Monday, 18 January 2010

"Doing something every day is not the same as doing the same thing every day."

OK I'm convinced.

This practice, it's given me a lot already, taken me a long way. I should trust it more.
Maybe all this ( pretty much every post since June) HAS been 2S avoidance.

So lets take a step (or two or three or eight back) and let 2S do it's thing.

Five days 2S, (groan) Primary Friday (TGIF). Saturday off.

'Let us estimate these two chances. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation...'.
Pascal's Wager from Pensées section III 233 (Dutton p67)

24 comments:

  1. (p.s. What my friend said was actually "Doing something every day is not the same as doing the same thing every day.")

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  2. I have had a similar groaning reaction to the return of the six day week.

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  3. Well a lot of what you said made sense Owl, as did the quote from your friend (which I've corrected). The bit about the seeming effects of 2s I found particularly interesting and that made me think of Pascal's wager;

    'Let us estimate these two chances. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation'.

    I'd got to the point where it didn't seem to matter to me which asanas I practiced for an hour as long as I was focussing on the breath and Bandhas. Which is why 3rd or a mixture seemed just as good as anything else. But perhaps there is something to the whole nerve cleansing aspect of 2s. If there is and I practice it sincerely I stand to gain, if not, well I was going to be practicing every morning anyway.


    Actually it's a bit less of a groan than I make out Boodie. I've been practicing most of 2nd along with most of primary for the last three weeks or so. I'm coming around to it and it'll be a bit of a relief to practice less. It's a regime, a discipline. It's fine if there are parts of it I'm not crazy about, that's part of what makes it a discipline. I keep forgetting to take a day off, at least fixing my day off as Saturday I'm less likely to forget.

    The more I've experimented the more I've come to accept (begrudgingly sometimes) that there's probably a reason the practice is done as it is, it kinda works.
    90 minutes, about right.
    Same day off, you know where you are.
    Fixed practice fixed days, same as above.
    Adding a pose at a time to the series your familiar with, makes the whole change less traumatic.
    Sticking with a series longer, you get to focus on something other than the asana.

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  4. Well that's good cause I wasn't exaggerating. I'm a bit bored with asana. I never watch yoga vids these days. I prefer gymnastics or ballet. Practice is mostly just maintaining the discipline & getting through it. Maybe I should switch back to 2nd! :)

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  5. You've had a messed up couple of months though, hard to get settled, no? India is sure to inspire you. Looking forward to hearing about it, what must it be a little over a week now.

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  6. Is it just the past couple of months or me in general? Hmmm... But ya I haven't had much steadiness at all in terms of WHERE I'm practicing and with who.

    I think maybe it's all getting to be a bit too much but we'll see. If for nothing else, getting away will be a great change of scenery. NYC hasn't been too bad so far this winter. It hasn't been freezing and we've had some sun. Today is nice actually. But still... sometimes you need to get the hell out of town right?

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  7. Hi Grimmly, I like your post, it inspires me to keep going, one pose at the time, easy does it. and yes, practicing slowly and in order definitely takes the pressure off and lets (at least me) focus on the inner qualities of yoga.

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  8. Thanks Claudia. got this line of Donne's from 'The Good morrow' running through my head.

    'and make this little room an every where'

    'cept I'm switching asana for little room

    'and make this a-sa-na an every where'.

    Do you think the poem's lovers give a damn what kind of room they're in? Ornate or plane they couldn't give a fig. Perhaps it's the same with asana. Beautiful or not, complex or simple, from Standing or Fourth it's what goes on, or doesn't, in the room/asana that's of interest. The breath, the Bandhas, the space between thoughts....

    And maybe there is something to this nerve cleansing whether I understand it or not. if the above is true then one may as well go with orthodoxy, an asana at a time as not.

    Either way, it's all good and a fine way to start the day.

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  9. hm. hmm. hmmm. don't know what to say. i actually love 2s, but have wanted, how would i say, get done with 3rd, then practice all 3. that would be my personal goal.

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  10. Be careful what you wish for!

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  11. I had a similar goal of course Arturo, but then you have to ask yourself where the 'goal' is coming from. Ambition, competitiveness, or softer versions of those, the desire for a sense of achievement, seeking new challenges....
    I thought I was just looking for a more balanced practice by chasing 3rd, but you just know I would have tried racing on to fourth ( I was already giving Sayanasana the eye).
    You know, I love Primary. it's floaty, it flows and I'm in the zone. I can focus on my breath on my bandhas. I come out of it feeling great. Never really felt like that with 2S, not all the way through anyway. Always irritated me a little and the stupidest asana destroys me, Tittibhasana C! Not Kapo, not Karanda but Titthi C for heavens sake. it's like squeezing out a sponge.
    So maybe I should do 2S until I feel the same way I do about Primary, until I can focus on the breath and bandha so strongly that I'm hardly aware which asana I'm in (feels like that a lot with Primary). I can get through it OK on the breath, but if I'm honest, i've never given it enough respect.
    Sorry Arturo.

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  12. Boodi, your Orange profile pic cracks me up every time I see it.

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  13. It suits me right? :) I love the outtakes from the 3rd orange clip where he goes on & on about being bored, interspersed with silly noises. Makes me laugh every single time. In face\t, maybe I'll watch it again!

    Christopher always says you should decide what practice you're doing Mon-Thurs & stick to that. If you're doing full 2nd of course, it'd be Sun-Thurs.

    Now I'm back to my six day week and it is TOUGH, but I'm doing it...

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  14. Yep coming around, reluctantly, to the five days full 2S. FIVE DAYS (double groan). Was so tempted to make it four and two of Primary but it's probably that fifth day that makes all the difference.
    Must be a shock to the system back to six days of orthodoxy suddenly like that.
    So Boodi....doing anything interesting next week : )

    I was talking about me above Arturo not you, I know you've served your time with 2S

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  15. Ya... with Greg I was doing just 3 thirds a week, but that ONE day less is a BFD. I'd sort of blow out the engines every time I practiced. I'm trying to be regular now. Chris has been very influential in that I feel GUILTY if I don't get in my primary and/or 2nd. I pretty much play by the rules...

    And I had to get more regular cause I'm about to be adding on to this routine. I won't be going to an office every day tho.

    Yes it's a week from today that I leave!

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  16. Grimmly, I like how daring you are, I noticed you changed the blog title again and have the "former titles" on the right, you go!!! I keep wondering about your post... I wonder mostly what was it that propelled the switch? was it a meditation? an englithened moment? or just a silent space in the practice? I am curious about what triggered it

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  17. Hi Claudia. Would be nice if it was as romantic as that, a blinding flash of realization while on the cushion. I remember waking up once in a cold sweat with the clear realization that I didn't want to be a dusty old Kantian scholar and, the following morning, switched my dissertation on Kant for a Continental Philosophy class

    This was nothing like that sadly, more a gradual working things out.

    Nothing really new either, stuff we read about or get told/suggested (sometimes here, thank you all). Working through it though, taking a few detours and wrong turns things finally started to sink in.

    I'd come to terms with the fact that whatever I did practice would have to be some form of Ashtanga.

    Exploring 3rd for a while and finding the asanas were or would be doable (even hanumanasana , eventually ) meant it lost a bit of it's it's mystique and thus some of it's more immediate enticement.

    Coming up with the sequence over Christmas that included Primary, Intermediate and part of Third, and practicing it for three weeks reminded me how good it was to practice the same thing everyday.

    Deciding that sequence was great but too long, gave me renewed respect for how the formal series were laid out.

    Having the Krishnamacharya idea rattling around my head for the last six months that you should practice 40 minutes of asana 20 minutes Pranayama. Got me thinking that which asana didn't perhaps matter so much and that it was more a case of how you practice them, how you inhabit them.

    Some wise words from Owl coming at just the right time that resonated with some of the above, plus she took the time and effort to present a view of 2S the 'nerve cleansing' aspect that I was prepared to take on faith, with a little help from pascal.

    Oh and Owl used the word regime which resonated with me.

    In the end, kind of obvious. Had to be Ashtanga And as was pointed out, I'd perhaps been avoiding 2S and not giving it a fair chance to do it's stuff. So an orthodox 2nd series regime of five days a week and one Primary, worrying more about the breath and bandhas than which asana or series I was practicing.

    And of course I still have all the fancy transitions to play with to get my floaty kick, so not all hair shirts.

    Sorry long answer, yeah I hear ya Liz, 'shut up and practice'.

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  18. Well! Good luck with it. Happy practices...

    A few points...
    - 2nd series is supposed to annoy the hell out of you for a while. It's part of the nerve cleansing!
    - it's precisely BECAUSE 'it doesn't matter which asanas' that we're able to submit to the regime. Even when we feel like doing something else.
    - yes, it's often that 5th day that makes all the difference.

    For me it's been very valuable to follow thos sequence instead of chasing asanas I fancy or falling back on am easy practice. Those are just fluctuations of the mind (although I do cut myself some slack SOMEtimes.

    Enjoy!!!!

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  19. i dunno, i started with 1s in 2002, started in earnest with 2s around 2005 and now it's 2010 and my curiosity is about 3s. from my perspective, for me, aiming to do 3s is not a wrong view of the practice. i would never be eyeing poses beyond 3rd series. maybe i might try one pose in a workshop context, but i would not pine after the series.

    i don't know if it is because the greater attention of my daytime is to work, but what has worked for me has been to decide which series i was working on that week. then i would put the poses of that series in between beginning (standing) and closing poses. wherever i finished with the poses in the middle, i would begin the next day, as long as it was a logical stopping/beginning point. my teacher was OK with that approach. my practice these days reflects that. in a shala in Asia i would not do that, but this is what i do at home and what i did in my teacher's shala in SF.

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  20. but then probably i'm wrong, and the traditional approach as mentioned by Owl and Boodi is what we all need to do. it's just that i find that practicing that way can be energy-zapping for a person working 12 hour days. there has to be a balance for people in professions that have extreme long hours.

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  21. I could NEVER do my practice with even a full-time job, because they always expect more than 40 hours...

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  22. Would never criticize anyone for what or how they choose to practice Arturo, advice and suggestion is one thing, criticism another. It's got to be what's right for you at a given time, and you've been practicing long enough to know what''s going to keep you on the mat, especially in the situation you find yourself in now. I admire you immensely for managing to keep some kind of practice going at all in all these hotel rooms, especially since you were used to Shala practice.
    I don't regret anything about how my own practice has evolved. I've kept up a six day practice without injuries. The VK stint was very useful as was exploring 3S. It got a bit confusing and messy for a while but that was just working things out. A return to a more orthodoxy 2S practice just seems to make sense to me at the moment, it's what I want to do and probably what's best for me at this point as well. Great when those two come together.

    I'm lucky, I don't have to leave for work until 9AM, and I only work up the road. I have a lot of respect for anyone who gets up at 4am or so to head off to a Shala practice before a long commute to work. I have it easy.

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A Reminder

from Kalama sutra, translation from the Pali by Bhikkhu Bodhi This blog included.

"So, as I said, Kalamas: 'Don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, "This contemplative is our teacher." When you know for yourselves that, "These qualities are unskillful; these qualities are blameworthy; these qualities are criticized by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to harm & to suffering" — then you should abandon them.' Thus was it said. And in reference to this was it said.

"Now, Kalamas, don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, 'This contemplative is our teacher.' When you know for yourselves that, 'These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness' — then you should enter & remain in them. Buddha - Kalama Sutta
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