“i’m searching for phrases, to sing you praises; i’ve got to tell someone…” -bob dylan
Singing Yoga’s Praises
I got back on my mat 2 months after I woke up. Just doing tabletop (hands and knees), took every bit of strength I had. But I owed it to myself get back to yoga. My practice was one of a couple of things that kept me alive last Nov./Dec.
Now, for the first time since then–when I shuffled onto the mat and carefully, painfully lowered myself to a sitting position (major victory!)– I’ve moved away from my practice; except for a private session and a workshop, I haven’t practiced in about a month. No asana (physical poses), little meditation, very little study. I have taken steps toward doing karma yoga, the yoga of service, and gotten my animal shelter volunteer training.
As I’ve moved in and out of practice (which more than one teacher has told me is normal, but still feels like a failure), I’ve also moved in and out of balance, getting the blues and even Holly Golightly’s mean reds, alternating with feeling all right. Everyone does. Perfectly normal. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras tell us we need to embrace pain and discomfort because it helps us grow. I think I am willing to accept it (more or less), but I don’t know about embracing it. Rumi waxes positively masochistic on the subject, but I’m not there yet.
I spent this morning reading The Game of Thrones, which is a great book, but is depressing me somehow. Then Indi and I took a long walk in the spitting rain. I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t go for a walk.
I got home and unrolled my mat. At this point, it almost feels like starting over; I’m out of touch. The longer I’ve been away, the harder it is to come back. Oh well, I thought. I’ll just work on a couple asanas. Chant mantra. Get grounded. [edited to add: It didn’t really feel like starting over. My awareness of my body and mind and what I’m doing is light years ahead of what it was when I started three years ago.]
It’s hard for people–for me!– to realize that you don’t need to do an hour-long dramatic practice to reap some benefits.
Which I did. It is hard to explain to someone who doesn’t practice what yoga can do for you. I felt so peaceful and so grounded by the time I lay in savasana (final resting pose) that I melted, my heart singing. When I sat up to meditate, I was filled with gratitude to even be here, drawing breath. My mantra is really only a play on Sanskrit words, but when it’s roughly translated to English, the last part is a plea to keep me on my path. The signs are everywhere.
nischala joy devi says it much better than I can:
“the lotus flower teaches us that no matter how muddy the waters of our consciousness become, clarity can always emerge…”