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Tag: practice (page 1 of 1)

life reveals itself

Windows Blinds

Ever so often I fall into a pattern that makes me stop and wonder. (Ponder?)

A few years ago I was set in my yoga practice. I had found a teacher and class I really enjoyed, and I went regularly. I felt that my understanding of Hatha Yoga was expanding, and so was my level of body awareness. It was exhilarating in so many ways, just like yoga classes mostly are.

Then things began to change. Perhaps this was the beginning of my “hermit” phase when I weaned off many social and group activities. I stopped going to class—maybe the teacher was gone for a bit, too? I cannot recall exactly but I began to practise at home instead, and it was really enjoyable. The pace was my own, and so was the sequence of asanas. I could change things up as I went along; I could play music if I wished; I could rest as long as I wanted, and I could end with seated meditation. Of course, these solo practice sessions weren’t as energetic as an in-class one but I found that my experience of Hatha Yoga ran deeper, and it also felt that the asanas revealed their nuances to me over time.

I sometimes wondered if I was merely being my “lazy” self who preferred to hang out at home instead of going to class. But I also knew that that was not the truth—I simply preferred to “fly solo” sometimes.

Fast forward a couple of years… I found myself at a yoga class, and it was a fun experience. Perhaps the years of solo practice had prepped me nice and proper, and I was able to experience more depths (and heights, bends, curves, etc.) in the class. I became a regular, going thrice a week.

Then India trips happened (Nov-Dec, Apr-May), so I couldn’t go to class any more, and I was back to practising on my own… and once again, I experienced the joy of deep, introspective, solo Hatha yoga practice.

And then I found myself at the same spot again… so comfortable in my home practice, so reluctant to go to class.

It’s so funny, I know! A group class takes me “far” but solo practice takes me “deep.” I wondered if the India trips had thrown me off-routine, and that’s why it was a challenge getting back. Now I wonder if it’s something else.

Perhaps Life reveals itself to us as we are. Perhaps it is reflecting to us what we are. Perhaps it isn’t us that’s responding to Life but Life that is responding to us. Perhaps it was my own strong wish for solitude that manifested in a series of events that made it simply hard to go to a class. Previously I thought “Life is the way it is, hence I am the way I am.” Now I wonder if I have been thinking in reverse all this while.

Unexpected bounty

(Have started on Morning Pages, and this one showed up a couple of days ago.)

There is enough time, there is. Enough breath too – Don’t let your impatience kill the game before it even starts. Build patience – slow, relentless persistence – pace your breaths – make them last. Lengthen the hold – extend from end to end. Practise economy and grace – everything is a resource – use wisely – judiciously – resourcefully. This is beautiful imagery – spontaneous/life. Move from the impetuous artist-creative-writer to the practiced athlete. Pacing, practising, flowing. Breathing like a swimmer, taking it in, letting out slowly, with purpose & deliberation, fully cognizant and aware of the power, purpose and intensity. This is life, this is practice. This is for the long haul. This is about grace and economy. Spare, minimal. Beautiful, not wasteful.

A feeling of energy controlled with intent – not a wild river or a young elephant, but a clear river dancing/snaking down the mountain – unmistaken in its vector – moving, not dashing. Youth is an aspect of its intensity, not movement. It moves surely, slowly, but with purpose, even if it is momentary, yet in the moment, established in the movement and the moment. Surefooted dancers are the best – so are the hikers and climbers. You know where to place the foot. You have spent years seriously considering where to place the foot, and now this knowledge is embodied, embedded – there is no thought, no premeditation – the individual unit has dissolved and there is continuity, system integrity – togetherness – oneness. And it is this flow that we yearn to – we always yearn to dissolve – to let the Big Mind take over.

It takes years and years of effort and practice before we can fully and finally dissolve, and then we do it each moment, every second, next, one after the other.

The Strange Awkwardness

Have you ever experienced a strange awkwardness?

It seemingly comes out of nowhere and settles in your chest. I feel the slight weight descending within, like a greyish cloud. I wonder where it came from. I look around. I think back to events in the last hour or so. Everything seems to be okay. Was there a disagreement, a barbed remark or argument? None. However, the discomfort is absolutely obvious. I pace around, wondering what to do next. A cup of tea won’t help. A walk outside is a great antidote but I feel like someone’s sitting on my tail… I cannot muster up the enthusiasm to step out. Of course, all meditation teachers will tell you to go meditate. I kinda force myself to do that but I don’t really want to. I try to obey my teachers. Nothing works. I am counting the hours until I can get to bed. Perhaps sleep/oblivion is the only way out.

Next day, I discover that I am running a low fever. Perhaps that was it. I have observed that emotional disturbance causes me to develop a fever. So let’s work it backward. Perhaps there was an emotional disturbance. Really? Maybe I didn’t catch it right away. It is like a tiny thorn that lives under the skin. Too small to pull out but it bloody well makes its presence felt. I wonder how many such thorns exist, pricking my insides, making me bleed within. One day, all the little rivulets will coalesce into a huge flood that gushes out of my body. Or mind.

So, do I pull out every thorn? It isn’t an easy job. It is a matter of skill and patience. You don’t want to cause a gash or wound. Then you think, ahh, never mind. It will stay there a while, and shortly get integrated into the body through scar tissue formation. Or I can simply focus on building awareness, so its clear brilliance throws everything into sharp relief — thorns, gashes, open wounds, blisters, scar tissue. Does time heal all wounds? Does loving attention help?

Is this about sensitive people only? Does this practice help in halting illness? Is it an indulgence or a necessity?