David Roche, Day 4: Human Nature

October 25, 2011 § 6 Comments

This update is a couple of days late. Did a short home practice yesterday as I had a big photo shoot. Ended up having a crazy, 15-hour day, which meant unwinding with a couple of glasses of wine and a deep, hazy sleep this morning that I couldn’t shake off. So no practice this morning. I may go this evening though…

Sunday’s practice was pretty chill. Ms A did most of my adjustments, including dropping me back, but David got to me in Supta K where he assertively helped me to bind. It was, as is the case with all his adjustments, intense, but I appreciated it. He manages to put you in a place where you’re really surrendering to the breath, letting go of any ‘WTF’ thoughts and just stay in the moment.

We had a welcome party for David on Sunday evening at a fellow yogi’s house. Or perhaps I should say, their hilltop estate. Lovely views, huge garden replete with pool, hammock and trampoline….I have to admit that part of my interest in attending the party was to check out what the houses looked like in this neighborhood that’s very much a part of the ‘one percent’.

As we were sitting around sharing chips and artichoke dip, I asked David about what he’s learned about human nature from all his years of teaching yoga. He talked about our concept of progress, and how very few people stick with the practice for the long-term (10, 20 years) because it’s hard. Hard not only in terms of balancing a committed practice with everything else in life, but also with regard to working through injuries and obstacles that come up in the course of the practice.

“When students get injured, they blame everything – the practice, the teacher, the weather….they look outwards instead of looking in,” he said. “It takes a lot of fortitude to work through the injuries and stay with the practice. Sometimes you need to fall back before you can move forward, but not everyone gets that, and they give up.”

In other words, the degree to which a dedicated yoga practice (be it Ashtanga, Iyengar, Bikram, etc) can change/save your life depends entirely upon how much you want to invest in it. It boils down to a few simple questions: “How badly do you want it?”, “What are you willing to sacrifice for it?”, “What is your dream/ambition worth?”

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§ 6 Responses to David Roche, Day 4: Human Nature

  • Bindifry says:

    Good stuff-thx 4 sharing

  • Yyogini says:

    I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. By committing to a daily Ashtanga practice, this means stretching out the ligaments to a point beyond what’s needed/useful for 99.999% of non-yoga activities. In some ways having this much flexibility impairs performance in other activities (with gain of flexibility some power is lost). Is this what I really want for myself? Just pondering out loud.

    • D says:

      Welcome back to the blogosphere Yyogini! I’ve not found the trade-off between flexibility and strength in my own practice to be honest, if anything, this practice has really increased my strength *and* my flexibility, making me more fit overall. While it doesn’t have any *real* purpose in my fairly sedentary daily life, I’ve felt its benefits in the emotional realm (less intense PMS symptoms) and with a general sense of well-being too. As obssessed as I get sometimes with certain poses, I do think physical achievements within a yoga practice are worthwhile goals up to a certain point – at the end of the day, it’s really a stepping stone towards self-discovery, self-awareness and a calm mind.

      I hope you find the answers you’re looking for in your self-reflection!

      • YYogini says:

        Ah, but strength (the ability to hold weight.. either your own or external weight) is not the same as power – moves like high jumps, sprints, golf swings and tennis serves. There are no plyometric movements (fast, explosive contraction of muscles) in Ashtanga as far as I can tell. I think it could just mean that I should go for a run or a tennis/squash session once in awhile (I don’t really play tennis :P).

      • D says:

        Oh ok I see what you’re getting at. Yea, yoga builds strength and flexibility but doesn’t wire you for speed. Although it could be argued that it puts your body in pretty good shape to train for other sports! I used to play tennis for years, but I think I’m over it – I now have a multiple-sprained ankle and a bulked up right shoulder to show for it πŸ˜‰

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