Thursday, July 28, 2011

Practice Makes...Practice (Running Into the Mirror, Part Three)


It’s been so long since I felt at home
in the mirror...

Jorma Kaukonen

...they say...or at least some of them do...that we call it yoga practice...no matter how much we do of it and for how long, no matter what our level of proficiency...because it’s practice for the rest of life...which might sound cheesy, but it’s also probably true, and valuable...(sometimes that’s the case with cheesy shit)...(but not often)...(this is still Yoga for Cynics for chrissake, not Yoga for People Who Get Their Feel-Good Philosophies of Life From Washed Up Sitcom Stars Turned Motivational Speakers, or something)...

...that includes, of course, the sustaining-the-challenging-pose thing...or the as-far-as-you-can-get-into-the-challenging-pose thing...with poise and aplomb...as well as that continuing-to-work-on-that-challenging-pose-without-concern-for-the-fruits-of-your-actions thing...(also known as, y’know, that-whole-Bhagavad-Gita thing)...

...but also, and perhaps most challenging...the trying-to-feel-good-about-the-fact-that-the-person-on-the-next-mat-who’s-never-been-to-one-damn-yoga-class-before-can-do-a-perfect-bird-of-paradise-pose-(svarga dvidasana...though, judging by my recent Google search, there's some dispute about that)-with-no-apparent-effort-while-you-can-barely-get-your-“peace fingers”-around-your-big-toe thing...as well as its opposite and corollary, the trying-not-to-feel-the-slightest-bit-smug-toward-that-ultra-spiritual-person-on-the-next-mat-who-can’t-come-close-to-doing-gomukhasana-arms-despite-having-practiced-for-years-longer-than-you-have thing....the both of which might be summed up as the acknowledging-that-you're-totally-competitive-about-yoga-on-the-inside-even-though-you're-totally-against-the-very-concept-of-competitive-yoga-on-the-outside thing...

...and, needless to say, egolessness and awareness are even harder to sustain...or achieve in the first place...off the mat...but, then, at least part of that problem is that the taking-yoga-off-the-mat thing is part of a two-way dialogue...in which we, often as not, bring non-yoga onto the mat...so that what we take off the mat ends up being closely related to what we brought onto it in the first place...

...and that, of course, is why we gotta keep practicing...

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Dr. Jay, nice post! but, I think it is 'Svarga Dvijasana' (Svarga: heaven; dvija: twice-born). Haven't figured it out why it is called so; would love to know if anybody did..

Lydia said...

I just noticed your Top Yoga Blog award, and I think it is marvelous your blog was recognized in this way.
You sure pegged the competitive/non-competitive aspect of yoga class. I think that kind of comparison is human nature, not good or bad. I think one reason I love to do yoga with my cat(s) beside me is because there is none of that going on!

TheRiverWanders said...

I wonder if it's possible - or even desirable? - to be unaware of self and aware of self at the same time. That's like saying "you can" and "you can't" at the same time about the same thing. At least to me.

Mandy said...

Love the Sisyphean metaphor, exactly right for the practice!

Matt Ovens said...

Wow, this is awesome! Bookmarked.

Thanks - Matt

Anamaya Retreats said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anamaya Retreats said...

I love your blog! Thank you for your perspective on things. I am still fairly new to the yoga community. I used to only practice Bikram's Yoga until I started working at a Yoga Retreat Center in Costa Rica. I am still very beginner and have a lot to learn. I have been practicing for about a year now. But most recently over the past few months have really started to see a shift in things and I am wanting to learn more. I am looking forward to taking the Yoga Teacher Training Program in the fall! I hope this will help answer the many questions I have...or not? Anyways your post reminded me of exactly what I was thinking today in class that no matter how much I practice I need to practice more. There is so much to learn!