On The Mat

December 7, 2010 § Leave a comment

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve been struggling with trying to maintain a consistent practice beyond three days a week. Life has been busy, but not particularly so – at least not the way it was in August where every weekend burnt me out by the time Monday rolled around. I’ve been feeling listless, uninspired and just a general heaviness on the spirit, both on and off the mat. Motivating myself towards projects, getting things done and following up seem to take ages, or just don’t happen at all. Leaving me feeling bad, useless and sinking into my depths of self-pity and feelings of worthlessness and the cycle of inertia starts again.

Part of it could be due to the departure of my regular yoga teacher. In the one year that he taught me, we’ve really become friends. Hanging out after practice to chat about anything and everything at all was one of the highlights of my mornings. That’s when we started getting to know each other beyond the asanas. He was such a fun guy to be around, as the hordes of students that crowded the shala in the days before he left will attest to.

The new teacher is less bubbly, but no less friendly. She’s always got a ready smile and will answer any question you have about a particular pose. She just appears quieter and less chatty in comparison, and therefore, harder to get to know. I’m aware that all these comparisons are illusory and don’t change the fact that my practice is independent of who’s in-charge of the room, but being the curious human that I am, I can’t help it. I suppose the trick would be to let the emotions pass and continue practicing, day in and day out, and things will fal into place, just like they always do.

The physical practice itself has been a process of learning to be gentle with myself, a training in concentration and in letting the ego subside, bit by bit. I believe I injured my right hamstring a few weeks ago, possibly a combination of the cold and an overeagerness to deepen into forward bends. Last week’s practice saw a lot of bending in the right knee, slow deep breaths into the seated postures and a very gentle Kurmasana. Because I was unable to tear myself away from the bed, and the New Moon, there was a four-day break between my last few practices, which resulted in a really good one yesterday. I guess rest was what I needed because the hamstring didn’t hurt as intensely as before – there was a dull ache where there used to be a sharp pain – and apart from a heaviness due to an upcoming LH, practice sailed by. As it did this morning too, although I detected an additional ounce of heaviness compared with yesterday. The hamstring felt a little bit more sore from yesterday, but was still quite flexible, so I’m keeping it slow still. Constantly trying to negotiate how much I can straighten my leg without too much pain.

Part of the joys I get from the practice now is that my jump-backs and throughs seem to have found their rhythm after Kino’s workshop (which I still have to write about). Her tips on tightening the core, tucking in the tail bone and keeping the pelvis lifted have made a tremendous difference, I feel more strength in the practice and also a better flow. Of course, elements of the ‘tried and tested’ method of walking the feet still remain, but I’m sure that will end with time and constant practice.



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