21 October, 2013

Extra junk

Today was vinyasa with Kinndli McCollum on podcast.

This was my second time doing her podcast hour of Baptiste power yoga, and I think she is definitely one of the best instructors. I also am coming to realize that the Baptiste series, when done as intended, is really a fantastic and optimized sequence. There are a lot of ways to "get it wrong," when it's done too quickly, or too hot, or trying to get too creative with the sequences. But when it's kept simple, and the instructor's monologue is kept essential (while still adding the right measure of inspiration), it really works well. This class had me in a decent sweat in a 70 degree room, without really doing anything beyond the standard set of poses. Being a solid Level 1, it did not even include poses like Half Moon or Standing Splits, but still had a perfect intensity.

One of the things Kinndli talked about in the middle of the class, which I recognize is classic Baptiste, was the idea of "What extra junk are you bringing along into the pose?" She was noting that a lot of students will do a half dozen extra steps between poses, itching, scratching, adjusting, drinking, getting out of the moment. I remember that time in my practice. After two years of yoga, I have become physically quieter on the mat. But I still carry a lot of mental junk into the poses. The thoughts about the way my body feels. The thoughts about what I have to do later, or what will happen later. The thoughts about what pose is coming next. The thoughts about how long we're going to be in this pose. The thoughts about hoping that she doesn't make us do Dancer's Pose right now because I really don't feel like it today, etc. All those thoughts. And that's my junk. She noted, of course, that this is exactly what we do "off the mat" as well. I recall a manager (and friend) of mine once saying, with respect to a particular situation at work, "Why are you complaining if you're going to do it anyway?" What he meant was, he knows that I will do the task, and do a good job, so why do I need to waste time and energy complaining about having to do said task, rather than just getting down to business and doing it. That's the extra junk. Hoping, lamenting, worrying, complaining.

Last night, I was cleaning the refrigerator, which is something that I have probably done twice in the five years I have owned it. And, as I was cleaning it, I was reminded of The Karate Kid. Mr. Miyagi did well to teach whathisname that whatever task he was doing should command full attention, as if it is the most important task one could possibly ever do, and to do it with love, care, and pride. There are obviously many different practices or disciplines that offer this lesson - interestingly, they all seem to come from Eastern philosophy. Not sure why that is, but I imagine that it's a culturally important difference that may underlie many of our shortcomings as a culture.

Kinndli. Good stuff. Add her to your "Free Home Yoga" queue.

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