Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Anyone with a Jeep can skip this post, because the one word title conveys everything and more the following 500 words will explain.  It’s a Jeep thing. For everyone else, here we go…

A winch gets you out of a jam.  You are in a jam because, let’s face it, you were trying to push your machine beyond your skill level as a driver or the capabilities of the machine (read “you didn’t know what the hell you were doing otherwise you wouldn’t have done it”).  You try every other imaginable way to get out of the jam.  With no other option, you call “Winch!” and you are dragged out.

It’s a humbling experience to admit that you can’t / don’t know how to move forward.  You think everyone is looking at you and laughing. 

Truth is, a winch is on call for a reason—you aren’t the first to get stuck, and you will not be the last.  The people that are looking at you and laughing, they are laughing because they remember being stuck.  And they learned how not to get stuck there again.  And they will be happy to share their advice if you ask.

There are times when we feel stuck in our practice.  Like what you have been doing is no longer working.  To be clear, this is not because you have gotten lax; there has been a change.  Something that you can’t identify.  Thoughts such as: “I’ve been doing this everyday for x time, how come I’m just now feeling sore/getting injured?”  “I used to have clarity/calmness/joy/etc., now it’s a struggle to get to the mat?” or “Something just isn’t right anymore.”   You try to work through it, and the harder you work, the louder these thoughts become.


Maybe you are pushing your machine too hard, or have failed to adapt to changes in your life/body.  Maybe you have reached a level of understanding and something is trying to push you forward, but you don’t know what to do. 

But someone does.  And when you yell WINCH! you will get a response.  Whether it’s in the form of someone handing you a book of teachings because they thought you might find them interesting, someone introducing you (in person of via their teachings) to a teacher who will guide you in just the right direction, or an opportunity arises for you to help someone else which, in turn, helps you, that winch will come.  If something seems like a coincidence, roll with it.  It’s no coincidence, it’s a conspiracy, but the good kind.

This story doesn’t really apply here, but I’m going to relate it anyway:

A peasant once asked Ramakrishna (Swami Vivekananda’s Guru) “I am a simple villager.  Please give me in one sentence a method by which I can obtain happiness.”  Ramakrishna replied: “Totally accept the fact that you are a machine operated upon by God.” (Adapted from Gregor Maehle’s account in Ashtanga Yoga Practice and Philosophy)

Student Training Session 2: “How to tell your ASANA from your BANDHA,” A primer on Hatha Yoga directly from The Hatha Yoga Pradipika. SEPTEMBER 17th from 1:30-3:30 @ Hudson River Yoga.  
Contact me for details. 

See you on the mat!

No comments:

Post a Comment