alan little’s weblog

bad days are good

26th October 2004 permanent link

On my way to yoga class. I don’t normally write blog entries about how well or badly the physical side of my yoga practice is going at any given moment, because I don’t see why anybody else should care. I actually shouldn’t care either. But.

When I was in India, studying yoga more intensively than I ever have before or since, I noticed that there is no obvious pattern to when practice sessions are “good” or “bad”:

November 28th 2001
Today’s practice – all lightness, air & freedom. Yesterday’s was all stiffness, pain & heaviness. Perhaps there is a reason for these things; perhaps there isn’t.

Last week on my way to class, I felt really up: light, fit, exhilarated. Certain I was going to have a “good” practice. And I did – I was strong, flexible, went further, more easily into many positions than I normally can. On the way to class, though, I almost wrote a blog entry about how even if that did happen, it didn’t mean anything and wasn’t something I should get attached to or start to expect.

Sure enough, that class marked the beginning of Stiff Week, in which every subsequent yoga practice felt as if my muscles had been taken out and replaced with little bags of aching cement. (Does cement ache? And how you spell “acheing”? Questions, questions)

And this is important: the “bad” days are the good ones. They’re the ones where you’re learning the most, being forced to confront your areas of difficulty, having your belief in yourself as some kind of mega-yogi knocked down a notch or two. The “good” days, if you’re not careful, can be dangerous – revelling in siddhis, stroking your ego instead of learning to control it, getting attached to being able to achieve the outward appearance of a certain level of practice. All of which are not yoga.

So it’s just as well those days don’t happen too often. Meanwhile, on the days when it’s hard, you just carry on and do your practice anyway.

And this week? Let’s see.

Meanwhile here’s a gratuitous picture of me on a “good” practice day, performing what would be a moderately impressive physical yoga feat if it weren’t for the distinctly non-serene facial expression.

Marichyasana D

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