Also today another excellent response to Ashtanga being boring. If you have practiced for awhile you might agree that the analogy to the sticky bolt is pretty great. Or maybe it is a reference that New Yorkers and former apartment dwellers get..
Originally posted on Sadhana In The City:
The physical body offers so much in the way of distraction – the aches, the pains, the tweaks, pops, and cracks. Yoga asana alleviates some of these; it adds others as well. By practicing the same postures in the same order with consistency the body becomes used to it. It’s a bit like unlocking a sticky bolt. The first few times you try it is difficult, you jiggle the key in the lock, push on the door, pull on it, etc. until the latch is finally thrown. As you use the lock over and over again you learn exactly how to insert the key, the right amount of pressure to apply, and so on – the lock opens easily for you each time. You eventually forget that throwing this particular latch was ever difficult and when you loan the keys to a friend are momentarily flummoxed when they have trouble with the bolt.
As the Ashtanga series becomes more accessible with practice I have to think less and less about what I am doing and boredom sets in. My mind wanders. Invariably I first consider what is for lunch. This is quite telling; my awareness has yet to rise above muladhara cakra. Lunch is a brief consideration and is quickly pushed to the side. What takes its place is much more interesting. My mind travels to the things that are affecting me the most: sometimes family issues, sometimes money worries, sometimes a love interest, sometimes a recent argument with a close friend. The list goes on and on. As my mind fixates emotion begins to build, not unlike a wave, until it crashes over me. This is when the work begins. This is when the roller coaster ride starts; the inner workings of my being tossed up, down, and sideways. This is when I hold on tight for fear of plummeting to my doom. Without boredom, without the monotony of doing the same thing day in and day out, this cannot happen. Posture after posture I process these emotions – not just mentally, but physically, twisting, turning, arching, folding. At the end of practice I usually feel better. If I don’t, I always have tomorrow to do the same thing all over again.
My philosophy teacher says that the educated masses dominating urban settings are too wrapped up in logic. If we can’t find a logical explanation, a sound reasoning, we are not satisfied. I guess that’s why I see him for philosophy; so that I can logically dissect my yoga practice – so that I can be satisfied. He posits that those in more rural settings, living close to the land, have less need and less desire for logical mind games and have a much easier time accepting a more devotional lifestyle.