Monday, September 8, 2008

Mantra Monday: Nothing Good is Easy; Nothing Easy is Good.

Why do I practice mysore style ashtanga yoga?

When I began practicing back in May, I thought it was just another asana practice. I didn't know what I was getting myself into, the first two weeks of practice nearly killed me from the aggravation that my body wouldn't do what it was supposed to and the early hour, chief among a laundry list of other general complaints that I could come up with at a moments notice. But I stayed with it. It was hard - some days I literally had to slog myself to the shala and each and every breath and muscle hurt (at least they were letting me know they were there).

Then it slowly became easier.

At some point I came to the realization that the vinyasas are actually asanas in and of themselves, how breath and energy can move through the body. On Sunday's practice, there was no resistance and fight from my body as D2 slipped my legs over my head and pulled my hands together to be bound in
Supta Kurmasana.

There was no fight. There was no struggle nor drama.
Just with ease. Just with peace.

What is the main and unexpected lesson I receiving from my practice?

Be it law, architecture, medicine, asana - to move forward takes discipline. The willingness to meet yourself again for the first time and drop any preconceived notions of who you are and where you
think you should be. I've learned that these two only limit your abilities and impede progress.

The same goes for Art. Sure, there are people who are naturally gifted, but it's really how you use that gift that makes the difference.

In any asana practice strength builds flexibility and flexibility builds strength. Yeah, I could be content to get my nose to just past my knees in
Paschimottanasana. To get your nose to your shin, you don't muscle your way there, hunching your shoulders forward and rounding your back. You engage your legs, engage the illusive mula bhanda, and pull your shoulders down your back. Soon your body has the flexibility so it doesn't fight itself into position.

If you put in the time and passion your practice (law, architecture, art, asana) it will evolve at a quicker rate than if you just sit and lackadaisically move through life.

This week, I begin discovering my Art practice.
Will it be back to jewelry/metalsmithing? or painting? or something else?

I don't know.

What I do know:
I need to put in the time and have that same discipline to meet myself on the drawing board.


Lee Istrail said...

I read an article in Jazz Times magazine in which Woody Allen said he practiced the clarinet every day for at least a half-hour - even if he was filming around the globe and staying in some strange hotel, and got back home late, he'd pull up his bedcover (to muffle the sound) and play. Now, that is dedication. I thought to myself, if a busy film director can do it, surely I can find at least a half hour each day for piano or guitar (and don't call me Shirley). That half-hour is very relaxing and fulfilling if I approach it with quiet concentration.

Anonymous said...

Surely Lee. ;)

It almost becomes a bit of meditation, a release from the stresses of the day. Maybe rockin' out to _Res Judicata_ or _I bill my time_ in the middle of your day might also provide some release. Although, and I'm sure that Rebekka would agree, driving in DC traffic and playing piano or guitar is not recommended as a meditative practice.