August 26, 2010 § Leave a comment
Second day in a row that I’m practicing next to stinky Chinese man, finding myself rushing through my breaths to minimize the amount of body odour/damp clothes/muskyness inhaled. Is the Universe trying to tell me something?
I’m fully aware that having this apprehension about practicing next to Stinky is competely unyogic, that if I were a true yogi, I’d have no reactions or apprehensions about who lays their mat down next to me. I’d be able to observe the emotions that arise and let them pass without being attached to them or letting them affect my practice. But, no. Instead I find myself trying to catch my friend’s eye across from me in the faint hope of communicating “Move over, quick! Before he does!!”. Which, of course, doesn’t happen.
What is the lesson here? Pratyahara (sense withdrawal)? Mind control? Patience? Tolerance?
Maybe I should intentionally place myself next to him tomorrow and work on the good old “observe and let go” sequence of emotions and sensations. After all, that’s what the Yoga practice is all about…..encountering resistance and tightness in different asanas, but observing the sensations, sitting with them and not running away from them. Easy enough to do on the mat, but not so easy to translate this into life off the mat.
Have also been frustrated with my lack of progress in headstand lately. The arms and shoulders seem to be a good enough base to lift off, but finding my balance once I’m up is a whole different monster. Add to that the fact that I can’t seem lift off without a wall or a teacher and I’m torn between going easy and scolding myself for being such a klutz. When I finally do get up, my legs seem to fall backwards, causing my spine to curve excessively and I have problems pushing both legs off the wall (or my teacher’s hands) and staying put without flaying to and fro like a metronome.
It’s tough, this tension between the yogic qualities of practicing Ahimsa with oneself and faith in the practice with the habits of impatience and competitiveness that I’ve been shaped to aspire to. It is said that Yoga changes lives, and in the almost 10 months that I’ve been doing the Primary series, I can certainly attest that this is true. But how will it transform me from my old ways? I have yet to find out, and while it seems impossible right now, there’s a little spark inside me saying, “Keep at it and you’ll find out”.