The Gap

February 2, 2010 § Leave a comment

January came and went in a flash and here we are in February. Between the last post and now, I’ve been to France, and then Singapore, and now in-between two homes amidst an insane amount of boxes, plastic wrap and packing tape. I’m sad to say that there wasn’t a whole lot of yoga in between, but I’m hoping to pick it up this month, especially after January was the month of the $67.50 yoga lessons. Yes, I went for a grand total of TWO sessions at the Shala, despite having paid the monthly subscription for ‘unlimited’ sessions. Oh well.

I brought the mat along for the trips to France and Singapore and managed to squeeze in some practice time while there. Home practice throughout although it sure was hard to motivate myself to get on the mat once I’m out of my regular, daily environment. Fortunately my in-laws have a pretty big house and I had the whole study to myself along with a view of the neighbors’ garden. It was a big challenge to get on the mat, but once there, everything worked out fine. Body was a little stiff from the long journey we had from California to the small town in Alsace, but taking it slow and focusing the breath helped to open up the muscles bit by bit.

Came back to the US for a week and was struck down by a cold and didn’t want to risk over-extending myself on the mat. Rested in the meantime and found a new apartment, then off to Singapore it was for a tiring schedule of friends, family and food in the tropical heat and humidity. I only had the chance to practice once, but the whole trip felt like a spiritual yoga experience, i.e. being present. Spent quality time with my mother, which was great for our relationship (that needs a lot of healing), and with long-time friends that I didn’t realize how much I missed until I hung out with them. Also reconciled with a good friend of 14 years, where catching up practically erased the awkwardness and anticipation of meeting someone with whom you’ve had a really bad fallout. All the worry and insecurity about the trip back home – social expectations, will I have any friends left, will everyone have moved on with their lives, what will we talk about after the usual niceties, have I put on too much weight – were rendered insignificant with each coffee, smile, hug and laugh that I encountered throughout my visit. I guess the fact that M wasn’t there helped too, leaving me to truly be back ‘home’, on my own, with the other important people in my life.

It was hard to leave, but there was not much of a choice and by that time I had already been away for more than a month. Adjusting back to California was hard. It always is hard for me to return to the US. While there are gorgeous bits about life here – the weather, the food, the opportunities – there are an equally (if not more) amount of things that irritate me too. Like the lack of a good public transport system. The ridiculously high taxes that we have to pay for mediocre public services (education, healthcare, roads). How people are more caught up with ideology, theoretical notions about what things “Should” be, but no one wants to take accountability for any decision. Too much talk mixed with CYA (cover your a**) mentality and you pretty much get California.

Anyway, enough of this ranting. After the jet-lag and a Ladies’ Holiday, I finally went back to the Shala last Thursday, to sneak in a session before January ended. I don’t know if it was the Melatonin or something in the air that morning, but that practice was SO. GOOD. My drishti was focused, I took my time with my breath and at no point felt rushed or stressed about the pose. I got to know my tight inner thighs during the Prasaritas, and reconnected with the everlasting stiffness of my hamstrings in the seated poses, but good overall for a practice coming after a month of traveling and hardly any practice. Went back again on Sunday, and while it wasn’t as ‘zen’ as the Thursday practice I had a good Savasana, taking A’s advice to cover the eyes with a towel. It really helps with the relaxation!

Advanced to Janu Sirshasana yesterday and today (A and B); A calls them the French poses because ‘Janu’ is also French for ‘knee’. The A variation was alright, but the B today was one helluva stretch. I don’t know if my heels are at the right place (they’re supposed to be right under where the Mula Bandha is supposed to be). Right now I’m just working on the theory that both my sitting bones need to be off the ground so appearance-wise, it ‘looks’ correct. Only time will tell if I’m doing it right!

Went for the evening Mysore yesterday and went for the morning one today – TWO practices within 24 hours!! My body is feeling it and sure appreciates the break today. Looking forward to going back tomorrow though. The recent gap in practice with all the traveling has showed me the importance of a daily practice. It structures my day, making the transition back into a daily routine a little easier, and is intensely rewarding. I’m learning something new about my body and my muscles everyday, I’m looking inward, discovering the self that exists in and between each breath.

Going to make this a six-day practice week. Let’s see if I can keep it up!

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