parkour training certainly offers a lot for someone to chew on, physically and mentally. i’m really starting to like the strength and technique building of these tuesday sessions as they’re much more like my ashtanga practice: disciplined, measured, and technical. i highly recommend parkour, you know, if your ashtanga yoga practice is getting too easy.
last night we practiced my beloved precision jumps again. this time we measured our progress (distance and height), which always piques (and keeps) my interest- i don’t like competing with other people, but i LOVE competing with myself! there’s nothing better than creating a baseline and then tracking it over time. repetition allows my field of vision to narrow, my concentration to deepen, and my body awareness to focus on the task at hand. after marking the distance of our precision jumps (which, to my dismay, are supposed to be both high and long) we got to keep jumping, jumping, jumping and re-marking our position. so i played with jumping higher, or jumping further, or using my arms more, or changing my breathing pattern. always asking the questions: what works? what doesn’t? repetition (eventually) leads to precision; and patience allows the mind to work on the problem at hand rather than dwelling on the frustration that wells up when fatigue sets in and ‘precision’ seems very far away.
yes, i’m frustrated! granted, i’m building strength much faster than i imagined when i started. my quads are gaining definition, my biceps are filling out, and i’m a lot less sore the next day. but i still can’t seem to get further, higher, stronger fast enough. and on top of that, the lingering fatigue makes it challenging to get through my yoga practice- when i do get to practice. so i feel like i’m losing ground on both fronts. it’s very frustrating! and yes, i do sometimes think about giving up. but when i’m not obsessed with what i can’t do, and i think about how i feel when i’m practicing (both ashtanga and parkour) and how far i’ve come in those practices, it’s a complete high. so quitting (either practice) is not an option.
i know this state is temporary. as the buddha said: ‘everything is suffering, everything is transient’. not necessarily encouraging, but very practical advice. and the practice of yoga demands aparigraha: non-grasping. so an opportunity exists for greater understanding and practice of the yamas, yay! more work! [sigh]
Ekam practitioners will be happy to hear that i am now realizing how completely irritating it is when you’re working very hard on a posture, you know what you’re doing wrong, and you’re trying to do it right, and those little bits and pieces just don’t seem to be under your control right now, and then someone tells you (in the nicest possible way, of course) how to do it correctly. you want to scream ‘I KNOW!’ but you smile and nod and say thank you. i welcome these moments because they tell me i’m on the right track (mentally at least), and they keep me humble. so in future i will strive to be less completely irritating. i’ll rather keep my mouth shut and give you a nice firm adjustment instead.
and lastly, where have all the parkour ladies gone? i miss you, come back to practice!