Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Not Trying

Today: the counterpose to yesterday's thought


Do or do not. There is no try.
Last Saturday, a teacher called Handstand, saw the class full of non-handstands, and stopped to teach us a mechanical point: to move into handstand, the starting point is to draw the navel toward the spine, and then, from there, to draw the abdominal muscles up toward, and into the space of the rib cage. In yoga-speak, this abdominal maneuver is called "uddiyana bandha." I didn't have the shoulder stamina left at the time to really commit to handstand, but I tried the abdominal lock and made a half-hearted attempt to move into handstand. As with any half-hearted effort, I didn't move into handstand. But I did feel a completely unexpected stability that I had never imagined.

So this morning, I thought I'd better give the new approach to handstand a try (as tomorrow I get more shoulder surgery, and any effort at handstand will be out of bounds for a while). I positioned my hands about 20" from the wall, and I tried to engage uddiyana bandha. And my mind freaked on me. I got nervous. Worried. Unclear. Weird. I couldn't bring myself to repeat the structure of the pose that I perceived on Saturday. So I flipped up into my usual version of Handstand, that relies on the wall to keep me from flipping all the way over.

In meditation following practice, I found my mind moving into ego thoughts -- "what I do makes me a model yogi"; "I'm a good father"; "I'm trying Handstand -- that's a good thing, even if I don't do it right"; the posts I make on line are pretty good." I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I. All projection and aspiration. No doing or not doing. Maybe I'm getting Yoda's point, after all.