Sunday, May 31, 2009

Weekend reading!

Not much writing this weekend, too busy practicing! :) Doing lots of doubles to get ready for advanced seminar at the end of the month, based on the theory that building some extra strength and stamina now will help prevent me from being turned into a puddle of mush after the first class of the seminar - because then I would miss out on enjoying the rest of the classes. It's not masochism, it's just a good investment.

Meanwhile, I got a new book this week called How Yoga Works by Geshe Michael Roach and Christie McNally, and it is freaking awesome. I'm only a quarter of the way in and I already love it, and I can't wait to see where it is going. I was up reading it til 1:30 in the morning on Friday night (because yes, I am THAT big of a dork).

The book is all about yoga, of course, but it's told in narrative form. The plot follows a teenaged girl who is traveling from Tibet and is put into prison. Once she's in prison, she starts teaching the captain about yoga, to help relieve his bad back. The writing is really simple, and sometimes funny, which I like, because it lets all the information shine through so clearly. (If any of you have read Sophie's World, it reminds me of that book a lot.) In just the first few chapters, the book covers things like the importance of not skipping and of trying the right way - yay! - and then it moves on into topics like breath and chakras and energy, presented in a really straight-forward and non mumbo-jumbo kind of way. I'm actually learning a lot. Here is a little teaser:
"... did you ever wonder, why yoga seems to work for some people, but not for others?"

He shrugged, as if it didn't strike him as very important. "I don't know, everyone's different. Some people try it and take to it, some people try it and don't."

"But they try it," I said. "That's the point, you see. They try it, because they think it might help them - help them feel better, help them look better. And then it works for some of them, and it doesn't work for others. Didn't you ever wonder why?"

He shrugged again, looking a little bored.

"But it's important, you see. Yoga is a pretty serious thing to start. It takes a good amount of effort and it takes a good amount of time. And in many cases people try it for some very serious reasons - they've hurt themselves somehow, or they need to make a big change in their lives. And so they try. But why try, and try so hard, if you can't be sure it's going to work for you?"

This caught his attention - it dawned on him that we were also talking about whether or not yoga would work for him.

"I see your point," he said, with more thought now, "but I don't see where you're going. Yoga just works for some people, and doesn't work for others. You just have to try and find out which type you are. That's just the way it is."

I shook my head with violence... "Just the way it is doesn't exist. 'Just the way it is' is a lie. And it's a lie that people use to cover up the fact that they won't take the time or the trouble to figure out how things really work.

"Now yoga works. It works for the people that it works for... and would also work for the ones that it doesn't seem to work for; they just need someone to teach them how it works. It's a terrible thing to think of someone going around for the rest of their life with something that hurts as much as your back does, just because no one ever showed them first how yoga works."

I'm not gonna tell you how it works right now though. ;-) I really can't do it justice. Find the book! I will try to give some kind of review of the whole book when I am finished with it, but so far, I just can't recommend it enough!


DodgerRoger said...

I was taking class yesterday and the teacher was talking about how a student was complaining about knee pain that he felt in certain poses. The student said that he never had the knee pain before starting bikram. the student had been practicing for a long time. When the teacher watched the student practice, he noticed that the student did not keep the knee locked the whole time, but would lock it, and release it, lock it and release it. Doing the yoga incorrectly can injure yourself as well!

Later that night, I was reading How Yoga Works and on page 31 the captain is doing some pose incorrectly in order to touch he forehead to his knee. Supposedly it was his "best" pose but he was doing it all wrong. The main character says - "We are here to make you healthy again, not to touch your head to you knee." How true, how true...

thedancingj said...

YES, exactly!! Kind of eerie how that works, isn't it? I think that book is psychic. I loved that section, when the girl was saying, "It's not about what it looks like: the Captain with his forehead on his knee," and then she got him to do it right and he gets SO annoyed and says "Look!! Now my head is 2 feet away from my knees!" and she just thinks he looks great. So glad that you are reading the book and enjoying it!!