Third week of Yoga
So I am an old retired guy. Not too flexibly inclined. Walking is a daily meditation of sorts for me. I can get beyond or under or through. But yoga is different for me. I’ve never done this before so the old body is kinda crispy. But I will tell you what works for me, what has made me happy, and what makes me want to continue. First of all week 0.
At week 0 of yoga I had been meditating using the Calm app for awhile. I felt the need for a companion piece. Something similar but different. So read about yoga during week 0. Lots of beautiful young people twisting into amazing shapes. I did not see many old timers at all in the stories. I also played with a few apps both on the iPhone and on the web. None of them worked.
The problems are many. They want you to be a 20 year old beginner and twist and move an old body into some shapes that look like pain. Or they want you to do 50 minutes of beginner classes. Why 50 minutes? What is it about doing yoga for over 50 minutes that makes it a sweet spot? The answer? Nothing. There is nothing I could find which demonstrated or defined why a beginner must do that long just learning. Is it to separate wheat from chaff? Find out who is worthy and will groan through the hour? No. There is no reason. It is because of a goal you set or desire of a place you want to be? No. They don’t ask you what you want out of it. None of them are discussed or asked. Somehow the 50 minutes is the standard by which all is measured. There are no beginner classes for shorter lengths.
So then I asked myself what I wanted out of it? What was my desire and goal? I had none. I wanted nothing out of it at first but to try it. I wanted to see what it brought me. What did it give? The real answer is nothing. At least at first. Now flash forward almost a month. Now ask what it’s done for me.
It’s given me more understanding and patience and desire. I feel more peaceful and sometimes less peaceful and sometimes it relaxes me and other times I get less. The outcome is always the same though. After I just feel better. More calm and centered. More in the now of things. Less in the then of things. I also seem to exercise what the meditation instructor calls the equanimity muscle in gentle meditation.
I learned that doing 50 minutes or an hour or 90 minutes is BS. Unless that is what you want. If you want what that brings you there are plenty of resources to give you the goods. No though. For me it was less. I wanted to define it. Today I did 15 minutes and it felt just right. I could not do every asana completely and it was just right. I practiced breathing more with it and it felt good. I did what is called restorative yoga. Slow and easy and holding positions longer. I could do gentle yoga or yin yoga or hatha yoga no flow. I just decide which one for whatever minutes I want. Today I felt out of sorts and I wanted to be babied so I chose something gentle to restore me. Tomorrow I may be lazy again. I don’t know.
Finally I learned that you must set your path or have no path and either have goals or no goals. I do not have some final ecstatic state. I want little things. To feel better. To find myself in the moment. To arrive and then depart. To pop in and pop out. To learn something or nothing at all. In the end all the instructors and websites and YouTube videos will not work unless they put the YOU in yoga. So I set no final conditions for a week later. If I do 10 minutes a day for a year it’s all good. If one day I break out and do 15 like today all good. If I don’t know which one to practice or how long all good. I don’t decide in some thrilling intellectual approach. No dear reader. It’s more and less like all life is.
So what’s your favorite take away. Your mile marker? Your final state? I don’t have one for you. What I know is day by day using this app on my iPhone called Down Dog gives me it all and gives me nothing. I can set it for beginner. For gentle yoga. For 15 minutes. Then I go. The next day I feel good so perhaps 15 minutes of gentle yoga. Maybe one day I feel introspective so some yin yoga for 15 minutes. Or 10 minutes or 30 minutes.
It’s like the rest of my life. No goals. No responsibilities. No timelines. I just go. Perhaps you are driven though by other things and you need the mile markers and successes. I don’t. I want the feeling and the arrival.
The next post I talk about what meditation has done for me on this little journey in 2020 and why I decided to do it. Stay tuned. The old retired guy is learning more and less but it’s all good.
The final post about what both have brought a month later. I’ll sum up things. Offer no reason why and let you wander alone down a dangerous path with no light. Or perhaps you will find something of worth in my little journey is one.