Friday, February 21, 2003

i can't say often enough how much i enjoy reading yoga journal as an addition to what i learn from bettina and ralph in my courses.

it's reassuring to be able to reflect on their instructions with their insightful, extensive articles and advice pieces, and it gives me a sense of community i haven't found in class yet. - i've lately felt a bit like a freak, because the folks in both courses (apart from bettina and ralph, obviously) seem to see yoga primarily as a physical practise, aren't very interested in the rest and don't practise at home. also, the german magazine equivalent, yoga aktuell, seems a bit less knowledgeable than yoga journal.

it puts me in an awkward position in class, being as enthusiastic as i am. thursday night, bettina asked whether anyone practised at home, and i was the only one who said yes, and also told her how difficult i found it to find a practise that fit my needs. i felt like i was "showing off" to the others, even though that was not my intention at all. i have turned to bettina after class to ask my big questions already anyway to avoid this. but still.

- it's similar with my flexibility, too: i am a bit hyper mobile, and can easily achieve plenty of asanas, especially the twists and bends. on thursday, the new girl in the group "complimented" on my flexibility and during some of my asanas (she was right next to me), and it made me uncomfortable and further pushed the feeling i was "showing off" and doing my asanas to impress others, which i am not.
it's the way my body is, so what? it's not that great, anyway. being able to get into an asana isn't hard: it's the working on it, that is, and after all inflexible folks don't have to go very far too feel the intensity of an asana and to work on it, but i do. yeah, my head goes quite easily on my shins, so what? i still need bettina's help (by gently pressing my lower back 5mm further down) so i actually get to a point where i can work on the asana.

but what are my alternatives? pretending to not be able to achieve something would be silly and render being in class useless. and hiding what i feel about yoga, how strongly i feel about it, and how eager and willing i am to learn would be silly, too.

so the problems i have in life anyway, are invading my yoga practise, too.
once again, i feel like i am "too much", too intense, too direct - a feeling that has been with me through the years.
again i am embarrassed and almost ashamed by my body, even though this time it's standing out not because it's too big or too busty - it's too "good", too flexible.

it's something i will need to work on, not being embarrassed by my body, not being embarrassed by my eagerness. - i will not hide my love for yoga, and i will concentrate on how i do the asana, and not on anyone else. i will accept new girl's compliments happily (if they happen again, that is) and not worry about it, and maybe tell her that being inflexible is actually a lot easier. i will admire and be happy for everyone in class achieving the best asana they can do. - i noticed on thursday already, how happy i was for the dark haired gal to do such a perfect headstand and masterfully controlled rise into it. quite amazing, how happy i can be for others. a lovely feeling.

i will get a chance to work on all this tomorrow already, am very much looking forward to my monthly extra saturday class.

in any way, i felt like noting two articles i read at yoga journal lately that both had some excellent messages i want to keep in mind.

everybody upside-down
"studying the yoga sutra and bhagavad gita will help you structure a yoga practice that is balanced and wise. practicing alone will help you purge the urge to perform your asanas for others and cultivate a deeper understanding of your body and its rhythms so that you can practice in ways that respond to your needs."

life without sex?
"what brahmacharya means is a deep clarity about sexual energy." (...) first and foremost, it means being aware of your own sexuality, being clear about your feelings and needs at every moment. i don't think one needs to be celibate in order to progress in yoga and spiritual practice, but i definitely think one has to be very careful and clear about the sexual choices one makes. you're not going to be a whole healthy person unless you're whole and healthy in your sexuality."

smart stuff, indeed.