Sunday, March 2, 2008

Ninja Class

You could call it a bout of acute weekend warrior syndrome or an attempt to redeem my bruised self-esteem in the athletic arena (after the snowboarding debacle last weekend) when I enrolled in a "ninja class" this week. No joke, the curriculum even includes scaling walls and defying gravity. Fortunately, there's zero potential for violence. Instead, it's a creative description for a relatively novice level rock-climbing course offered at Boston Rock Gym.

Rock-climbing is a sport in which I've dabbled for the past couple years; however, I haven't had much instruction and, by all accounts, have been "winging it." The first class was on Friday and turned out to be a great antidote for a long week flanked by a long winter. Our main directive was to develop an awareness of how we climb, specifically, are we making unnecessary noise (mostly with our feet) when we climb? Noise reflects wasted energy. It's clumsy, inefficient, and un-ninja-like. This simple philosophy holds true for lots of things, including yoga. It also affirms that silence is inherently preferable to noise in most circumstances (first dates and family dinners notwithstanding).

Consider an activity or portion of your day that needs more awareness and an increased amount of quiet. Perhaps you'd be better prepared for your day, if you turned off the TV and/or radio while getting ready in the morning. Do you tread heavily as you walk up the stairs of your apartment building? Is your speaking voice set to a higher level of volume than necessary? Could you prepare a meal with greater care and attention so as not to clang pans and dishes around in the process?

Would your athletic endeavors likely improve in quality if you were more cognizant of the movements you make and the sounds attributed to them? Consider how nice a golf ball sounds sailing off the tee when it is hit squarely and cleanly or the joy of practicing next to a yogi who deftly moves through class without a sound, save his/her steady breath.

"Less is [often] more," audibly and otherwise. Feel free to share your own favorite quiet or silent endeavors or finessed techniques in the realm of athletics, yoga, or life, in general.

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