Friday 12th October 2007
On The Mat
At 6am I got up and drove to the Gallery to do a practice before work. Nice to be there on my own for a change, the quiet solitude of personal practice is now familiar territory, like a home away from home. The gallery space was a bit messy today, the floor strewn with nails and paint cans, a few paintings propped up around the walls - a new exhibition opens here tonight and it’s only half hung – work will be panic today, and then I’ll have to stay on for the exhibition opening…quite a long day.
I really enjoyed the surya namaskars, watching my body warm and loosen up over the first few rounds, responding to the message of my breath as it started to go staccato and get caught in the B’s. I consciously smoothed it out by turning down the mental intensity.
I went straight into Parivritta Parsvakonasana B without even doing A, (this is the version with bound hands), which was a leap of faith or absolute madness but luckily I was up to it today. The pose was strong, the front leg bent fully to 90 degrees and the back foot glued to the floor (unlike the photo in the link). The low twist in this pose burrows all the way into my inner lumbar, the area of my body that’s in a permanent state of anxiety. I suspect it might be finally opening after all these years of being unconscious/dead, but it’s not a pleasant process.
I have a continual urge to twist and crack something big down there, do some massive reconstructive adjustment. My lumbar area has this annoying inner tickle which I can’t get to, and the urge to scratch it and scrape it and clean it out is driving me mad. It’s as if the cement blockage that’s been lodged here for 30 years is starting to soften and now that it’s thick presence is being felt on an emotional level, my psyche wants to detonate a bomb in there and nuke it off the planet.
Along with this urge to contort my lumbar and release it’s tight core is the associated danger of injury so I’m having to be extra careful now, this area’s very unstable. An earthquake is rumbling around my lower spine.
After Parivritta Parsvakonasana I attempted Pasasana, yes, way out of sequence and context but my body was pleading for extra twisting. My fingers touched on one side but that wasn’t the goal…I needed to bend deep in the hips then twist that central spot in front of my sacrum to feed my masochistic hunger- a tidal wave of pain, fear and emotion arose, it was deep work but great therapy.
With a 6.30am start it was never going to be a full practice since I like to be out of the Gallery by 8am. After my flirt with Pasasana I went back and completed the rest of the standing poses, did a few forward bends without vinyasas, a few good backbends to dig in to my lumbar a bit more, then a fully fleshed out finishing sequence. All delicious and satisfying.
Light – this is the elusive quality that I’ve misplaced. It’s missing from my yoga practice and it’s missing from my state of mind. The connections we make between our yoga practice and the rest of our life reveal the extent and depth of our spiritual practice. What is happening in our physical body as revealed on the yoga mat is a true and accurate indication, an untainted reflection of our state of mind.
If I’ve learned one thing from all these years of yoga practice, it’s the interactive connection between the body and mind – what’s happening on one level ripples through to the other, like a two way mirror reflecting our constantly changing thoughts and emotions.
Tight mind= tight body, deluged with sadness= heavy body, fallen in love= body light and full of joy. Every thought we think registers somewhere in the body, think it over and over and you thicken the neural pathway establishing a habit pattern in the mind which lodges more deeply in the corresponding part of the body.
Those times when my state of mind is clear and positive, I feel like I’m filled with Light and I naturally emanate Light and Love into the world around me, my eyes sparkle and my body’s at ease, my yoga practice is light and open.
This Light is the expression of our true nature, the divine core that is pure and crystal clear, the source of the Light that lies deeply buried beneath layers of muck.
Yoga is the front-end loader that clears the muck away.
The muck is all a combination of negative thoughts and the misguided beliefs that produce them. Both Yoga and Buddhism use the term ‘Ignorance’ to describe the state of not-knowing, the state of being unaware of our Divine Light and how to release it.
Thinking, thinking, thinking…it’s like a can of worms inside my mind right now, but I guess the good news is I am seeing it. The inner Light and expression of my Divine Self is temporarily obscured and blocked by the dense accumulation of self centred thoughts.
So…how do I reverse this trend (yet again)?
Step 1. Awareness of the problemStep 2. Take full responsibility for my own state of mind (not blame life’s circumstances)
Step 3. Determine precise action to fix the problem
Step 4. Find ways to remember the Light, all day long
Step 5. Give thanks for this beautiful life
When I re-read my last post (So You Think You Can Dance), I can see how my intoxication with the dance program is really an unconscious yearning for that Light.
By analysing why I fell in love with the program, I was attempting to identify what’s lacking in my life. I seized upon the dancer’s creative vitality, I wanted to feel that again, I want to dance, I want to fly.
Dance expresses the divine spirit through movement, grace, ease and space. As we move our bodies through physical space, extending through limbs and extremities, we are opening up our bodies, dissolving blocks so they become free of obstacles and purer vehicles for the expression of divine energy. Dance make us children again.
I wasn’t too far off the mark and the more I reflect and tease this out, the more conscious I am becoming of the work to be done, and the closer I’ll get to uncovering the light of my life.
This spiritual path is not an easy one. Travelling from darkness to light, facing my shortcomings, is tedious and painful, more like pulling teeth actually.