In a few words: Don’t do it. At least, not if you want to achieve … whatever it is you want to achieve via your practice.
That’s my summation of Richard Freeman’s latest “Ask the Expert.” Here’s a little bit and the link to get it all. (Do it, you know you want to.)
What impact does smoking marijuana have on prana and ashtangavinyasa yoga in general? — Matt
Smoking may allow you to focus the prana temporarily within a limited field, but the overall effect is that the mind is less able to focus because the drug short circuits the more holistic approach that a full eight-limbed practice cultivates. Both the pranic and mental backgrounds of any focused state of mind have to be cultivated meditatively throughout the day by dealing with relationships, emotions, and the practical things of every day life.
And, remember, Freeman is writing from Boulder. It makes NorCal look like … well, someplace not terribly friendly to marijuana. So he’s a brave, brave man.
I had half intended to corner Tim Miller during our week with him in Mt. Shasta for something akin to a “formal interview” about the Confluence, but seeing him on vacation, being out in nature and under the shadow of the mountain all conspired against it.
We’ll circle back around to that; we do have a plan to connect with all five teachers in the coming weeks to months.
But I did, on one of our hikes, ask him what he was excited about, personally. I suggested maybe the opportunity to see old friends that doesn’t come along very often.
Yes, he agreed. It would be great to be with some very old friends he rarely gets to see. And then he added one more thing I thought very revealing about what we all can expect.
“And the wives,” he said.
Now, having that answer come out at Mt. Shasta isn’t too surprising. The first of the two weeks is very family-oriented; this year, I believe, there were 10 kids who weren’t yet teenagers, plus two teens who were in the practice room each morning. (Their commitment to the practice did not go unnoticed by the younger kids, so there may be a handful or more of new Ashtangis on the horizon.)
But I also got the sense from Tim’s answer that the Confluence, for him and the other four teachers, will be a rather joyful coming together. And I expect that will shine through during our classes and the “conference” talks each day. I am expecting to see very relaxed, very comfortable teachers who will be imparting their knowledge in a comfortable and happy environment.
Of course, that doesn’t mean we all are heading to an anaswara retreat. The past week in Shasta was a holiday, and I’m physically (not to mention emotionally) blown apart by practicing in Tim’s presence and around his shakti. It will be intense, especially in those moments when one of the teachers you don’t know comes over for a quick adjustment. (And equally intense when your regular teacher comes over.) I do think, though, that we will get a rather intimate and unusual window on these teachers.
And that will be due in no small part to the wives.
Since Ashtanga is the “yoga of no,” and that leaves us fewer interesting things to talk about — no late night band reviews, can’t try out the newest happening bar, won’t be running down LA’s best donuts anytime soon — we are left to talk about other things: our restricted diets, our curious Saturday regiments and other unmentionables.
We’ve had quite a bit of interest and emails about our giving up wheat, following Bobbie’s foray into the book “Wheat Belly” and her leading a writing course at UC Irvine with a food theme. (It wasn’t a fun food theme, it was a here’s-all-the-terrible-things-we-eat theme.)
So, for those with ongoing interest in this subject, here’s our diet- and wheat-based posts. We’ll add to it as we add new ones.