Sunday, June 7, 2009

Yoga Chronicles: Spring Training

“How can you think and hit at the same time?” —Yogi Berra

* * *
“Do you want to know a secret?”

So asked C., the yoga instructor, staring down at a student. The student agreeably said yes. C.’s secret, delivered to the room, was that the basic techniques we practiced over and over were going to make the advanced stuff easier: they were the foundation.

I’m nowhere near command of even the fundamentals, but I had a flashing sensation of what a baseball player may feel in spring training—the pleasure of doing drills, fielding hundreds of ground balls, making the throw, over and over, until he knows in every cell of his being that he can make that play.

I’ve never played an organized sport, or even tried to master a disorganized one, but I was reminded of what my friend L. had said, long ago, about being a catcher.

There came a moment in the game when her body simply did all that she had trained it to do—automatically, without thinking—and it felt like joy. This was the first time I’d had any inkling of how you might get to that.

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