close shave with Yoga
It sometimes happens in a Yoga class that students new to yoga will watch
a seasoned practitioner and become discouraged yes, even frustrated.
A response I often hear is "they must have been born like that".
A good way to overcome this frustration with the gap between where you are
in your practice and where youd like to be is to find something you
do regularly and take a close look at it. For me, and most men, shaving is
a good example. I cant comment on womens experience with shaving
their legs, I have only tried on a few occasions and was distracted the whole
No one ever says - " Meet Dave hes my shaving teacher".
Most of us cant even remember who taught us to shave. I remember vaguely
my Dad giving me a few pointers about how to stop the blood flow, but thats
it. But over the years, all of us who shave daily have become shaving Yogis.
We know just what temperature the water feels best at, what kind of blade
works best on our skin and how many strokes to take before washing the blade.
We know what direction to move the razor for optimum closeness, how gently
to go when we come to a tricky spot the chin, cheekbones, under the
nose. All this we learned -from whom? From your regular shaving practice.
This daily practice became refined to the point where you never cut yourself
with this razor. Unless of course you are not being mindful.
And so it is with asana practice. Teachers can help point us in the right
direction, or offer an interesting sequence of poses. They can watch to make
sure our alignment and breath are within acceptable parameters, or just make
you laugh if you are taking it all a bit to seriously. But the true yoga,
feeling the balance between opening and forcing, knowing just how much is
right for you on this particular day, and finding the smile of gratitude growing
in you this no-one can teach. This is only revealed through your regular
practice. So next time you shave (your face, your legs or both), slow
down and watch the process. Amaze yourself with your surety of movement, your
grace. Watch your facial muscles undulate to accommodate the blade sweeping
back and forth, your gaze fixed and your breath even. Then go back to your
mat, settle into your first posture and remember its just a matter of