Friday, April 5, 2013

The most important thing is to find out what the most important thing is.

This is an amazing studio talk with David Swenson and Richard Freeman, from the Yoga Workshop Archives. It's very much worth your time, so make yourself cozy and listen if you can.

Here are a few things that made my brain go 'Ahh' as it tends to happen when I listen to RF.

-The joy in collaborating as teachers. RF talking about how leading with another teacher forces you to have a relationship, 'you must relate, otherwise the whole thing won't work'.

-The problems with 'Pathological eclecticism' or relativism, i.e. 'it's all good man, all teachers are excellent.', as a phenomenon that he says is common in Boulder (insert Santa Cruz). The fact is that some methodologies are a disaster, and some have evolved. He ties it to the tangible: 'not all adjustments are good, some make your arm go snap.' We have to define and discriminate, but we have to do it with a sense of humor. Because opinions change.

-On Mysore Practice: In Self-practice, 'you are the artist in the practice. if you're grounded well in the intention of the practice, then you are able to take the tools and techniques and the sequences and apply them towards the intention. As you practice, you redefine and redefine what your practice is.' As Suzuki Roshi said: 'The most important thing is to find out what the most important things is.' This should be our theme in Mysore practice.

-A led class is someone else always driving the car. In mysore, you get to develop a relationship with the practice. You find your own rhythm. It gives you so much more freedom.

-On the importance of devotion and intention and context: Indian history is full of people who do strong practices (Hatha, Tantra, etc.) out of context and they become famous demons. Someone like Qadafi, would be considered a yogi gone bad. A yogi with no devotion, and only ego behind their practice.

-On the importance of Sangha, or a community of practitioner to help keep you grounded. So if you start to go off the deep end, they call you on it. RF: 'I have been saved by other beings so many times.'

-The importance of Shastra, or the scriptures, as a 'mature machine' of a long line of practitioners who have gone through the same things.

-On the changing physical practice: 'it's not like it used to be.' says RF, 'when I was in my 20's and 30's I was like strong rubber, and it felt good. But due to the ravages of time, and the fact that they body is a memory system...I don't have quite the rebounding quality that I used to have. I practice a lot more slowly. And practice portions of the series, and it's quite challenging for me now.' Pause. 'But I can still pull out a few postures.' LOVE it!

-DS: 'We keep a few poses in our back pocket.'

Here's the link. I have been in a deep RF-inspired mood these days. Been hearing him as I practice, and as it always does, it has calmed me down, slowed me down, and kept me honest.