News and Updates
Morning and evening programs are doing so well. People are working hard and I think we’re all gratified at just how satisfying this practice is. Sadhana isn’t just hard work, it’s also sweet and surprising and humorous and collegial.
Jess is off to Mysore for October and November. Brian will be there in November. We’ll schedule time to get together when they get back so we can hear their stories.
Led class: I say it all the time and really mean it: led class is where you learn the movement of the practice. It’s where you build muscle memory for precision. It’s where you learn real ease in transitions. I know brand new practitioners can find it daunting. Be brave! Come to led. I’ll explain how to navigate the class when you show up in the room. You don’t have to do it all, and it’s not weird or disruptive to not do it all. It’s completely normal.
Moon days in October are Sunday, the 13th, and Sunday, the 27th. Shala will be closed.
Yes, The Saying Is “Change is Hard.” But Change Is Just Change.
This practice is so good. Over time, we learn so much about remaining calm in the face of change. Every human knows that things are always changing. But most folks hide that from themselves, or do crazy things to try to avoid it. Our practice is a great tool to learn how to work with change. We look at ourselves every single day. We get on our mats with our bodies and our minds and we experience our current state. And then we do it again the next day. And again and again. And the very process of doing this triggers changes in our bodies and our minds.
This transformation of our bodies and minds involves both joy and pain. As a friend of mine said, “You don’t think you’re going to be able to completely restructure your body without pain, do you?” It’ll add that the same is true when we restructure our minds.
So yes, there will be pain. It will go away. Other pain with surface. It will go away. There will be more later. That’s the nature of life. I’m always surprised when people think yoga practice is about love and light and unicorns. It’s deeper than that, you guys.
So yes, there will be pain. We don’t fetishize it. We acknowledge it, we work with it, we let it go. We move on. We learn that we are antifragile systems that heal. We’re not reckless, but we’re not afraid.
Learning to work with pain is an important part of a lifelong practice. People usually run away from pain or try to plow through it or try to “fix” it so they can preserve the status quo. But we’re here to change! If you keep practicing with intelligence, if you control the common urge to 1) ditch it, or 2) keep barreling ahead, you’ll get resolution. And in that resolution is the seed for faith.
And as always, I’ll remind you that 99% of the people around you (in the shala and in the world) are experiencing some degree of physical or mental or emotional pain. Feel deep compassion for your fellow beings — and if you have no pain, take a moment to count your blessings and then RELISH your practice.
Do you know what word Sharath says more than any other word when he’s working with students to perfect poses? Relax.
Relax. Relax. Relax.
“When the mind is quiet, the asana is correct.” — Pattabhi Jois
What we’re looking for in practice is steadiness and sweetness. Sthira and Sukha.
Can you find that balance point where the internal structure of the pose is active and firm, but not tip over into rigidity and overexertion?
Can you focus on one pose, one vinyasa, one breath at a time, and avoid the tendency to mechanically crank through the practice? Can you be relaxed and completely present with each breath?
It isn’t easy, because we tend to go too fast, to overexert, to look past where we currently are, to look ahead, look ahead, look ahead, always grasping for something more or other instead of being completely present where we are in this singular moment. In this breath.
Completely present in this singular moment. Relaxed. Calm. Ready for the next inhale, the next movement, the next posture, but not forcing it.
This is what we practice.
Can you move into the posture softly and breathe easily? Can you relax? Can you let the next inhale, movement, posture arise and unfold organically?
THIS is what we practice.