns its safe to open that much again, we can do what we previously couldn't.

So, no need to yell at yourself. Just explore the possibilities.

patti said...

You need to open your heart-space Dr Jay. Make space for some self-love :) (I love the 'courage to care' quote!)

Breathe, shoulders back gently and open your chest. All parts of your body will fall into their natural place, and will gently respond to further stretching. (in absolutely any pose) All in good time.

Just observe each time where you get to - mark the spot in your mind - then next time try to go one notch further. Don't even look at the person next to you.

Do you do unjiya breathing? It really helps in a strong pose that is challenging.

The hip tip is a good one.

Tell the FMGI to 'talk to the hand'!

This Brazen Teacher said...

I am consistently impressed with your ability to take the most grandiose ideas of human nature- physical and metaphysical- and reduce them down into edible snacks for all of us.

Eco Yogini said...

Sigh. I totally get this post. I agree with Svasti- although it would be wonderful to be able to do the asanas just like our instructors- traditional yoga postures were created for young boys.... so not exactly realistic for each yogi/ni. Also- what I found interesting was speaking to a friend going through teacher training who explained to me that like svasti said- all bodies are different, so if you're arms-legs whatever are too short-too long whatever, then you may not be able to complete the posture! and that's ok. :)
Being non-gumby, I have a version of your 'yelling' voice in my head too. It takes work and some loving kindness. Allowing yourself grace- and then not feeling guilty when the 'yelling voice' pops up once in a while either :)

plus you're a famous yoga dude! Really- now all you need is a stalker and you're ready for the big times! lol.

tricia said...

Love the first quote and I love this post! You do have a way with words young lady. ;)

Janie said...

I have a Grand Inquisitor, too, but I try to tune him out whenever possible, or drown him in bleeding heart touchy feely.

Brooks Hall said...

Dr. Jay, It sounds like you have an awareness about your Foul Mouthed Grand Inquisitor—friend. I wonder what he looks like... Whatever he looks like you should put some funny underpants on him--like Underoos(remember those?) or something. He would definitely wear them so you could see them, and hopefully he wouldn’t seem so nasty anymore—just a foul-mouthed brat. I say this because I have an inner bully who calls me a “stupid bitch” and other things at the most inappropriate times. She has big red cheeks, anger-wrinkles, bloodshot eyes and ponytails. This wounded little girl is short, but she can raise a fuss. She doesn’t know that life offers good things for her future self—who is ME. This little trickster is a figment from my past. I don't know if your guy's kind of the same, but that's what came up for me as I read this. Enjoy!

Christa said...

Good Lord man, you should see my fat thighs trying to do eagle. What a frickin' comedy that is.

Thankfully, my "I suck" mantra is gone. Now I generally laugh at myself (out loud) and at times to the chagrin of my fellow yogis. Screw them if they can't take my laugh of your occasional F bomb.

It's just yoga.

berenice said...

hola Dr. Jay, i LOVE your Foul Mouthed Grand Inquisitor persona, reminds me a lot of my best friend here in the US, he's a white guy from Detroit who thought me how to swear in English heh heh, you have great sense of humor...

on reprimanding yourself during Yoga, I understand you, i am a beginner of sorts with Yoga and even if the instructor tells you that is NOT a competition and to forget about the other disciples, one (raised the western ways) always take a peek at others and tend to get ashamed of one's lack of elasticity etc.... but a little by little I've learn to truly enjoy myself while practicing Yoga, for me is rather easy to forget about the competitive part 'cause i am not competitive but i am too self-aware of my "bad" shape... so i get it's tough for you but hey! just let yourself go! and enjoy the non-perfection, huh?

i am not sure if i mentioned this movie to you before, it's actually a documentary on a Zen monk who is the chef for a Zen monastery in San Francisco, i think you'll enjoy it 'cause like you, he's a Zen monk who gets upset, swears, and gets mad! i always thought of Buddhist and illuminated people almost floating around all the time baring a wide smile, and as this man reminded me, monks, yogis, etc. are first of all, humans! with many flaws and different styles of managing ourselves!

here the link for How To Cook your Life, really! give it a try, you'll love this documentary!

http://www.cookyourlifemovie.com/home.html

and also, on foul mouths, are you familiar with David Sedaris literature? I'd recommend you to read a short story on his book "Me Talk Pretty One Day," the story is "You can't kill the Rooster"
here an mp3 of it, hope it works, you'll laugh and realize you are not the worst when it comes to bad words heh heh

http://www.imeem.com/logovo/music/Tu28neng/david-sedaris-you-cant-kill-the-roost er/

earthtoholly said...

Hi drjay,

Maybe I can borrow your FMGI sometime to take a look at my posts-in-progress? Mine's all busy rantin' on other stuff at the moment...

And, not yet a practicer of yoga, (Boy, I am such a dreamer!), I can only imagine the pain of gettin' certain body parts to do certain things. I'm guessin' it's much worse than being in the bike saddle for the first time in a looong while...

Rhiannon said...

"Since, in the end, what is a Foul Mouthed Grand Inquisitor but a badly wounded part of oneself, desperately trying to look tough..and as much in need of that touchy-feely loving kindness shit as anybody"?

I have always liked the way you write your post..and your great funny tales and intellectual ways in your blog..yet I think what you wrote above is just about the best and "Bravest" think you've ever written on here.

Rhi