23 May 2011

Reading the Air 空気を読む

Practicing with people, or perhaps that should be practicing to practice with people. I am not very good at it, it seems. I am used to my own company, which can be pretty bad, but I don't have to deal with others eccentricities while working on my own.

A rare morning practice in company. Very nice on the heat, sweat、concentration, and companionship on this solitary ashtanga path.

But oh do I need some practice in tolerance. Savasana could be said to be my most difficult asana to stay in. Teacher after teacher have warned, advised and cautioned me to prolong my rest at the end. After all it is when, as one teacher said, we absorb the energy created in the practice and when healing occurs. I always feel a little restless and tend to jump up and want to continue with my day, I need an alarm set and optimal conditions to get into it, as in warmth and silence and sometimes a good smell. But when in a group and others finish their practice and proceed to bang, clomp, thud and wipe mats continuously, it tests me. I have never experienced such avid mat wiping and organising of bags as in Japan. Not all but there is always one. OK so I do need to work on my tolerance, but I do think others also need to work on their awareness.

Developing awareness of fellow practitioners can be one of the most valuable practices, one which we can continue to practice throughout the day, to be aware of our impact on others, how our actions, words, even thoughts affect those around us.

In Japanese they call this skill reading the air, I love that expression and am trying hard to refine my air reading skills.


Someone who can’t read the air is one who is socially oblivious, most of us non Japanese fall into this category when we arrive here, but I hope I am learning something and am getting better at this practice. A lot isn’t said in social interactions, the Japanese really are a bunch of air readers, things don’t have to be spelt out, I love that part of this culture, but it can be the most difficult and frustrating.

What are other's pet shala peeves?  Mine would have to be the noisy chattery wipe cleaners and those who make breezes wafting their rugs around.....something about that gust of wind on sweaty skin that the vata in me just does not find pleasant...  anyone else?

1 comment:

  1. reading the air is such a lovely image! my pet peeve shalawise is the flinging down of mats — the thud, the breeze, the general disruption. why are people so unaware of the effect this has on others? I still prefer practicing with others though, my own self is too buggy and unable to concentrate alone.