Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Practice has been very ordinary lately and I'm discovering that I find ordinary very soothing, comforting almost. Much of time, I'm content, both on the mat and off. I don't write much about it as there's only so much to say about ordinariness regardless of how many ups and downs are contained within it.

I'm reading Richard Freeman's 'The Mirror of Yoga' at the moment and Richard has this to say about ordinary practice:
"When you practice non-exotic, everyday yoga--looking deeply at the ordinary experience, becoming more honest and more kind--there is a great sense of relief."

...and then I saw this beautiful post by Laine who says:
"It's funny sometimes, when you realize how utterly ordinary heartbreak is. When you are sitting in yoga class looking at your toes and realizing that if you tried to put what (and who) broke your heart into words it would just sound so ordinary."

I taught a modified Ashtanga class to a group of older folks for about a year and one of the students who was just about to turn 80 surprised me one day after class. She had been coming to class maybe once or twice a month for a few months and had just finished reading the book 'Eat, Pray, Love' before class. After class she wanted to know: "Were we going to get enlightened soon then?"

Despite her nearly 80 years of life experience, she was still looking for a way around the ordinariness. She expected more drama from her fledgling yoga practice and was, I think, a little disappointed when it seemed to her like nothing dramatic was happening in her practice. Eventually we didn't see her in class much anymore, so it's hard to know whether she would have ever seen the relief on the other side of the boredom.

I'm suspicious of anything too exciting, but that doesn't stop me from getting hooked in by drama. The farther I go up, the farther down there is to come. One of the aspects of Ashtanga that originally attracted me to the practice was the routine nature of it..same poses, same order, everyday. It was only once I really dug into the practice that I found all the upheavals within the ordinary routine of practice. Dig any one hole deep enough and whatever's below ground will come spurting out for sure.

I agree with Richard. The ordinary, non-exotic kind of yoga practice is enough and is a relief. Ordinary practice and ordinary relationship has enough depth and vibrancy to last lifetimes.

I just finished reading Elizabeth Gilbert's new book, 'Committed', the sequel to 'Eat, Pray, Love' and I think she would agree with Richard Freeman. Ordinariness is a relief.


  1. My dad's 80, and he told me being old doesn't necessarily make you wiser.. hahaha. When I see the number of people practicing yoga, I don't feel so special, but there are still more people out there who still haven't experienced the magic (and refuse to try); that makes me feel I am luckier than they are that I took the step in giving yoga a serious try.

  2. I know, it seemed silly to me after that class, when I realized that I had hung onto the idea that older would somehow equal wiser....and I know what you mean Yyogini. I feel so grateful to have stuck with practice long enough to have discovered the magic. I'm always a little sad when I see someone who doesn't give it a fair try because so much is possible!...but there are many ways in and I have to remind myself that just because yoga works for me doesn't mean it's going to be the same for everyone. :)