Friday, January 20, 2012

My physical practice

I don't much talk about my physical practice much anymore. I'm not fully sure why. I think that in the grand scheme of things, it has just become a part of me. A part that I am certainly proud of, and proud to share with others, and still very focused on and interested in, but it has become less about my physical practice as of late. On that note, I am going to talk about my physical practice for a while.

What I have noticed is that my entire approach has changed completely. I still go really hard, but there is a certain softness that I can't fully describe or necessarily even comprehend that has infused my practice lately. I like it a lot. I think I blame a very specific teacher for putting the softness there. :) The intensity that I seek is still present, but I have found many varied layers of control in that intensity. I'm not sure if that fully makes sense. I know that is how it feels. The physical practice just matters less. It is still important, but it is just a tool and placing too much emphasis on the tool takes away from the value of the job/project. Breaking the tool brings us farther from the goal rather than bringing us closer to it. But there is value in the lessons learned from breakage, which is why we are granted injuries.

I'm not saying that I have stopped playing my edges. I am just approaching those edges in a completely different manner. Rather than doing my best impression of a bull in a China shop, I have found a soft gentleness when approaching my edges. I am much more playful with them and much more controlled. I have found myself closer to bouncing gracefully off of them rather than plowing through them.  My practice has taken on a "slow motion" sort of a feel. It has been an interesting change.

The softness has been pervasive in my life off the mat, as well. I have found that I am much more forgiving in my interactions with others. I am gentler with myself and with others. I think that too often we use soft synonymously with weak. That seems to me to be an inaccurate parallel. We can still be strong while treating ourselves and others softly and gently. This is something that is paradoxical, intellectually, but in practice, it is a thing of beauty. Maybe a little bit like life?

Peace and Love,

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