I spent the long bank holiday weekend doing a yoga-cum-meditation course. And since the weekend weather was so dreadful it was reassuring to reflect that I was making good use of the time that I would have spent indoors anyway. And for those of you who doubted my recent observations about the lack of fellas in my social life, there were three men and 17 women. I expect a man would comment that he could get all the healthy exercise he needed in the gym and without the spiritual overlay.
“Reaching physical goals is not the object”
My main concern before I went was that my snoring would keep the other people in my room awake. I apologised in advance to my two roommates for my possible night time affliction. The little saucer of earplugs on the mantelpiece made me think that this problem was a common one. Yet blow me if it wasn’t I that was kept awake by rhythmical loud snoring. Still, meditation at 7am helped me put the whole thing into perspective. There was a lovely three hour space in the afternoon and, when others improved themselves by walking, running and reading I caught up with my sleep.
The great thing about doing yoga with a Buddhist teacher is that there is absolutely no competition, no temptation to look at your neighbour and compare yourself with them. Reaching physical goals is not the object. Remaining quietly happy in your pose and being able to smile is more important. I still remember the Jane Fonda videos and the refrain, ‘no pain no gain’. Definitely not that.
My meditation still needed work and my mind insisted on sliding away from the breathing and thinking about something else, i.e; what to get for L’s birthday, will there be vegetable curry for supper? Or what do I do if that cheque hasn’t arrived when I get home? I tried to imagine a big wicker basket beside me on the floor so that when these thoughts crept in I gave them a nudge with my elbow so that they dropped into the basket. At the end my basket was always full.
I did feel very refreshed and relaxed on arriving home. However, considering that we did so many beautiful poses such as leaping monkey, proud pigeon and the locust, it was rather disturbing to think that when I crawled out of my car I must have looked like an elderly arthritic labrador. Still as a Buddhist would say, you start from where you are.