Saturday 8th December 2007
I worked a busy 13 hour day yesterday – my usual 8 hours in the office plus 5 hours serving wine at the exhibition opening last night. Today is my last work day – hopefully an easy one minding the art gallery. After today I’m officially on annual leave until 2nd January.
What will I do?
I should have a plan.
Time is precious.
Must use it productively.
On the Mat
After I walked the dog this morning, I came back and did a leisurely ‘ladies holiday’ practice at 8am (work started at 11am).
Started with a long Supta Virasana simply because I may start back at the 6am Iyengar led class in February next year (with you-know-who) and my body might need some coaxing back into some of the old standby Iyengar poses (handstand, forearm balance, Ardha Chandrasana, a thousand and one Headstand and Shoulderstand variations etc).
Although it looks like I can do it easily, I’m not very comfortable in Supta Virasana any more – will need to lay around in it more often.
Sun Salutes, standing poses, all good, then a long Janu Sirsasana A, the penultimate menstrual pose (next to Baddha Konasana). After that I grabbed a block for a passive chest opener: laid on the floor with the block under my thoracic spine - this is like a passive version of Matsyasana with extended legs - then gradually raised my arms up until they pointed to the ceiling and slowly, slowly reached them back over my head, til the thumbs touched the floor (palms facing inwards). I took my time doing this because the arm movement, when done mindfully, shows up where the shoulders catch and it helps me to correct my wonky right shoulder as it starts to skew.
This is classic Iyengar work...realignment at a surgical level. It brings balance to the two sides of the body, something that we often poo-poo in Ashtanga while merrily skipping through the same practice reinforcing the same habits.
After that one, I put TWO blocks under my sacrum for a not-quite-so-passive Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge). The bottom block is placed horizontal on the floor with a vertical block on top. I have to be up on my toes to get my sacrum up onto the block but once it’s in place I can lower the feet down and masochistically enjoy the piriformis stretch.
Then I did a sleepy kind of Supta Padangusthasana to release out of the back bend and lay in Supta Baddha Konasana for a while instead of Savasana.
New Years Resolution
I’m thinking about making a New Year’s Resolution.
And I don’t go into this lightly.
If I make a promise to myself I have to keep it so I have to be careful what I promise.
The Resolution would be to practice yoga EVERY day.
It’s completely unrealistic for me to do an Ashtanga practice 6 days a week right now – I’m no longer mentally fired up enough for that, neither is my body.
But if I make a NYR to practice SOME kind of physical yoga every day, even if it’s just a few stretches, or research poses, or corrective surgery poses, or an Iyengar sequence, or only half of Primary series, or even full Primary series, or maybe even Primary plus some second series backbends – whoa getting a bit ahead of myself here….anyway I think if I gave myself all that leeway I may be able to honour the promise to myself.
It would definitely help me build up a daily routine of self discipline which I’m really going to need when my yoga practice buddy Renate goes away in February for 6 months.
I’ve never made New Years Resolutions before. Although well intentioned they seemed like those impulse buys, splurges induced by a spur of the moment madness.
Being more sensitive these days, I can feel how Christmas/New Year is a time where collective energy rises like a crescendo over Christmas, followed by quiet reflection, and then the coming New Year generates a particular energy which facilitates new beginnings. Maybe by making New Years Resolutions we are subconsciously hooking into this collective energy to help lift us up to meet our dreams.
So I’m going to sit and reflect on all this for the next few weeks (not on Vipassana of course when my thoughts are being purified). Then I’ll consider making a committed promise to myself to get to my mat every day – and I won't be able to break my promise without extreme anguish and pain.
A BIG THANK YOU to Mr Iyengar for sharing so much life-wisdon in his book 'Light on Life' and for rekindling my belief in the path of yoga.
His opening words in the Preface:
"by persistent and sustained practice, anyone and everyone can make the yoga journey and reach the goal of illumination and freedom. Krishna, Buddha and Jesus lie in the hearts of all. They are not film stars, mere idols of adulation. They are great inspirational figures whose example is there to be followed. They act as our role models today. Just as they reached Self-realization, so may we.”
It’s not that hard.
Just believe in the way and follow the path. You’ll get there.