Salman Rushdie, Midnight's Children
I guess I seem to be blogging more now that it's summer; as you might have noticed, this is my second blog post today. I don't have any particular reason for quoting Rushdie here; it just so happens that I am reading Midnight's Children right now, and this particular passage jumps out at me. Midnight is the second Rushdie novel that I have read thus far, the first being The Satanic Verses. I have to say that although both novels are written in that distinctive self-referential voice that is Rushdie's, Midnight is very different in character from The Satanic Verses. I don't really know how to capture this difference in a couple of sentences, and I don't feel like writing a long post right now on what this difference really is, either, so I'll leave it at this. Maybe I'll write more about this when I finish Midnight. We'll see.
In the meantime, let me tell you an interesting true yoga story that recently happened to me. I had a spontaneous lotus teaching moment yesterday afternoon. I was about to leave my office when I started chatting with a colleague who occupies the office across from mine. We started talking about possible summer plans, and what we each had been up to lately. He told me that he had recently taken up meditation, and had injured his ankle while meditating. This is roughly how the conversation unfolded from this point:
Colleague: "Yeah, you don't believe it is possible to injure yourself while meditating, do you?" [Chuckles]
Nobel: "Actually, I do. Were you trying to get into the lotus posture, by any chance?"
Colleague: [Nods his head, smiles sheepishly, and then was suddenly surprised] "How did you know that?" [Note to reader: Many people at work do not know that I practice yoga (I generally adhere to the doctrine of the separation of yoga and work).]
I then explained to my colleague that I have been practicing yoga for a few years, and know of many incidents of people who have injured their knees and ankles trying to crank themselves into the lotus posture (I did not mention that I had also suffered a knee injury before; I figured that might be too much information at that moment.).
And then the teacher in me took over: I went on to explain to my colleague how, in order to do lotus productively and safely, one must first work on opening the external hip rotators, so that the work of the posture comes from the hips, and not from the knees or ankles. I also mentioned how it took me about six months from the time I first started yoga to get to the point where I was just able to barely do a loose lotus.
"You can do lotus?" My colleague asked (I think he sounded impressed, but I cannot be sure). I said yes, and then proceeded to show him (on the floor of his office, no less) a bunch of preparatory poses (pigeon, double pigeon, etc.) that he can work on in order to get his hips to open enough to be able to do lotus safely. And then, on the spur of the moment, I added, "And once you feel your hips open enough (which could take a few weeks or even months), you can then try half lotus." So saying, I brought my right foot into my left hip crease. "And then, " I continued, "you can work yourself into full lotus." So saying, I brought the left foot onto my right thigh. And I found myself sitting in lotus in jeans on the floor of his office. Which might already be rather unusual, in and of itself. What's even more interesting is that this is the first time since my knee injury a couple of years ago that I have spontaneously gotten into a full lotus outside of my yoga practice, while wearing street clothes. To be sure, my lotus wasn't very deep: I didn't feel that I was warm enough to attempt the usual deep lotus that I do during practice, so I kept the lotus loose. But even so, I am grateful for how much my knee has healed to permit me to do even this.
Anyway, I got out of lotus after a few breaths, and got back on my feet. My colleague thanked me for the hip-opening tips, and I went on my way.
Well.... I hope you like this little story. More later.