The hills and valleys of the practice. Do you know them? Can you sort of feel where you are? I remember when I was biking through the hills of Tuscany some time ago. It was a really cool trip and I there were these rides that we would set out to do everyday. We did not know the routes and they were different every day but you knew there would be hills to climb. I don’t want to get into that here but I was thinking about Ashtanga and the journey it takes, those hills and then being in the valley or just going straight and riding along sort of enjoying the scenery.
This Ashtanga journey, or lets say ride for fun, is different for everyone and then again there is a lot that we all can relate to. Right now for me practice is exciting. I figured out how to breathe better (thank you netti pot) and I feel ready. I feel ready to sort of see where it goes without expectation nor fear. You see I have these spots in the practice that I would like to gloss over and those spots I come up every day and I am trying to figure out how to get the fearing out of it. So attention to my breath and the asana that I am on, in other words, staying in the present, seems to be working for me. Oh yes and being mindful of my drishi and for me I have to M.Y.O.B This last thing is pretty helpful as well. These days I’m feeling an ease with the practice and a certain ease with the spots in the practice, those asanas, that I thought I could do without. They are becoming my sweet spots in practice, they are becoming my friend.
I know the valley very well too and the times when you are tired and you can’t breathe any better and you can’t do any better and you just want to feel better and more at ease with it, with practice, with life even. I’ve been frustrated, annoyed and angry with practice, with circumstances, with myself and others. It is not easy. It is not easy to stay with something and ride it out especially something that you could say I’ll do it tomorrow or maybe I just won’t even do this anymore and then the mind starts this justification process. The mind is pretty powerful and will convince you that what you are thinking is right! What’s is all for anyway? I am not going to go into the standard things we tell ourselves, that’s been written before and is nothing new. What I love about this and practice is that you can relate this to other things happening on your life journey.
I see people in the valley and I see people at the top and all in between. Just like life we have to ride this out. For me the answer is in getting on the mat and feel where you are, experience where you are and accept where you are, the circumstances . . . everything. Acceptance is the key as without this you cannot move beyond anything and that’s when we get stuck. So for now, know that for every uphill ride we make there is a downhill and go slowly on the downhill, pay attention and enjoy the ride for:
“Chi va piano va sano e va lontano” . . . (that’s italian for “one who goes slowly, goes healthy and surely over a long time” – anyway that’s my translation for it)