DAY 54: Calvin's Dad

Author: thedancingj /

Yesterday morning, during the 30 second break that leads into standing head to knee pose, while I was trying to organize my sleepy brain and gather up some determination for the poses to come, an image popped into my head.

How many of you guys have read the Calvin and Hobbes comic strips by Bill Watterson?  This was a strip that ran for 10 years about a 6-year-old boy (Calvin) and his stuffed tiger (Hobbes), but that description doesn't even begin to cover it!  (For the uninitiated, you can see a great sampling of comics here.)  Anyway, one of the running jokes in the comic was that Calvin's dad would sporadically take the family out on these camping trips or fishing trips that would be disastrous.  Absolutely disastrous.  But every time, the dad (who was a somewhat inept, business-suit-wearing, and frazzled guy) would insist that suffering is great for kids because it builds character.

That's what I remembered as I got ready to interlock my fingers and pick up my foot in front of me three inches below the toes.  "This is great for Calvin!  It'll build his character!!"  Because what is the yoga class (and especially the standing head to knee part of the yoga class), if not one big, long "character building" exercise?

Now, I'll admit that I have serious doubts about the effectiveness of Calvin's dad's "character building" fishing trips.  Those usually ended with angry wives, stubbed toes, soggy stuffed tigers, and zero fish.

But what about the effectiveness of our yoga classes?  What are we getting out of this daily practice, besides confused friends, sore backs, piles of soggy yoga towels, and zero spare time?

That's a question you have to ask yourself, of course.  But in my case, I have to admit that it really seems to work!  Since I started yoga, I've found myself in a couple of stressful situations (confrontation with a restaurant customer, minor car accident) that would have totally thrown me off balance before, and to my own surprise, I found myself staying calm and simply breathing.  I've found myself in the middle of a long, unpleasant task that I didn't really want to do, telling myself, "Ok, this is the halfway point, so it's just like triangle pose in a class!  It's all downhill from here!"  So good job, Calvin's dad!  I guess you were on to something after all.  A little bit of "suffering" can build character - just as long as you go about it the right way.

6 comments:

lz said...

You put it so well! "A little bit of "suffering" can build character - just as long as you go about it the right way." This is so true. Especially the part about doing it the right way. So fundamental: do it the right way and we get all the benefits :)

The Missus said...

I loved Calvin and Hobbes!!! Calvin's dad and my dad had a lot in common, as far as character building. My dad believed suffering built character,

Maybe that's why I do Bikram yoga now, as an adult?

Yolk E said...

Heck yes. I loved Calvin and Hobbes growing up--they actually ran it in the paper! Oops, I dated myself ;-)

But what a great, happy connection to make during a class. Whatever gets you through the class and into the poses!

Johan said...

"just like triangle pose in a class", ah so that would mean we are just at the set up for tree about now. ;-) Time to grow, form a solid trunk and plant some solid roots.

hannahjustbreathe said...

I actually asked for (and received) the Calvin and Hobbes collector's edition when it came out a few years ago. Freaking LOVED that comic strip!!!!!

Also, I mindfully grabbed my foot three inches below the toes last night and man! That is a DIFFERENCE! My hand feels so far back now, and my balance feels off in a new way. Interesting...very interesting...

Ummm, yeah, so great post. :)

peaceloveyoga said...

Just like the lyrics in one of my favorite Vertical Horizon songs...

Don't tell me how to be
'Cuz I like some suffering
Don't ask me what I need
I'm just fine here finding me...

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