“In knowing nothing, life is most delightful”

In knowing nothing, life is most delightful” {Publilius Syrus} or to put another way IGNORANCE IS BLISS!

Let us not get distracted here by ‘proofs’ of knowledge’. We are not here to try and prove anything.  I want to come at this from a different angle. Not talking about the little we know but more about the infinite of what we don’t know ! Besides. When we ‘know’ something; FINALLY TRULY DEEPLY ‘KNOW’, sometimes things can seem to get worse (opposite of bliss); the mere fact of ‘knowing’ bringing up misery or discomfort! What a price to pay for just trying to broaden horizons or dispel ignorance! Perhaps that is why sometimes we go to great lengths to avoid the work because hey! That’s easier! Mental discomfort/ inconvenience/ awkwardness IS A PRE-REQUISITE TO SOMETHING GREATER AND BETTER: new increased awareness and knowing a little.  As a Yoga instructor knowing that in the scheme of things I know nothing? Well that is a WHOLE OTHER LEVEL of discomfort and responsibility when you have committed to turn up every day to teach about that thing you know nothing about! Can you ever get comfortable with that? In recent years I have started to ‘own’ that I know very little and that there are more important things in life than knowledge that I would like to cultivate {Yup! Still want to be a better person and have a better antiquarian book collection; wait what! Did I say that out loud! Damn it!}. Let me just say, with this knowledge of lack of knowledge, the POSSIBILITIES remain endless!

WE CAN NEVER KNOW IT ALL; can anyone really ever be an authority on Yoga and teaching it? The sheer number of yoga book contents absorbed and subsequently ‘forgotten’ belie that ! Simply too much to learn /remember in a lifetime. Certainly since I took up practice much has changed/evolved about what is THE ‘RIGHT WAY’ when on your mat. How to go about things, body mechanics and functional movement balanced with the individual ‘mental view’ on how things were, are or should be. Sometimes in an occasional moment it even feels like best guess or ‘intuiting’ which let us face it, isn’t very scientific. Science doesn’t have all the answers either. Science establishment hasn’t even begun to study all the ‘wisdom of ages’ past and so readily dismisses much of age old knowledge as unscientific until it suits them to focus on it and prove/disprove it in their particular methods / language (i.e. if they prove it, the subsequent inventing new buzzwords to accompany their ‘new’ take on age old wisdom; well lets face it, they can’t re-invent the wisdom itself). Is this Yoga stuff even ‘knowable’ either in the hot sweaty moment or can you say it is or will be ‘fact’ for the future/for all or for you now or forever, ever or ‘never’? neither completely true or untrue for one body but not another (maybe)? (did your head just spin at that question!)) The idea of one person trying to prove any of this as a complete truth for all other individuals in a class scenario makes my mind boggle.

WE HAVE WATCHED facts and guidance become outdated and be proved wrong with the emergence of later studies/knowledge. You simply have to have an appetite for continuous learning and staying up to date and absolutely have to keep an open mind, a beginners mind.  Indeed some very ‘authoritative’ figures in the Yoga world have/are still touting outdated ‘facts’ {they must have got tired with keeping up}. Indeed the internet is a nightmare for search purposes because every old piece of {let me call it} detritus stays on there for EVER to have to be waded through! E.g. Google ‘Bikram/Hot Yoga in Jersey’ and there is still clutter from decades ago about places to practice that have long gone still on there to confuse the picture of ‘what is’ available today. {If we ever decide to shut up shop (not likely) we will take down all our detritus so we don’t confuse future generations of Bikram Yoga practitioners.}

IT IS COMPLICATED with our limited knowledge of anatomy and function and the multitude of variation that presents per class and how movement at one joint affects movement at others, thrown in with all the other variables unique asymmetries/skeletals/histories etc that affect an individual. All we have to guide us, from an empirical point of view, are the individuals we can observe in action and stillness in that moment and we suggest a ‘tweak’ here and there based on that limited knowledge and then observe the effect of the tweak on them visually and hope they communicate the effect ‘feeling’ wise (whether it worked). Ultimately that is why YM is so focused on people becoming their own best teachers and expert in their body via their own experiential praxis. We don’t push, prod or carry.  This is their practice not ours; when they are on the mat it is not about us. We just must try and help guide them have the experience for themselves and acquire the benefits and JOY of finding the answer themselves.  EVERYone responds differently to different words and cues and choosing the right word to get the right effect can be tricky in an already ‘fleeting sweaty moment’. We would like to think we are getting better at ‘leading’ and not getting in the way of that ‘self learning’ process. In the meantime ‘tweaks’ are only as good as the limit of the knowledge and the vocabulary of the teacher.  OCCASSIONALLY we get lucky too as we watch a student teach themselves what works for them (we love this) and we learn from that moment something that might work better for that particular student and maybe one or two other bodies. But mostly we can only speak in generics whilst we bear witness to students become their own expert.

One of the many reasons why the Bikram sequence is so terrific! it creates a framework (same sequence) and the conditions (environment) for us all (teacher and student) to enable us to always ‘begin again’ and get better and more capable at predicting what will happen in a variety of controlled moves and to then test those predictions empirically whilst on our mats.  From that new beginning point we attempt to influence the moves in a particular direction to create a more particular outcome.  IN THIS PROCESS we create our own laws for ‘WHAT WILL BE’ in our own body mind uniqueness honored from that ‘begin again’ moment on the mat.

SO FAR I WOULD SAY FROM THE NUMBERS OF PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD WHO PRACTICE BIKRAM REGULARLY FOR THE LAST 50YEARS THE ‘THEORIES’ OF IT ALL HAVE DEMONSTRATED THEMSELVES TO BE EXCEEDINGLY VALID. That may not be scientific enough for some but I am good with that; I think people are smart enough to work it out for themselves. CHANGE IS THE NATURE OF THINGS; Bikram Yoga helps you navigate Change.  It is all valid anyway only until you change and then the process is no longer valid for that old you but you modify/evolve/tweak it and then IT IS ALL VALID AGAIN. Sometimes we don’t always ‘change’ the rules or conditions at the right time i.e. you have changed but using same old technique , playing catchup again, but ultimately we do catch up with ourselves.  ALL THIS effort and not knowing, but trying to know, is always ‘PRELIMINARY’ to begin something better.

Einstein said (I Love this!) “The scientific theorist is not to be envied. For Nature, or more precisely experiment, is an inexorable and not very friendly judge of his work. It never says “Yes” to a theory. In the most favorable cases it says “Maybe,” and in the great majority of cases simply “No.” If an experiment agrees with a theory it means for the latter “Maybe,” and if it does not agree it means “No.” Probably every theory will someday experience its “No” – most theories, soon after conception.”

SO WHEN ON OUR MAT LET US NOT TRY TO ‘PROVE’ OR ‘KNOW’ ANYTHING. Knowledge is fleeting. Every scientific theory will ‘maybe’ someday fail. When there is what we perceive to be a fail… this is our prelude to our new beginning. Let us turn up on our mat for the JOY of new beginning and new awareness.

Om Om om There are many possibilities but the expert has few.

Trisha Feb22

Most of YM blogs are just ‘ideas’ for you to mull over. They may/may not start a process; we are well aware that locally we have a decent readership but most don’t acknowledge ‘online’ what they have read; sometimes it feels we get more communication from overseas folks about our blogs… but we are trying to connect with people locally by what we do write/teach! It would be greatly appreciated by this ‘mom&pop studio’ if people just click that ‘lil ‘ol ‘reaction’ button on reading.

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