Friday, September 5, 2014

Practicing with my silhouette

I haven't written anything about my practice in a while, mainly because practice is just this wonderful thing that goes on in the background of my life. It's sort of like the A/C or the heater; it hums happily in the background, doing its work and providing me with strength and comfort. What's there to say or analyze about it?

But this morning's practice might be worth saying a couple of things about. So when I practice, I usually shut the blinds in the living room before I begin, so that the sunlight doesn't stream into the practice space. It's not that I am afraid of sunlight; rather, I do this because otherwise, my body will cast its shadow on the wall of the practice space, and then I will always be tempted to look at the shadow of my body as it goes through the asanas on the wall. Which is obviously a drishti violation, but I also can't help feeling that it takes energy away from what I should be focused on (i.e. what is going on within my own body and mind).

But this morning, I forgot to shut the blinds before practice. By the time I noticed this, I was already in the standing postures. I decided that going over to shut the blinds and then resuming the practice would be too annoying and would disrupt the flow that I had going, so I just ignored it. What followed was... interesting. Because of the sunlight shining directly into the practice space, I was treated to the sight of my body moving in and out of various asanas throughout the practice. Damn... I didn't know my practice silhouette looked so good... especially when I was going into Kapotasana... And yes, I do know that all these are serious drishti violations, I don't need to be reminded of that ;-)

But at the same time, I felt that because I was constantly distracted by my silhouette, I was putting less focus and mental energy into the asanas. I have always believed that where one's gaze is is also where one's energy is directed, so all this pretty much confirms what I have always believed.

The other interesting result of this silhouette-gazing is that my practice speed somehow speeded up as a result: It took me only an hour and thirty-one minutes to get through half of primary and second up to Karandavasana (it usually takes me about an hour and forty minutes to get through this sequence). I'm guessing that gazing at my silhouette probably had a motivating effect on my practice, causing me to move faster than I normally do. Which may be a good thing (or not, I don't know). But either way, I probably won't try practicing with my silhouette again. Note to self: Always shut blinds before starting practice. Gee, I wonder how all those people practice in gyms with mirrors on all four walls. Must be really, really distracting...     

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