Monday, October 25, 2010

Reaching Enlightenment

A young man in his late teens or early 20's walked into my class this morning. He's been to class a few times - no more than 3 times total. It was a bit of a surprise to see him show up so early at the 6:00 a.m. class. He walked in the door and said "Yogi - teach me how to find Enlightement." I thought it was a joke - but he was serious!

"What makes you think I know anything about enlightment?" I asked.
"Well haven't you found it yet? Aren't you close?" he asked.
I said, "I don't know if I'm close or far - I just come here every morning to practice - so if you want to practice get a mat and let's start."

This poor lad! He is a handsome young man - tall, and appeared to be fit & strong. But his body was so so stiff and awkward. He was greatly challenged in the most basic poses. I gave him props and modifications for Down Dog and Padangusthasana. He was cramping, shaking, huffing and puffing. He couldn't straighten his legs.

He said "I can't straighten my leg all the way cuz I worked it out the other day."
I said to him, "We gotta have you stop working out then!"

The other students in the class chuckled. I felt for the young man as I had been in even worse condition 16 years ago.

As we continued to practice I asked him "So why do you want to reach Enlightenment?"
He said, "Why not?"
I said, "Well, from my understanding - when you reach Enlightenment all craving and desire has ceased - and I still like frenchfries - a lot!"
He was quiet for a while after that statement. I imagine he starting thinking about the things that he desires and craves - like wanting to reach Enlightenment. We kept practicing.

I thought about his question the entire class. "...haven't you found it yet? Aren't you close?"

The truth is that I probably wouldn't know "Enlightenment" if it hit me between the eyes. How do you "get close" to enlightenment? Isn't that like "almost pregnant?" I would think you either ARE enlightened or NOT. And underneath all those thoughts - was the though "what is enlightenment anyway?" I went into a Marichiasana Twist.

"So do you think it's possible?" he asked.
"Do I think what's possible - for you to keep you leg straight in Trikonasana?" I asked.
"NO" he said, "for me to reach enlightenment?"
I looked at the position of his foot and asked him to turn it out. Then I said, "Come back tomorrow and we'll work on your poses and we'll find out - until then, lift your kneecap please."

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Holy Smokes!

Has it been that long since my last post?

At least I've been practicing every day. That's right - every day -6:00 a.m. - rain or shine.

6:00 a.m. Sunrise Practice Class - regardless of what time I go to bed the night before -regardless of what I ate the night before. Every day for the last 16 months now. Since June of 2009.

I practice every morning at 6:00 a.m. (except Sunday which is at 8:30). Anyone is welcome to come to class. I have first-timers, old-timers, heavy people, thin people, tall people, short people, young people, old people, flexible people and stiff people. It doesn't matter who comes because yoga is for everyone and it's all about willingness.

6:00 a.m. this time of year is dark and getting cold. Some people say that they're too stiff to practice in the morning - but the morning is the perfect time exactly because you're stiff!

You see, the practice is honest in the morning. You can't kid yourself. You have to "back off", "slow down" and be "deliberate" in the pose. You can't fake it in the morning. It has to be the real deal.

So I practice at 6:00 a.m. and I love, love, love it. I hold the poses longer. I challenge myself by doing poses two, three - sometimes four times until I move to the next pose. I support the students that come and help them modify the pose to their level. I use a helluva lot of props - but that's half the fun too!

Yoga in the morning - so good. Come see us sometime. 6:00 a.m. - Mon-Sat. Downtown Yoga -