15 September 2015

Early morning practice

"Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark."
Rabindranath Tagore

Here in Adelaide spring has just arrived. 
The mornings are still chilly, but the days are filled with promise.

I made a pact that I’d get up at 5.30am today.
I step onto the mat at 5.45 and as I begin my sun salutes, I am rewarded with a symphony of birdsong.

Body has morning stiffness, but that was expected.

Surya Namaskar - I rise up, I bow down, I repeat this many times over in a cycle of movements that warm my body. 
Surya Namaskar is truly a bowing down to the magnificent energy of the sun.  As I perform these sacred movements, I feel humbled and honoured to be practicing as the sun once again rises over the horizon to warm this side of the earth.

I move through the standing poses, aware of the early morning restrictions in my body.  Slight modifications are needed for Parivritta Parsvakonasana and Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana, and I’m happy with that – doing a yoga practice that will wipe me out or cripple me for the rest of the day is no longer practical. 
Transformation must come slowly, gently, organically.
Yoga practice must nourish my body and mind, and provide energy, love, balance and inspiration for the day.
This is Buddha’s middle way and the sensible wisdom of age.

After the standing poses, I kick up to a handstand.  Still feeling a bit heavy.  I may have added a couple of kilos over winter and just noticing it now.

Practice time is running out.  I have to be finished by 6.45am. 
I abandon the sequence and choose what I need to do: Janu Sirsasana, then simple backbends: Salbhaasana, Dhanurasana, Ustrasana.
I won’t even attempt Urdhva Dhanurasana this morning.  The risk of injury is high.
Supta Padangusthasana is the backbend counter pose today.
I finish with some inversions: Shoulderstand, Halasana. Matsyasana, then Headstand.
Savasana for 5 minutes.

With only half an hour after practice to get ready for work and have breakfast, there is no time for writing or reflection.

Now, late at night, I can look back and reflect.  It feels like a dream to have risen early and done a practice this morning.  Magic and mystery suffused those quiet early hours.

There is a tribe who chant, pray, dance and bow to the sun in the bewitching hours before dawn.  They seek union.  They are yogis.

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