Friday, November 5, 2010

Repetition, Repetition, Repetition

Bikram yoga.  It is repetitive.

Everyone knows this.  If you've done it more than once, you know that the class is the same, the postures are the same, the heat is the same, the words are the same, it's the same damn thing over and over again!

If you're a student, even just a casual one, you repeat the same postures, in the same order, every time you come to class.

If you're training for competition, you repeat the same routine and the same advanced postures over and over and over again.  There really are no short-cuts.  You just do it again, and again, and again.

If you're studying to be a teacher, then WOW, repetition has to become your best friend, because it's the only way you're going to cram those 40+ pages of text into your brain, word by word.  You say the dialogue out loud all day long - in the shower, walking to class, walking to lecture, in your sleep.  In posture clinics, there are plenty of cases where the only "homework" for the struggling teacher-to-be is more repetition.

If you're a teacher, then your job consists of saying the same instructions over and over and over, almost every day, often two or three times a day.  And you guys know - I've talked about it enough - that there's so much else that goes into teaching, and it's such a joy, but still.  I have said, "From the side, your body should look like a Japanese ham sandwich" a lot of times!!

So yes, monotony is a fact of our yoga life.  But today, as I was browsing through the (awesome) antique bookshop down the street from my yoga studio, I found a fantastic little book with bits and pieces of Zen-type wisdom, and in the book I found this quote:

"Monotony is the law of nature.  Look at the monotonous manner in which the sun rises.  The monotony of necessary occupations is exhilarating and life-giving."
              - Gandhi

Wow.  Instant clarity!

And we all know this already, in our hearts, but it's good to be reminded.  Because yes, life is monotonous.  Every day we wake up, we do work, we eat food, we go back to sleep.  The earth turns on its axis.  The planets go around the sun.  The seasons come and go.  The tides come and go.  We breathe air, in and out.  Monotony is not just a necessary evil in life; it is also life-giving and therefore joyful.  Our hearts beat out a rhythm, that same monotone beat, keeping our bodies alive.

Just because something happens every day, that doesn't make it less miraculous.  Every day, the sun rises.  Every day, our bodies turn oxygen into life.  Every day, we get another chance to do our work and do our yoga.  What a gift, to do the same necessary and beautiful things over and over again.


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