Going Off the Deep End

I don’t like motorcycles much, never have.
I think my Dad instilled this in me. He was a rancher when I was a kid. The area where we kept our horses, was not far from the city and bordered on a wild area along a river bank that was popular with dirt bikers. Every weekend the “bikers” would cut the barbed wire fencing surrounding our property, so that they could increase the area were they could ride. The problem with that was, when they cut the fence, they often scared our horses out through the open fence and we spent days trying to round up the livestock and repair the fence. It drove my father mad. He posted no trespassing signs and would often camp out along the fence line on weekends, patrolling his property. There were confrontations between my father and the dirt bikers and then things just seemed to keep escalating. My Dad could not let go of what he viewed was proper, respectful behavior. he was not wrong, the actions of the “kids” and they were just kids, did threaten his property and livelihood. The kids just saw him as an angry old man. In the end how he dealt with this was to move himself and his horses further from the city.

I am my Father’s daughter.

Motosai taxis are a big part of my life now. I travel the city teaching Yoga and often the quickest, most efficient way around is by motorcycle taxi. I have learned to enjoy buzzing through traffic on the back of one from place to place. The down side of my relationship with this service (and can be attested by anyone, Thai included, that lives in Bangkok) is motosai taxi drivers are openly surly, often a little drunk and more often than naught, pirates. For the last six weeks I have traveled to the same place every week day morning, at the same time. Every day for the last six weeks, it has been the same price. Today the price is 10 Baht more. It isn’t the money, 10 Baht is not a lot, it is the fact that they see me standing there every day and assume that I need them and they will just extort whatever fee they can from me. I argued with six of them this morning, then the seventh one pulled up, when I asked him how much, he quoted the regular price. I asked why all the others suddenly wanted more, he told me that they thought I was stupid and would pay. I am not stupid and I have lived in Bangkok a long time and I know how much local Motosai fares are.

Today this drove me mad and I struggled against the situation with all my might.

In Yoga classes teachers often talk about “going deeper” into postures. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. I often find myself at odds and struggling against the verbiage we use as Yoga teachers for cueing. What does going deeper mean? It means something to me, but it means something different to you. Is “going deeper” the best cue? I have been asking the people I practice with over the last week, what “go deeper” means to them… push harder, pain, stay longer, do my very best, breather deeper, I don’t know, but I always wondered, take the posture to its fullest extreme or do I go deeper when I am already in the deepest expression of the posture… these are some of the things Yogis told me this week.

Maybe we mean by “going deeper, taking the time to reflect and come to your own awareness, the awareness of your breath, your physical body and perhaps your mind.

If you are familiar with Patanjali and the Yoga Sutra’s, the following may come to mind: Sutra 1.2: “the settling of the mind into silence”, Sutra 2.46: “the physical posture should be steady and comfortable”, Sutra 2.47:” [Asana] is mastered when all effort is relaxed and the mind is absorbed in the Infinite”.
I could be incorrect, but I not getting anything about pain, pushing harder or finding the deepest edge of a posture in any of those statements.

Patanjali is suggesting that we relax into the moment. In releasing effort, we cease doing the pose. When we cease doing the pose, we are free to be the pose. If the definition of yoga is “the settling of the mind into silence” then to go deeper in the yogic definition is to cease struggling against what is and to instead settle into the vast peacefulness that is available in each moment. It doesn’t matter whether the asana you’re practicing is active and challenging or quiet and restorative. At this moment can you relax into the truth of the posture?

The mind is much more stubborn about changing its habits than the body is, with patience and softness, your experience of what it means to go deeper in yoga and your practice will evolve.

Although I am my father’s daughter, I don’t want to be seen as that angry old lady, so I stop struggling against what I cannot change. I will bend, not to the situation but to how I see it, if I can’t change my mind, I can change how I perceive the situation… when next you see me it will be on my bicycle tooling around Asoke, spreading the joy of Yoga.

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