So much for getting up at 5:30. After yesterday’s blog I decided to strength-train (like my yoga practice I work out at home in my well-equipped basement) and you can’t go straight to bed afterwards right? So I brought myself ‘down’ by messing around on the guitar and then snacked on some cantaloupe and fig newtons while reading my new book (Gary Hamel’s on the ‘Bookshelf’ to the right of this blog). Then I made the mistake of turning on the TV – the old Sidney Poitier film ‘In the Heat of the Night’ was on and I watched most of it before deciding it was stupid and that I should sleep. In the end I went to bed at 12:30.
So I woke up with that vaguely numb ache that spreads between the temples when you’ve deprived yourself of sleep – 10 hours in 48 hours is not bad, but definitely a bit shy of the ideal. The practice was pretty sad: Poor mental focus (even by my pitiful standards) and tired lazy asanas. Halfway through by Surya Bs, my five year old, having woken up, came into the room and sat on the couch to watch. She fell asleep briefly around Garbha Pindasana and spent the rest of the time wandering in and out of the room and walking around my mat watching me. I didn’t mind – at 5 I didn’t know what Yoga was. She knew at 3. Maybe she’ll become an adept by her teens.
I sometimes regret not starting asanas until my mid-20s. But you can’t dwell on these things. All of us take our own time to come to these things. There was too much ego for Yoga – I’ve been in great shape pretty much all my life…but it was all about looking good and feeling good…but not being good. The irony is that if I’d ever taken the time to walk into a Ashtanga studio in those days I would have been hooked (for all the scandalously appalling wrong reasons).
My grandfather tried to persuade me. He practiced diligently and spent much of his last years in an Ashram in Sola Gujarat. Yoga was more than a few esoteric poses for him (which sadly seems to be what it is for so many today). A couple of weeks ago I found a letter he wrote to me while I was in Japan dated 16 October 1991 – I was 22 at the time. In it he encouraged me to consider yoga, writing:
“I am sure you would find it of interest. I know you are a boy who would like to learn something new. ‘Hath Yog’ is not merely exercise but it is a footstep [for he] who wants to tread a path of spiritualism. It is just a beginning to discipline one’s physical, mental and emotional bodies. ‘Raj Yog’ starts and ‘Hath Yog’ ends”
I listened. I knew this was something for me that I wanted to do. I just never got around to doing it. There’s another reason for this regret. I’ve read a couple of the Mysore blogs and am envious – yeah not too Yogic and less so since I live a charmed existence and have no cause to envy anybody. Nevertheless, I sometimes think that opportunity of studying in India has passed me by. 7 or 8 years ago I had the time and the freedom. I spent 4 years in Japan cumulatively in 3 spells working for two and then at University in Niigata and Tokyo for two more. I could easily have hopped into Mysore or Pune to study for months while in transit between home and Japan. Instead I used it to bum around South-East and East Asia. That wasn’t bad either…but still.
I wonder if I’ll ever get to Mysore. ‘Tied down’ has too negative a connotation. I’ll just say that I feel immobile. How do you walk away from your career and family (including a non-practicing spouse) to study yoga. How do you just walk away from that for the 3 months Guruji has in mind?
Interestingly we’re collaborating a lot more with our India team these days…they’re based in some town 139 km from Gokulam called Bangalore 😉
A stint working on a Project in Bangalore is not inconceivable. If it happens I’d get myself to Mysore for 3 months before I came home.
Speaking of work. I only worked a half day from home today and took the rest of the day off. My wife and I are expecting girl #2 in about 10 weeks and we went to this place called UCBaby. They do 3D ultrasounds. It was fascinating. Pictures and video of pouts, smiles, frowns. She had was giving a salute with her right foot slapped against her temple (what I would give for that flexibility!). Brilliant. We came home with the DVD and a CD of digitals.