Equation #1 • 25 June 2009

1 = 1

A = A

Inhale = Exhale

How many ways and times has this formula been offered to me? Sometimes as if it’s a secret-in-plain-view, only known to the half-dozen true flying lizards of Mysore; sometimes as if it’s the most boring ever baby pranayama; sometimes overheard from my own mouth instructing the first samasthithi of a private.

This morning everything was d-e-n-s-e, far more than usual. Weird. Is this what 60 will feel like? A few minutes in, I went inner-schizoid and hosted a full-blown dialogue:

So, J, if you were alone right now, would you make it even a surya further?

No. I would fucking bail. [Sorry, just playing back the tape.]

What if this actually were a kitchen-practice? What is the same? Is it fair to draw the juice for your entire work-out from these others… to consciously use them while pretending to be riding your own discipline oh-so-sincerely?

Ok, so I will put myself in the kitchen right now. Draw a practice up out of its dusty linoleum. Shala = kitchen. So west, so east. Same same same.

Fine then yes, here we are in the kitchen. Making it not different from the shala.

It doesn’t mean don’t be strengthened by the group in the abstract. Just don’t suck these four people’s milkshake. Gurglegurglegurgle. It’s not yours and you don’t need it anyway.

It was a useful little trip: practice was extraordinary. Albeit a little weird because I kept seeing that linoleum and remembering I need to swiff. But extraordinary because air-cushioned.

What makes shala practice = kitchen practice on a dense Thursday is one key. That key is not: pushing, churning it out on a performative, exhale-driven autopilot. It is valuing the inhalation as an equal.

Counting it. Literally. (Why is the default to count the exhale or the little space thereafter?) Today I bracketed the exhale—it knows how to do its thing—letting the inhale come to balance. Instead of dying out on the floor as the others in the room inhaled for me. If in doubt today, I inhaled even more.

It is so easy when I allow myself to know this, something that others have tried to give me but I become too unconscious to do when I get tired. Ridiculously easy.

Oxygen. Who knew?