Saturday, November 3, 2012

Sadhana I

30 days at the yoga centre, sharing a practice that begins at 6 a.m. and finishes at 7:30.   Usually I aim for 20 minutes of meditation, 20 minutes of asana each morning.  This is a 45 hour class, spread over 30 days. It began October 31st, so I am now four days in.
There is great difference between just practising and sadhana.  Sadhana is a way of accomplishing something... a journey that leads somewhere, not the mere treadmill of thoughtless practice...   Light on Life (p. 167)
My goal is to improve my daily practise and take it to a new level.  To bring greater awareness to the poses, and to deepen my breath meditation. Also to boost resiliency, both physical and mental.  Who knows?  Along the way I may get some insights on how to be a better person.

It is a great follow-up to the weekend intensive with Zubin.  During that workshop Marlene strongly suggested I should take some classes with her, that I needed stronger guidance at my level and would benefit from an advanced level of teaching.

This sadhana is the perfect opportunity to learn from one of the best.  Marlene has studied with BKS for decades, traveling to India multiple times to refine insights.

I actually studied with her back in the 80's, but she scared me away. Lots of yelling!  Still, she left an indelible impression.  In the 90s, I again sought teaching in the Iyengar method.  This new teacher yelled a lot, too.  At this point I nicknamed Iyengar Yoga "Angry Yoga," but kept going to classes.

I've come to understand the teachers were emulating BKS, who took a severe approach, in part due to cultural reasons (apparently they yell a lot in India).   I've also heard it was part of a defense mechanism, to discourage female students from seeking more intimate forms of comfort from the exotic and physically dynamic guru.

Anyway tomorrow morning is Day 5.  Clocks turn back tonight, so a whole extra hour of sleep.

I have noticed that the rest of the day after these sessions, I am generally more aware.  Senses heightened.  Less attached to outcome, more focused on the present moment. Less self-centered.

What is happening here that isn't happening in my home practice?  For starters, Marlene often notices and corrects postures  I would be quite content with at home.  She pushes me much harder than I push myself.  But it is also the corrections... just when I think I've achieved a modicum of alignment, an adjustment comes.  Sometimes subtle, sometimes quite significant.  It humbles the ego to a great extent.

Pranayama illustration

1 comment:

Annika said...

Thumbs up! I admire your commitment.