Yesterday I braved the ravages of three counties of the Worst Traffic in the Known Universe (Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego) to Tim’s Ashtanga Yoga Center. Destination: Tim’s 5:30 Introduction to Second Series.
Ashtangis know this is a rare class. To have Tim Miller teaching is, of course, even rarer. The room was full. I rolled out my rug next to my favorite photographer, Michelle Haymoz. I was excited to be there. Because my return to Second after my knee recovery is relatively recent, I figured it would be a needed refresher.
“Refresher” turned out to be an understatement.
On the second Surya A, Tim pulled my hands out about a foot, lengthening my nice and comfy adhomukha to something that probably looked much more like a stretching dog. It just got more intense from there. When we arrived at kapotasana, Michelle gave Tim a look. “What, you’re not ready? You want research poses?” We did. A few poses later, Tim reminded us, “You asked for it!”
Soaked and trembling, I tried to keep my purpose in front of me. I’m here to see through this, I thought. This is not me doing this, I reminded myself. I tried. I’ll admit to you that I failed. I was thrilled when Tim put my fingers on my toes in kapo, when he told me to jump into bakasana B, and it happened. Even when I held my own in the last three poses, I felt spent and pleased with myself.
Later, in the car, facing that long 100 miles in the other direction, I realized I’d failed. I had a long drive to ponder that. You’ll forgive me if I took mental refuge in my “fall back position,” so to speak–to William Blake. When an individual soul “falls” in Blake, it’s in the moment when she believes she is separate from her imaginative vision of the world. The imagination takes the form of the artist/blacksmith Los, who in that moment picks up his hammer, and begins the hard labor of restoring unity. But first, he gets angry:
I must Create a System, or be enslav’d by another Man’s;
I will not Reason and Compare: my business is to Create.
So, the mental labor begins again. I spent the drive trying, essentially, not to think. The terrible and wonderful thing about the practice–practice–is that you get another chance, every time you roll out your rug, to Create.
Wish me luck, again.
Posted by Bobbie