There is a new thing I recently got hooked on: the phone app step watcher. It counts the number of steps the holder does a day, after ten thousand, the app announces the goal is accomplished. Funny, right? Since I have been aware of the counting, I am carrying the phone everywhere so that no step gets uncounted, reminding myself to remove the device from the back pocket before pulling down the jeans on the toilet. Until now, successfully. Ten thousand steps are not too much or too little, I usually manage to make them, even though sometimes the last five hundred I do while brushing the teeth hopping in the bathroom.
Why? Because. I do not know why. It is a kind of a play, and nothing wrong with it. And recently, I have managed to unhook the mind from another app – the Duolingo Dutch course. The silly owl was also counting, chanting, cheering to my performance. After 500-hundred-day streak, I missed a day and lost it. The cunning owl suggested buying the streak back – which I had already done several times but this time I decided against it. No, I do not need it. Since then, I do the grammar exercises regularly, but I do not fret about missing a day or two. OK, not two, that would be too much.
For sure, I do yoga without the phone. And yes, there are many ways in the contemporary life that keep the mind in the controlling mode: clocks, lists, timetables, all of them neatly piled in one machine called smartphone.
And yoga practice? The hour and a half on the mat? I love the moments on the mat, sweating, smiling, striving, surrendering. The experience is that with a regular practice the mind gets more obedient, a better-working device, clearer, even a bit calmer. Even though the ego-yoga-traps are always there, too: over-performing, observing, comparing and judging the others, wishing for quick results, feeling superior because of the practice, etc.
On Sunday morning we got a train to a Rotterdam suburb where Wim gives a yoga class. And we agreed on a private class after the group one. I follow my intuition, the accord between my mind and the gut feeling is there. Wim is teaching pralaya yoga that I have little experience with and there is another thing I am ready to acknowledge: after fifteen years daily on the mat, (and I am good at hooking up on a routine), I still feel deep tensions around the shoulders, as if the shoulder blades, the collar bones and the arms where glued together, and reluctant to let me into… Into what? Well, into certain asanas, though that is not the only point. The tensions are the ego´s watchtower: do not let go, do not trust completely, better shut up than sing out. Today, with Wim, on blocks, in supported back-bends, in arched positions that lead to openings, yoga is a new experience.
It is raining in Rotterdam, almost the whole weekend the sky is grey, the wind is cold, it is this season that has no name, it is all seasons in one. I glance at the phone several times a day to see how many steps there are accounted. Nevertheless, on this Saturday afternoon, I am lying on a sofa reading, sitting at a table in a perfect little house just a few kilometres from the Dutch coast, being in company and being company, letting go the number of steps, observing birds coming for a bite into the garden, savouring delicious food, and life is just perfect with all the imperfections, fresh, shared, offered, accepted.
Sunday night train to Brussels. 8408 steps so far today 😊.
Wim Klerk in Rotterdam: https://www.prabala.nl/yoga/