8 Feb 2011

Pain and Laughter

So it's been a week of pain, not excruciating eye watering pain, but low level, just enough to dampen enjoyment of practice.  Have been sticking to primary, minus Chaturanga,  Prasarita Padottanasna C and Purvottanasana, they are the painful ones, tentatively did Prasarita C yesterday and hmmm it was OK.  Am treating this with care as I want to heal well.  Snowboarding is fine but balance a bit off.
Just finished reading The Name of the Rose, an interview with the author Umberto Eco drew me to reading it.  He had such humour, a funny academic who said that "the first duty of human beings is not to take things too seriously, otherwise they become Bin Laden".   Well I agree with that, being prone to seriousness, I try very hard to be light.  But what a long, serious, philosophical, dark and misty book.  Certainly not easy light reading, and I even thought about quitting at one point (I have never not finished a book!) but continued on, encouraged by the moments of medieval wit, and the beauty and darkness of monastic life.  There were a few theological debates threaded throughout the essentailly who did it plot, one of which was the question of laughter and it's place in Christianity.  Did Jesus laugh? Aristotle's comedy and views on laughter play a major role and in retrospect it was a thoroughly fulfilling novel.

Got me thinking, which is also a good sign, no?  About laughter and pain.  All those serious monks and their techniques of self torture, hair shirts, self-flagellation.  At times Ashtanga could feel a bit this way, if it weren't for the laughter and joy that Pattabhi Jois taught with, as it should be.  Some people, do however take it too seriously, yes it is serious business, but to enjoy and laugh and smile and practice makes the whole thing much more effective.

After which I was flipping through Gregor Maehle's book, talking about samskara...
"...the body we have today is nothing but the accumulation of our past thoughts, emotions and actions. In fact our body is the crystallised history of our past thoughts" Nicely put.  Boy do I have some work. I have certianly changed A LOT but there are some deeply engrained samskara to be worked through.  Feel as though I am getting there, slowly, surely in my own time.  This injury is surely all part of the process.

Practice, practice, practice.


  1. Sorry your injury is still hanging around, guess reigning our practice in sometimes is another aspect of the discipline, but hard though. Good luck with modifying it and staying patient. Do you know Kevin's blog, Journey of my practice http://globie.wordpress.com/2011/02/06/highly-modified/

    He's just getting over a nasty infection and surgery on his arm, interesting reading how he and his teacher are modifying his practice.

    Umberto came to our University to speak at the urging of my Continental philosophy professor, remember his big hat and cloak and extravagant gesticulations but can't for the life of me remember what his talk was about.

    I thought i commented the other day on your tumble, happened to me boarding in Japan near Kyoto ended up headfirst in a snowdrift, amusing image of just my legs sticking out wagging about.

    did I mention be patient.......

  2. Thanks. All who know me know patience is not one of my strong points, so really this is the perfect practice for me right now. Must stop whining. Shall check out Kevin's blog. Like the phrase reigning in, better than skipping because of pain. Shall be experimenting for a while. Cheers.

  3. keep laughing! it really does help. the pain will pass...

  4. Just saw, Sharath is visiting Tokyo may 25th-30th, did you know? Here's the link http://sharathjapan.jp/

  5. No I didn't, very much out of any loop, thank you!