Monday, April 19, 2010

Day 11: Mr Iyengar and Me

The new term at my yoga school started this morning and I could not attend as the Hungry Screenwriter does not have a budget line for his yoga practice today.

Pshaw, I say to that! As in yoga, so in writing. What I mean by that is that I cannot let the absence of "ideal" circumstances hinder the experience of abundance in my life. So, at 6.15 this morning, I was up and by 6.30, had rolled out my mat and began my yoga at home at exactly the same time that the class was starting.

I first tried yoga back in the early 90's, a Hatha class or two, in Bondi Junction. Those two classes were enough for me and I didn't return to yoga until five years ago, when I moved into where I live today in Potts Point. This second time around, I attended beginner's classes at the now defunct and much-lamented Sydney Yoga Space run by Peter Thompson. Twice a week for 18 months I would front up, to learn the foundations of Iyengar Yoga (that's Mr B.K.S Inyengar [just turned 91] in the photo) until Peter cast a beady eye over me and moved me up to the Level 2 group.

It's always been encouraged that a yoga practice at home/in life outside of classes is something to aspire to, but, like my writing and the office that I used to rent, I never could get my head around a yoga practice where the circumstances weren't how I told myself they "should be". That was until the school closed down and whilst searching for a new school, I was forced into spreading out my mat on the floorboards of my apartment. Necessity surely is the mother of invention.

I now have a few props of my own - belts, chairs, blankets and straps - and, because of the five years of classes, I know enough of a sequence of Asanas to put together a standing poses session for myself this morning. I didn't look at the clock until I was done and, guess what? My class finished within five minutes of the time that they would be finishing at the school.

What I miss most about Peter Thompson's classes are the frequent times that he would stop, gather us all together and impart some wisdom, often quoting Bob Dylan, John Lennon or the scholar Thomas Merton. I will pass out these quotes as the weeks go by , but for today, I will offer you one of my favourites from Peter:

"What sort of people would we be if we got everything we want, when we wanted it?"

Day #11 Tip: Fidelity To A Practice
Today, in my 9 to 5 working hours, I cannot apply myself to Jerusalem, the current script that I'm working on. I actually have other writing business to do: I have a long synopsis for a proposed screenplay entitled The Age Of Enlightenment that I, a Director and a Producer will be submitting to Screen Australia (the Federal Government film funding body) and to Screen New South Wales (the NSW Government film funding body) for development funding, this week, and I need to work on those applications.

That in itself is fidelity to my practice, but what if I didn't have film business but something else to attend to today which wasn't anything to do with writing or film? What if I had to go and do one of the other jobs that I've done over the years (cleaner, warehouser worker, model, babysitter, bricklayer's mate, driver, copywriter, gardener etc) to put food and drink on my table?

Well, I have this evening. I have a commitment from 6.30 to 8.00, then I have roast lamb and a ratatouille(of sorts) that I cooked last night and then the rest of the evening at my leisure. I still have the copy of Insomnia that I rented last week for my Genre Night and it certainly wouldn't harm me to watch Al Pacino attempt to right the wrongs taking place in Nightmute, Alaska again. By the way, in this film, set in a land where the sun doesn't set and sleep is hard to come by, Al's character is a detective named Will Dormer. The French verb to sleep is "dormir".

That's a screenwriter caring about and taking pleasure in their craft, is it not?

However big or small, little or great the action, we must do something every day to tell the screenwriter within that we're still in the game. As Peter Thompson said: "Fidelity, loyalty to our process....otherwise we're just like a dunny door banging in the wind".


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  2. needs must - thanks for the reminder Roger. am now attempting my own home yoga practice....