Come Back To The Breath

May 26, 2011 § 1 Comment

Closed my practice with this mantra today, wanting to bottle the stillness and serenity that waits for me at the end of every practice and take it with me wherever I go. The Universe heard, and responded accordingly.

Walking to the car, still calm, serene and a little bleary-eyed from a deep savasana, I was barked back into reality by a tiny black dog kept behind the tinted windows of the car I happened to walk past. It was just one bark. A loud, anxious one which I would have found aggravating had it come at any other time. I jumped in shock, but the mind was calm. I continued my way to the car and focused on the breath.

Behind the wheel, it didn’t take long for me to react to the many zombies that rush hour traffic seems to attract. My pulse raced, I honked, I accelerated and cursed at those who could not hear me until the next traffic light, when I focused on the breath.

Not the most exemplary behavior straight out of practice – traffic gets me everytime. But at least it pushes me to stick to my mantra for today. God knows I need it with this endless to-do list…

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Some practice notes:

– The headstand is coming along. Today’s version was a little less stable than the past two attempts, I think it’s because the top of the head wasn’t fully on the floor. It’s tricky to find the ‘sweet spot’ that’s flat enough to be stable and doesn’t force your neck to curve excessively. I have a feeling it will appear in time. Today’s sensations were concentrated in the trapezius and the back of the neck, with virtually no pressure in the forearms. This could either mean that my forearms have become super-power muscles overnight, capable of carrying 120 lbs without any strain, or I’m balancing wrong. I have a feeling it might be the latter.

– Did 5 backbends today. 3 of them with my feet in the ‘normal’ (to me) position (i.e., turned out to the side), and 2 with K stepping on the tops of the feet to keep them in. So much better with the feet turned in of course – no strain on the lower back and a lot more space in the upper back to curve and press into the hands – but man, my body feels as if I’m knock-kneed when the feet are in that position. Funny how we get used to a body alignment that’s less than optimal, but feels ‘right’.

– Supta Kurmasana is back to finger touches and for some reason it was harder to bind today (with help), even if I had a vegetarian dinner last night. Is it actually possible that linguine with morels and peas, with a side of roasted asparagus topped with creme fraiche and breadcrumbs may actually be worse for Supta Kurmasana than a quiche (asparagus, bacon, mushrooms) and a salad? I’m being facetious here of course, but, one can’t help wondering…

– I am mustering the courage to fold forward in Bhujapidasana without my feet touching the floor. At the moment: legs wrapped around arms, feet off the ground for 5 breaths, then rest feet on the ground, bring forehead to mat and wriggle feet through hands and lift up for another 5 breaths. A little tacky and complicated yes. That’s because I’m anxious of falling flat on my face and breaking something.

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