In 2008 I booked myself on a freediving course in the Submarine Escape Training Tank (SETT) in Gosport, England (which was an amazing experience by the way, here’s a video showing what it’s about) and as a preparation for it, they recommended doing some Yoga.
At that point I had never done any Yoga, I had issues with a replaced hip and was rather brutally unfit. I, therefore, decided I couldn’t possibly attend a regular class (sigh), and so asked the Yoga teacher at the local gym whether she’d be willing to do some one on one sessions with me. Continue reading
“Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.”
This anonymous quote is as annoying as it is true. The last thing we want to hear when in the middle of suffering is that it is only and entirely our responsibility! “But, he was horrible to me!” – “But, I just broke my leg!”.
The reality is that the events in our lives are not, in themselves, a cause of suffering, although they can definitely be a cause of pain, be that physical or emotional. Before you shrug this off, I am not talking semantics here, there is a really big difference between pain and suffering. Pain is what the world does to us, suffering is what WE do to ourselves. Suffering is how we react to pain, it is the response we give to the stimulus of pain.
…simply because there is no ‘there’. Yoga and Zazen have been a constant in my life for some years now, one of the biggest lessons I am learning is that there is no endpoint. Both Yoga and Zazen are non-attainment practices, in different, yet very similar ways.
“nowhere” by endre tót (1980)
As part of Yoga teacher training we have a fairly long reading list, some books I love, some a bit less, and some really irritate me.
The sections I most resent are invariably about some kind of supernatural phenomenon, attainment or power. Stories of Yogis happily being buried alive for months, stories of energy fields, of chakras opening, of cancers cured and states of higher consciousness being attained. I actually came out in long and passionate rants about some of them (apologies to the poor folk I subjected to these!) and have several scribbles on the books like “bollocks!”, “really?!?!?!”, “get the feck out!” etc. Continue reading
As stupid as it may sound, Monday this week was a pretty momentous day for me because I managed to get into a (barely passable) rendition of the Urdhva Dhanurasana (upward facing bow) Yoga pose.
So what? Firstly – are we not supposed to cultivate a level of detachment from results? And also – a pose is a pose, right?
Well, yes and no. This is not just “a pose” we are talking about, no sir, this is the mother of all sucky poses, one invented by the forces of evil, specifically to make ME suffer!