Friday, May 25, 2007

Hatha Yoga - Ayurveda - Rod Stryker - Day 3

I was too ticked off on the 3d day to write "cleanly". So, days 3-5 I'll write as I best recall and the notes taken.

Why ticked off, you ask? Have you ever paid good money (over $600) for a class (5 of them meeting 2x/day, so about 10), and had the instructor show up late (almost every time from 10-30+ minutes late)? It somehow seemed dishonest to me for a Yoga teacher (following the ideas of honesty in the Yamas, I would hope) to not be on time for a class. Once in a while, I can understand, but this was pretty consistent--especially on day 3.....

The other side of the story: no one appeared to mind, but me. (I asked a few folks.) The afternoon's "intentionally" started 30 minutes late so we would have time to make notes on the morning session. For me the 2 hour lunch break was plenty of time to do that. With that said, even if the students are given extra time to work in class, shouldn't the teacher be there?

He was pretty good about answering questions outside of class time. Still bugged me that he wasn't even physically present during the paid for class times.

That night, I had time to reflect and feel my feelings about this. The next day, I took off my watch (joy in ignorance), focused on the questions he did answer with gratitude, committed to myself as a teacher to be timely (which I usually am), and focused on "going the extra mile."

Interestingly, because I was focused on "going the extra mile", on my way to class the next day I gave my protein bar (snack for later) to a homeless fellow. Oddly, if I had been just pissed off and grumpy (which I was the night before), this idea wouldn't have occurred to me.

Interesting how what we focus on can impact the lives around us as well as our own mindset :-)

****Now onto some philosophy from class.****

Rod had an interesting way of describing Adhikara. He defined it as "The process to better understand yourself." The idea being that the more you know who you really are, the less you suffer. On of the Niyamas in the sutras talks about the important of svadyaya or self-study.

Suffering comes from not knowing who you are. The steps, as Rod described, of ending suffering (one of the primary ideas of Buddhism) are as follows:

1. World: We look to the external environment to remove our pain. This doesn't work, as most of us know by now. The environment is temporary and cannot be relied on consistently.

2. Body: Some folks then look to the body. Exercising and becoming fit feels good and the body is the temple. We get massages and facials and all is well... for a while. Over time the physical body begins to deteriorate. It, too, is temporary.

3. Mind: Others turn to the mind. The more we know, the more education, the happier we will be. Some knowledge does bring joy, and some brings grief. Again, this doesn't always work, and for some, the mind, also, begins to deteriorate. Additionally, the mind can be quite fickle.

4. Breath: (In my own opinion, most folks today are in one of the first 3 steps. I'd venture to say 95% at least.) We begin to turn to the breath to find happiness. Unlike the first 3 steps, it is constant and stays with us. In times of turmoil or ease, we always have our breath.

5. Atman: Atman is your soul. This is going deeper and more permanent than even the breath. It is through the breath that we realize our soul. It's really an amazing process! Here disappointments disappear. From the individual soul, we come to realize and remember the universal or supreme soul. Now that's the real Yoga!

With all that the timeliness is ever so trivial.

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