Practice

December 16, 2010 § Leave a comment

Went back to the mat today after four days of LH. Was distracted throughout and at Marichyasana A, thought ahead about the poses to come and became very overwhelmed with a desire to call it quits at Navasana. But I pulled myself back to the present and pushed on, one breath at a time, which worked out well, as it always does.

I love my practice in the first week after LH because my body is significantly lighter than pre-LH, making my jump-throughs/jumpbacks really smooth and the Shoulderstand sequence is a breeze. Even Kurmasana and Supta Kurmasana weren’t too onerous today, in spite of the right hamstring. In Supta K, I had enough mental space to consciously try to relax my right hip that felt wound up like a spring. The exit though, is still far from graceful, but I have enough things on my plate right now that this is the least of my worries. As long as I can lift myself up and bring my legs back as gracefully as possible, I’m not complaining.

Garbha Pindasana and Baddha Konasana were fantastic as usual, and then there were the rest of the poses that I’m really working through. Don’t get me wrong, the entire practice is a constant work-in-progress, but those poses after Baddha Konasana (can’t remember the name) right until Ubbaya Padangusthasana (which is where my practice ends right now), is a real challenge. Part of it has to do with tight hamstrings, but an equal part has to do with the mechanics of rocking up and sit-bone balancing that is completely lost on me. And let’s not get started on the Headstand, which is at the top of my ‘Elusive Pose’ list, a list that has me wondering what the hell I’m doing keeping up with this practice and how much longer can I do it for before I give in and give up.

It’s tricky to manage, these mind fluctuations. I find that the most focused practices come after a night of Melatonin-infused sleep (ie, so deep that I feel like I’m floating after waking up), probably because I’m too zombie-like for my mind to inundate me with thoughts about trying not to fart, when my next adjustment is going to be, what my to-do list for the day looks like, the deadlines I need to meet, the gazillion things that I ‘should’ get around to doing before it’s too late, how my life has changed since moving to the US, the person who introduced me to my previous teacher, A, and how we’re no longer on talking terms….yadda yadda yadda. I find myself constantly pulling my mind back to the breath count, drishti and bandha, only to lose it again, find it, hold it, and lose it. The cycle of practice.

My right hamstring is still tight, so the bent-knee forward bends and folds continue. This is when the Ego comes and tells me that I’ve been doing this practice for over a year and I’m still so far away from straight forward bends?!?! It’s all I can do to let that voice pass without reacting. As Claudia put it so eloquently in her post, it is easier to contort ourselves into these poses than to practice equanimity, kindness to others and self-love off the mat. Puts things into perspective doesn’t it? Which is the real practice?

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