Sunday, August 5, 2007
Class #4: Simplicity
Returning home from work Thursday, there was a letter in my mailbox from a good friend, now in Chicago pursuing her PhD. Such a simple pleasure, such a long forgotten gesture. With this letter, my thoughts in class Thursday remained on the elegance and grace that is found within simplicity.
The focus of Thursday's class was the triangle series, four poses. Simple twists and elongations of the spine, that gently massage, strengthen, ground, and lengthen the body. One of the poses is Namaste Forward Bend - Parsvottanasana. In this pose, you extend your torso over and down the front leg, with your hands in prayer at your back. During class, I knew I could get my hands into prayer behind my back; however, my mind just couldn't figure out how to get my shoulders, arms and wrists to connect and properly rotate. So I settled on one of the modifications.
After class, I asked the instructor how to get to prayer at the back. He asked me if I could get to downward prayer. No problem. He said that maybe my shoulders haven't opened yet. He then put his arms in to upward namaste at his back. As I watched him do this, something clicked and I easily flipped my hands into namaste at my back. He looked at me and said, well, there you go.
A very simple form, the triangle is able to be very dynamic while still grounded - something that many of us strive for on a daily basis. A triangle is probably the truest expression of equanimity - there are three sides, each supporting one another. It has a solid base while reaching to lofty heights. It has an elegance and a playful element. If any of you have ever seen Donald Duck in Mathmagic Land, you know that triangles are playful shapes.
In this discussion, there are really two types of simplicity: that of the classic black pump and that of being barefoot. On the one hand there is the simple confidence that can be found in striking out and asserting yourself in a classic black pump to take on the world. On the other, the joy that can come from walking barefoot in the grass and reaching for the sun. Both important to remember in our days worrying about bills, commitments, and other various and sundry stresses.
Oh, and bakasana? Yes I was able to hold it for 3 seconds on Thursday, and 10 seconds today.