Tuesday, September 26, 2006

first draft

I suppose you could also use the term to refer to life.

At any rate, before I delve too much into work, I want to throw out some random thoughts-quotes-experiences from the Kest workshop. I ended up with twelve pages of handwritten notes. (Oh, so that’s why my right hand is slightly sore today.) I’m not going to get all left-brain and try to organize them in chronological order. That’s not the way my head works these days, anyway. I’m going to just pick the first few lines from each page, then continue down the pages day by day. It might take several months.

I practiced this morning. I was up at five. Well, OK, I was out of the bed at five, not necessarily awake. I’ve taken to sleeping in my yoga clothes – most of which double quite nicely as pajamas anyway – because it takes too much effort to change clothes in the morning. Brushing teeth and splashing some cold water on my face seems to help, too. So if I can make it into the bathroom, I’ve just about got it made. That seems to be the hardest part.

This morning I was comforted by the awareness of other yogis in my time zone also dragging their asses out of bed at five in the morning. It’s not just me; I’m not alone in the effort.

My balance still sucks in the morning.

An hour doesn’t seem quite enough to get to all the places that need attention.

But good news – I got a new cube yesterday from Hyun Won! So if I get up at 4, I can do the two-hour Kest practice then walk in the afternoons. Er… maybe. I’d have to go to bed at 9. So we’ll see.


On to the first set of notes.

Meditation. Yama – awareness. Bhakti – gratitude. Karma – compassion. 5 minutes each. Ten, if you want to deepen the meditation. The only requirements for meditation are stillness, sitting in a comfortable position, eyes closed to eliminate distractions. Lying down isn’t preferable because you’ll go to sleep. This is done at the end of asana practice but before savasana.

Paraphrase: Western psychotherapy seems to focus on working through and deconstructing past traumas. Eastern philosophies tend more towards simply not feeding unwholesome, negative patterns. [I’m not sure I agree entirely with that. My therapist is all about letting go of old shit and finding ways to move in a positive direction, without worrying so much about the past. Worked for me. Hell, I’m still working on it.]

Side stretch pose with the leading hand on the outside of the leg is harder than on the inside – you don’t have the shoulder there to keep your knee from flopping in. If you straighten the front leg, voila! you’re in triangle.

Long, slow and deep practice in the afternoon on the second day. Towards the end came the Monster: an unassuming, simple seated forward bend. Held completely still, no fidgeting, no adjusting, for Ten Solid Minutes. Ten minutes never seemed so long (or so short) in my life. Breathing was an enormous part of this pose. 7-second breaths put you at 5 breaths per minute – a calm, serene state of mind. 10-second breaths (which I could not manage and remain calm) results in 3 breaths per minute, further into a state of bliss. 15-second breaths result in 2 breaths per minute. “If you can do that, you’re in another world,” he says. “Stop fidgeting and breathe.”

Finally (because I really do need to work today,) Friday’s back twinge was all but gone at the end of the first evening. I’m thinking it was the heat in the studio generated by all those bodies; kinda like doing yoga in a sauna, although the
studio wasn’t heated. Didn’t need to be.

More later.


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