Friday, August 1, 2008

always in my head

In the interest of keeping the yogery alive, I'm writing even though my yoga practice is

A friend was in town recently, from such far away places as my email inbox and Singapore. He stayed with me last week, at my house which is not my house, in my bed which is not my bed. The house sitting is getting to me. I didn't notice until he was here and then I was acutely aware of the sprawl of my life across the town. A little paper trail from house to house. We shuffled from the house with the swamp cooler in east Boulder to Alice's when we stayed in town drinking late. It was interesting having a guest in town with no place to keep him of my own. No way to say this is me in all those normal ways of home ownership; no quirky coffee cups to use or records to play.

He kept asking to take a class with me, and I kept finding reasons not to go. Some legit, some less legit. At the end of the week my body felt manipulated, as if it had believed until then I had been putting it to good use. The same energy that held us together in bed was similar to the energy I use on my yoga mat. There was a weird power struggle there: when I practice yoga I'm responsible for my body, my muscles and bones respond to me. And suddenly I felt my body respond to something else entirely, to someone else. The physical space I've created was shared again, suddenly, surprisingly. And at such close range I could not find the space to share more. Towards the end of his visit I did a small practice at home while he slept, feeling safe enough in the solitude of early morning to even get a little sweaty. A black lab named Ruby observed me from a silent curled position on the couch, a tail wag of approval when I moved into the standing postures.

So the question that remains is the one I hardly know how to pose, let alone answer. What do I think I'm keeping to myself, what do I think I'm letting go of? Would I have preferred someone get to know me by handing him the Boy Scout coffee cup with the broken handle, or letting him peer into my bedroom to see my record collection or the books on my shelf? It is not that I didn't want to share yoga with him; I am notoriously annoying about begging my friends to come take class with me. I don't know what it means that we didn't take class together, and if I did I might not say it here. It's about exposure, about showing your full extent. Chasing after backbends and heart openers with abandon, hurling yourself into handstand like a kid in the grass.

But I have been practicing at home, with the air conditioner and Ruby looking on from the side, chasing after muscle and meaning, meaning which becomes unraveled and lost, the inhales that become the meaning, feeling blessed between each space of movement, the pause and intake of breath, trust and distrust of my map-less body to move toward the place it will inevitably arrive. Back to the beginning, or the end, where it has so lovingly chased towards itself. But I could say all those things about spending a week in bed with a visiting boy, and so I must admit I have not fooled anyone.

Erich Schiffmann:"Yoga is a way of moving into stillness to experience the truth of who you are. It's a matter of listening inwardly for guidance all the time, and then daring enough and trusting enough to do what you are prompted to do."

things I've been working on:

rounding into plank
vasistasana holding leg straight up and hips open
bakasana into sirsasana II and back (complete with the "ee ee" creaky sounds of kira)
eka pada urdhva danurasana (this helps having someone there to tell me how high my leg is. for some reason i have no concept of height or length here. also, i can't seem to lift my leg if my other foot is flat on the ground. on my tip toes it seems much more possible.)
purvottanasana. keeping my neck softened is a giant task. feeling my shoulders round up, trying to keep close to my ears.
finding myself instinctually moving into revolved extended side angle quite a bit. it feels nice to be open in my chest but somehow bound up, too.


Zen Muffin said...

dude. this confirms the fact that you are the greatest living writer in america.

FrenchToast said...

yeah, dude. some day freshmen english students in shitty universities around the country will be reading 'the complete yogery of s.m.lowe"