30 December 2010

Yoga practice

Thursday 30 December 2010

My first yoga practice for three weeks was a beautiful experience, rich and nourishing.
I felt deeply connected to my body.

The sun salutes flowed effortlessly, joyously, softly. The standing poses were deep and connected. I was amazed at the strength, balance and beauty expressed through them all, especially Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana.

After the full set of standing poses, I went to the wall for a Handstand, it was effortless. I stayed up for a couple of minutes, came down, then placed my hands about two feet away from the wall and went up again into a perfect free balance, motionless, suspended, perfectly aligned. Pincha Mayurasana followed, not quite so effortlessly but still a light and easy free balance.
How lovely to feel all this again.

After that pose my mind started wandering. I sat on the mat in Dandasana thinking of Mark for a minute, then folded forward into Paschimottanasana. Five breaths in each of the three hand clasp variations gave me time to sink deeply into the folds of the pose. A gentle vinyasa took me to Purvottanasana. No more vinyasas after that pose, just a quiet entry and exit through Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana and Tiriang Mukha.

Softness had come, but so had sadness.
That was enough forward bending.

I laid on my back, bent up my knees for Setu Bandha and just looked at the ceiling thinking of Mark. No specific memories or images, just a muted feeling of his essence and the sadness of the loss. I pulled myself back to the moment and pressed up into Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose). Then without any other preparation, straight into Urdhva Dhanurasana. Resting in between I did three full backbends.
Paschimottanasana settled me down again.

I laid on my back thinking about what came next in the sequence - my Ashtanga practice has been so irregular over the last two years, the sequence is not automatic any more. I remembered Chakrasana. It’s been years since I’ve attempted it - how I’ve missed that pose. How I’ve missed my practice...
I felt my way slowly from Halasana, stretching my feet further away from my head, pressing my hands down into the floor. I rolled over smoothly and easily, coming out into Dog Pose.
What an innocent joy I felt, like a child doing a somersault.

The finishing poses were glorious. I stayed in Urdhva Padmasana (full lotus in shoulderstand wiht hands supporting the knees) for over 10 minutes. It was the most nourishing yoga experience I’ve had for years. Every part of my body, my bones, my glands, my arteries, my organs bathed in the soothing warmth of this inverted pose. It imparts not only extraordinary physiological effects but also mystical energetic effects when held for a long time.
Headstand was interrupted after 5 minutes by a phone call from Ebony. No matter. After the call I sat in Padmasana for a few minutes then did a Dog Pose and a short Savasana.

Re-entry into yoga practice, one barrier overcome...

My body has changed. It is lighter both physically and energetically, and there is less restriction in my lower back than there was a few months ago. Once I’d decided to break off the 4 year relationship in August/September my lower back quickly stopped aching and morning stiffness disappeared completely...coincidence? I don’t think so. Perhaps I’d been emotionally ‘stuck’ in a wrong relationship which was manifesting in my lower back, or perhaps the love flowing through me for Mark was opening all the channels, physical, etheric, energetic, divine...
There is still bone on bone restriction in my lumbar spine, but not the agony and nerve pain that has stifled me these past two years.

Yesterday I noticed for the first time some slight contraction and closing up of my body so I put off doing yoga for yet another day and went for a two hour solitary hike up the mountain instead.
Well...not quite so solitary because it was early evening and there were lots of koalas, kookaburras, yellow tailed black cockatoos and lizards around. This nonchalant koala was perched in a eucalyptus tree about shoulder height. Further up the same branch clinging perilously to the tip was her baby.

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