Thursday, 18 October 2012

A few weeks ago, we were charged with the practice of Ahimsa – non-violence.  During the weekly Vinyasa powerflow-class-from-hell (as I have affectionately dubbed it) last night, a YTT friend on the mat behind me noticed my seething bitterness towards our teacher and whispered to me, “Ahimsa!”  I replied, “It’s not working!”   

When she was driving me home after class, she told she could see the anger emanating from my mat.  I wasn’t surprised.  I felt that the class was so badly put together, and the teacher’s misdirection so frustrating and painful in my body, that I actually almost walked out.  Extreme, but true.  In my defence, after a horror day at work the day before (which involved a half-naked woman spitting at me), I finally went to the physio and was diagnosed with patellofemoral syndrome, which basically means my patella and femur are bashing together, hence all the clicking and pain I’ve been experiencing.  It looks like this -

So, with all this going on, the whole Ahimsa thing is still a struggle at the moment.  This means that launching into our latest yama to study, Brahmacharya, seems a little daunting.  Brahmacharya literally means ‘walking in the way of God’ but really it’s about energy moderation.  I’m not a person with any sense of self-restraint.  I will eat the whole packet of Tim Tams all at once.  I will read a whole book from dusk to dawn.  I will spend every penny in my bank account.  According to our manual, anything that causes ‘turbulance in the mind and stirs the emotions might be seen as a violation of Brahmacharya; overstimulating foods, loud music, violent movies, and inappropriate sexual behaviour.’  Damn…

Today I went to my compulsory Hatha session and the teacher, addressing two new-to-yoga students, said that they were welcome to sit out and observe  or just have a lie down and relax if they were struggling or even just ‘having a hard incarnation’.  That’s exactly what’s happening right now, I thought.  That’s why all these lifestyle observances are not coming so easy. 
In Meditation from the Mat, Rolf Gates claims, “As we practice Brahmacharya, we have the opportunity to enact the balance that is yoga in all we do.  We can bring moderations to our thoughts, words and deeds.”  Sounds good, in theory, a little balance.  Now to put away the chocolate biscuits…

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