Diving in

I realize that talking about one’s practice is like talking about your dreams . . . no one really cares.    You come to the mat and like a student of mine said just the other day in a post making reference to daily practice and how amazing it is that one day you can’t do something and the next day, well you do it.   Whatever it is, I am sure most practioners can surely relate as that’s what daily practice teaches you.  You keep showing up, keep applying what  you know, what your teacher tells you and you come to learn what is expected of you.

Here in Mysore it is expected that eventually you stand up from your back bend and then to top this off you drop back.   I have been practicing long enough to know this and that is the scary part.   This is something in the back of my mind always and I have stood up before only to just go back to my old tricks the next day which is not to stand up properly at least.   To be clear, properly for me, is not dropping to my knees as I habitually do.    So today as I started my practice I felt good, centered and asanas being connected like dots . . . almost.   Jump backs improving or at least feeling fine with a little lift.  I felt like it was about trusting myself for once that when I came through on a jump back I would not fall on my face or chest and that I could hold it.  I mean, seriously, I have been doing this long enough.    Besides all this will help me at the end where it seems to count here.  If I take shortcuts and avoid stuff,  I am only hindering my personal development.    I mean I can get through the practice just fine and today I felt like, well let me do this practice and find the yoga and my back bend. Come back to the dristhi when there is a distraction and there was,  or bring that awareness back to my breath and there were times I had to tell myself breath here.  Are you inhaling and are you exhaling?

All around me practitioners know what is expected and they stand up, they drop back.   You may have some preconceived notion or a plain old judgement about someone and then they are doing it right next to you.  Some pretty, some not so pretty, but they are doing it.  Also getting close to the heals seems to be some key element.   Sharath standing in front of me after I did my backbends. This was after I had one feeble attempt to stand and then the one that seemed like okay that was good enough, I’m up.  So he says, “you dropping back” and I said no and just shook my head, and said “I have some fear” and left it at that.  I think I knew what was coming so I maintained my breathing and I happened to turn my mat over minutes before as it had some moisture.  So I go and I landed it, walk it in and up again.  He was there each time with a minimal amount of assistance on the front body at the hips.  I did this three time and he says, “You can do it.”  I have heard this before from Chuck so this is familiar.  I have also learned in just 8 days that Sharath does not talk much and only says what needs to be heard so I am listening.  I’m shaking at this point and during the halves he tells me,”relax,” but I can’t, but I try.  No words.  I go back down and then here it goes again.  Walk it in, straight arms, walk it in again, straight arms and again.   I come back up and he says . . . “one inch” and makes a motion with his hands.

I took the longest rest and felt the prana pulsing through every inch of my body seeming to know exactly where to go, needing no direction from me.   This series of events leading up to my backbend is what I personally need to work through as my journey in this practice evolves some more.  No avoidance, no shortcuts and glossing over things that I thought it were just good enough.  Maybe there is some Mysore magic here after all.

6 thoughts on “Diving in

  1. I find following your journey, or that of any ashtangi fascinating…… I long for the ability to have a strong practice, but injury always seems to limit me once I start up again.

  2. I understand and these issues can also be helpful in letting us approach our practice in new ways where we can learn and grow in the practice. We think we can do this alone and that may not be possible . It is okay to ask for help and guidance and then you will find your way. Thanks for reading!

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