I have been absent from the yoga studio for nearly a week now. Absent from Mysore, yet not completely distant from my practice. I took Friday off, and enjoyed an extra hour of sleep. It followed with a few sun salutations (Surya Namaskara A and B) and some seated meditation. On Saturday and Sunday, I hit the practice full force and felt that I’d made real progress. “Boy, won’t my teacher be happy to see that I haven’t completely ignored my practice”, I thought.
Then I got a visit from Aunt Flo. The second one this month. I’m lucky, I guess. In the yoga world, this calls for a rest day as the thinking is that ashtanga stimulates an inner fire and creates an upward movement of energy. During menstruation (yes, that’s what I’m talking about), the energy should be moving down and out.
Feeling like not only had I been moving along in my practice, but also that I had been getting a nice handle on my back/hip issues, I was not embracing the prescribed rest. I did an abbreviated practice at home on Monday and found that I was down and out the following day. Ugh!
There I was, Tuesday morning at 6:30 am, sitting at home on my mat meditating on whether or not I should return to Mysore, spend yet another day of abbreviated practice, or rest. My change of clothes were in the car, and my lunch was packed. I was dressed but NOT ready to go. I felt like such a fraud. Ashtangi? How could I call myself an ashtanga when I could not decide whether or not to practice.
I didn’t go.
But I didn’t rest either. Instead, I did yet another modified practice
wasting away 30 minutes feeling guilty about skipping my practice. And sadly, my body was becoming more stiff and sore than before.
So this morning there was no Mysore practice at the studio. I was bound and determined to do what I would have done if there had been. I stepped to the front of my mat facing eastward and begun with the opening chant. The practice that followed was difficult at best. My body was stiff and my mind was weak. It was all I could do to keep my movements timed with my breath. At one point, I caught myself arguing about whether or not I needed to go to the bathroom. In the end, I forged on, determined to stick it out until I ran out time or energy.
I was in Janu Shirsasana C (a pose where your toes, the plantar surface of the foot, and hip are put into a challenging position) when my phone began to chime. I didn’t even need to look to know that it was theMAN calling as the ring tone game him away. “I can’t stop now”, I told myself. “I won’t come back.” And so I let the call go to voicemail and continued on, proud for only a second at my ability to stick it out. Then, once more fighting the urge to stop before my chosen targeted stopping point.
I was humbled. Indeed, I was humbled. My vinyasas, in between seated postures, were nowhere near the fluid movements designed to string the postures together that they were just days before. I laughed at the thoughts I’d previously entertained about my teacher being happy with me. Another lesson in attachment, I guess. Each day is different and it does no good to be attached to a level of fitness or achievement for it too will likely pass. I’m sure you have found this to be true in your other sports. I certainly have found this in running.
I did my best to just give it my best. Breathe: IN…and OUT, IN and OUT…
Until, it was time to finish up. I crawled off my mat (not literally), and into the shower. And I thoroughly enjoyed the feel of the hot water falling on my sore, worn out body. I did it!
Lord only knows what tomorrow will bring.