Fraternity

Two BirdsChange is good, yes?

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I’m changing up the style of the Diary to be more reflective of personal progress, separating check-ins with what I would consider to be more of my musings. I’m doing this for a few reasons, but chief among them are so I can source out some of these “essays” to independent publications like elephant journal, Good Men Project or what have you.

(Shameless plug: want some of my writing on your site? Drop me a line!)

I can also more clearly hold myself to progression, because there are times that I’m like, “Oh boy, I slacked this week, but I had some really good thoughts!” Yes, I know asana is only a part of yoga, but it is an important part, especially as I plan to get back into teaching.

So, I was asked if I ever had this feeling that I “half-knew” something. Like, you know how your mind can grasp a concept but your hands/body just can’t seem to match it? I believe it was one of my teachers who once told me a story about a man who cooked fish, and I expanded largely on that story to come up with The Difference Between Knowledge and Experience. This parable really explains actually the relationship I would say many of us—certainly myself—have with yoga, and I’m sure it’s the relationship many of us have with other things in our life.

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A long time ago I made an oath to ride 50 miles in 8 hours before the weather got too cold. Well, the weather got too cold. I blame Mercury Retrograde. Now that Mercury’s resumed forward motion, I’m hoping for a warm day to recover that challenge, and I hope my legs don’t get too “soft” in the mean time. So I’m going to start adding the balancing sequence back into my daily practice; I might chain together a few of the poses for a standing balance vinyasa to really work on the endurance of fine tune balance muscles, and I really need to use this time to get the flexibility of my lower back and hamstrings back after working them really hard these past few months.

One thing I left out of my Difference Between Knowledge & Experience essay is the sense of fraternity that springs up when we meet someone who does what we love to do. I think we yogis take this a little for granted, at least those of us in cities where the yoga going is good. When I got into cycling, I was riding these back roads in Indiana, and I thought I was the only soul out here. It’s happened a few times now, but I’ve seen other cyclists now—some look like travelers, carrying backpacks and gear on their backs and in baskets, but I know there’s one guy out here in full-out bibs (that’s apparently the name for bike shorts?) and performance wear. The first time I crossed paths with this guy, the feeling that I would say popped up was absolutely fraternity. It’s probably helpful that we weren’t competing, but I understood then something that I never grasped in yoga. To clarify two points, 1) I’m not saying that we should seek that feeling, and  2) it might already be there—but again, sometimes I think we take it for granted. I’ll at least admit that I do.

Also, having been out of the workforce for too long, I got back into auditioning (I was just in an Ohio commercial that will be airing very soon I hear), I signed up with a temp agency and will be hopefully getting back into teaching yoga locally, at least through the holidays. I look forward to the perspective that doing temp work will give me apropos to what I realized recently about yoga in being ordinary people.

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For this week, may you gain some experience in something you enjoy doing. May you successfully do something that Mercury would (or did) totally screw up in retrograde. And may you cross paths with a “brother,” someone who gives you that sense of fraternity for going through the same thing as you.

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Photo: Tama Leaver/Flickr

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