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08:20 pm: Insights

I’m riding a clear, smooth yoga high. Went to the heated vinyassa class at Thrive, where I’ve been dropping in on the occasional class for the last three years. A really good session will yield at least one good insight that I can ponder through dinner. This one provided two:

1) In Judo training there are usually two roles: The Uke and the Tori. The tori does the technique, and the uke allows himself to be used for the technique. Being a good uke takes a lot of practice. You need to give yourself to the tori, but also protect yourself. You need to be flexible and go where you are put, but not simply flop or jump. You need to anticipate the technique to protect yourself, but not anticipate it so much that the tori learns bad habits.

In yoga, you are your own Uke. You relax and give yourself to yourself for the practice. All of this in a context where there is no fundamental “self” to point at. It’s tricky.

And the second is a bit odd, even for me:

2) During savastana (complete relaxation), one lays on the mat with eyes closed and releases the energy and tension from their body. I took the opportunity to do a mental exercise in which one dedicates any “merit” (whatever that might mean) to other people. I was specifically thinking of the folks in Haiti – but my mind broadened to a few people from work – to people suffering in other places – and generally to the world in a compassionate sort of way. At the same time I went through one of my preferred mantras:

So long as time and space remain
So long as sentient beings remain
So too may I remain
To ease the suffering of the world

As I settled into that mindset I felt, very distinctly, soft and ephemeral hands cradling the top of my head. It was an immensely comforting and reassuring feeling. I found that I could increase the sensation by broadening my mental gaze – which I did.

Realistically, it was probably just my hair drying out or something – but let me tell you – it was odd.

Originally published at chris.dwan.org. You can comment here or there.

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