23 May, 2012

Addicted to the truth

Today was 75 minutes of Hatha with Cassandra.

When we come to the mat, we are, whether we intend to or not, opening ourselves up to "truths" that lie beneath the surface. No matter why you show up, no matter what you hope to get out of the practice; fitness, relaxation, meditation, enlightenment... even if you were dragged here against your will by a well-meaning friend (as I first was), just being here creates that possibility for discovering things.

It's hard not to make these discoveries, because there's not a whole lot else to do in the room. There are pretty much three choices: practice, rest, or think. We are always doing one of those. And, I am not sure it's really three, because I could argue that practice and rest are different sides of the same coin. And I could take it one step further and say that thinking is *not* practicing. Thus, we are either practicing or not practicing. "Here now or nowhere," as Baron Baptiste wrote.

But whether we are practicing or not, we are exposing ourselves to this "truth place." Either I quiet my mind and allow things to reveal themselves to me as they come, or I fight it. But when I fight it, I might even be learning more, because that resistance to something is often more revealing than open willingness. What am I resisting? Why am I resisting today? Why am I fighting it?

In spite of yesterday's double, I felt a thousand times better today. Thank you, Ibuprofen. My favorite vitamin. 2400mg a day, and I feel pretty close to "normal."

Class started at 104 degrees today. I'm pretty sure that was the peak temperature. That's standard Hatha, yes. But it doesn't actually end up that way every day. I was roasting hot, but my mind and body were ready for it.

Pretty standard Hatha series, and I felt good enough that I pushed a little on some of the poses. In Low Lunge, I managed to lift my back knee off the floor today. I only started trying this a couple of months ago, and it really depends on how my body feels. It's a pose that doesn't involve any of my injured parts, so I figured I'd give it a try. Beyond that, I was very cautious and conservative. My primary goal is to keep practicing without need for an injury timeout.

The truth that is continually being revealed to me through this process is that I need to learn to go easier on myself in general. I am reminded of a couple of yoga quotes I've heard in many classes: "How you treat yourself is how you treat others" or "How you do anything is how you do everything" or "How you show up on the mat is how you show up in your life." Three statements, all basically saying the same thing. What I have seen in my life and on my mat is that I have very high expectations of myself. And I have tended to have similarly high expectations of others. Unrealistic, at times.

These expectations probably led to some of the injuries I am nursing, as well as much of the suffering I have endured or caused in my life.

I have always felt that the truth was preferable, no matter how unpleasant. Yoga helps discover truth from the inside out.

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