Judgment and discrimination

Judgment: At the start of a yoga class today, I entered into a train of thought about the woman practicing across from me: as a fairly new student it was obvious that she was overworking, competing with me. I felt an affectionate humor at the futility of her competitiveness. And then. Caught myself. Realized that in truth it was I who was competing with her, from a false sense of superiority, “selfing,” creating a story that took me away from that moment of practice. How truly humbling. And humorous. A bow to her, that moment of realization, and the dharma.

Discrimination: Teacher Training ’08 (TT ’08) this past Saturday focused on sequencing asana. In some views, including the views of the teachers I’m studying with now, back bending should precede forward bending, particularly for beginners, because forward bending may be much more risky for the spine. Tony Briggs, who taught Saturday’s class, was most firm in urging us to avoid sequencing that would bend students back and forth and back and forth like bending paper clips, to the inevitable conclusion….

So. Although I appreciated the local yoga class with another teacher I went to today, there came a point towards the end of the class when… we did a number of stronger forward folds, first Paschimottanasa and then Janu Sirsasana. Then, we started on backbending: Salambhasana variations and Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose). Reversing the sequencing I just learning. And, as it turned out, we went from Bridge into taking a few more forward folds (thinking paper clips…), and ended with an all-to-brief Savasana. Interesting to notice that this sequence felt fairly familiar and common.

Also interesting because I realized that I probably would have completed the sequence without much question or pause, without what I’ve been learning lately. So, how to decide when to follow the teacher? Or, perhaps more significantly, which teacher and lineage to follow?

Thanks for reading!

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