Tuesday, March 22, 2011

On Driste and Not Falling Apart

A student asked if I would write something on driste. Here's your post Bob! (*waves to Bob*)

There are a list of reasons that I might not have practiced this morning.
1. I strained something in the left shoulder/pectoralis on one side in modern dance class a couple weeks ago and it's still sore and tweaky (although improving).
2. I've been doing a lot of biking and I'm feeling tightness in my right hip (where it seems that all tightness in my body resides...), right IT band and outer knee.
3. I slipped in the shower a couple days ago and caught my inner ankle on the bathtub knob....which has apparently sharper edges than I gave it credit for as I now have a long deep scrape where a chunk of skin was removed and a lovely purple and green bruise.
4. I slept on my right shoulder in some way that my body did not approve of and now have strange catches and aches coming from the right shoulder joint.
5. The time changed a little more than a week ago and early morning practice now has me getting out of bed with that slightly delirious feeling of getting up several hours before the sun for a long drive to some far away airport...

...But I practiced anyway.

...and yes I'm getting to driste...

...Because really what I notice and react to has a lot to do with what I see.

...And what I saw this morning was a studio filled with patches of moonlight. It was warm enough that I didn't need to turn on a heater, so the only sound was that of my own breath. When I looked out the windows, I saw piles of bricks and construction debris...the materials being used to expand the studio space at my house where I teach Mysore classes. Every new pile of materials and every new phase of construction makes me smile.

In the past couple years, spring, especially March and April, have been quiet months at the studio. It's post-"New Year's Resolution" time and pre-summer vacation. It usually trickles down to just 2 or 3 regular students with a committed practice. This year's group of regular students are a particularly committed bunch and we have had quite a few busy days in the studio.

It's a small space, a "packed house" is 7 students....and that's good. It's allowed for lots of individual one-on-one time and helped to build relationships between students. When it's mat-to-mat, it's best to just decide to befriend your neighboring practitioners from the beginning. :)

...so on a recent busy day in the studio, we had a short chat about driste and maintaining attention on our own practices despite the challenge of the close quarters.

What happens when I move my driste?...my attention and actions follow. Many of the random things I wrestle with over the course of a day could be considered "driste violations". Does it matter what someone else did, said or didn't do if it doesn't have anything to do with me, and there is nothing I can do to actively change the situation? No. Those are the moments when I need to put my eyes back on my own practice/life and wrestle my attention back to where it serves some purpose.

How and what I see changes everything that follows. This morning I chose to see much that I have to be grateful for. I can move, breath and I get to spend some part of each day doing what I love most: practicing and teaching Mysore style Ashtanga yoga.

I don't always make that choice. I can share plenty of examples of getting bogged down by driste violations, far too many really. But this morning, I put my mat down in a puddle of moonlight and got on with it.

credit goes to Loo, whose blog you can read here, for the broader idea of driste violations


  1. Hello Christine,
    nice post. How do you think keeping drishti applies to blogging?

    I'm glad that it's nice and warm in Gainesville... very envious (it's still snowing here)... no, no, don't envy. Must keep drishti :-)

    I'm really curious: Is Bob the same Bob (middle-aged guy wearing shorts, sometimes with a belt) that used to come to Sunday afternoon led Ashtanga classes at Sanctuary? If this is you, Bob, hello!

  2. Hi Nobel!

    hmmm...driste and blogging... good question! It could apply to choice of writing topic as well as interaction with others through comments I think.

    I personally try to write mostly from my own experience and explore a bit of the inner world of practice. I try to keep any sense of comparing to others out of it....how well I succeed at that, I guess is up to the readers to tell me. ;)

    yep, finally warm here...they mentioned Morehead, MN on NPR yesterday...said they were worried about flooding...guess this means the snow is starting to melt? hope all is ok...sending warm weather thoughts to you!

  3. Hi Christine, waves back! Thanks for sharing and (thx Loo) for the term Driste Violations - Wow... Powerful! 2 words that together speak volumes. I guess driste wasn't such a lame suggestion after all 8-)

    2 of 3 classes with 7 this week, all excellent, mat to mat a new experience for me & it worked well b/c we paid attention to driste...

    Awesome practice week, thank you Christine.

    Hi Nobel - I am not that Bob, have never been to Sanctuary, just to Kevin and Christine. Are you up in Morehead? My mom grew up in Wabasha, MS river side, SE MN. I love it up there. Cheers

  4. Hi Bob!

    thanks for the great blog post suggestion...not lame at all. I'm always happy to take blog post suggestions!

    It's been fun having such busy spring in the studio this year...and I enjoy the quiet days in the studio too. It's all good.

    Glad it was a good practice week! :)