Wednesday, May 16, 2012
the discipline of doing less
I really enjoyed reading nobel's post on the opening prayer. I love the opening prayer (and especially hearing my teacher chant it), and my practice doesn't feel complete without it. I am currently learning the closing chant. When I started practicing at the shala, I was pretty shy about chanting by myself before starting my practice, so I would stand at the top of the mat and repeat it silently to myself (which did not have the same effect), but sometimes I would hear someone else chant, and it would instantly make me feel more centered, more present both in the room and in my practice. That is what made me really commit to chanting it out loud, even in my breathy nervous voice (which is slowly becoming a bit less breathy and a bit more secure). What probably also helped is that I practiced at another studio which always had chanting at the beginning of each class, which was often my favorite part of the class. Additionally, since I am Jewish, I am used to singing words in a language I don't really understand. Sometimes I think the words have more power in languages I don't know, because I sing with more sincerity, for the enjoyment of the sound of the words, than I might if the chant was in english. Sometimes the teachers at the other studio would have us sing in english, as well as sanskrit, and the english always felt pretty darn weird.
I am discovering that doing less in practice is a discipline in itself, one that I am woefully bad at. I am supposed to be doing less vinyasas because of my wrist/shoulder, but once I get started it didn't seem that bad (though I should know better by now, as today is the first practice day after a massage). Well, there is always tomorrow. I did dial it way down on the lifting up, just lifting my butt and letting my feet stay on the ground, and not lift up every time either, but with that too, I should have done even less. 50% effort would be right for these vinyasas. Make them easy. The other odd effect from the bodywork was that it took me forever to bind in mari D. It was as if my body forgot how to bind. My shoulders were so sore after that massage on Monday, and I suspect it undid much of the weekend's feldenkrais lessons. Very curious what the rest of the week will bring.