In today’s yoga practice, I visited the scary places - places which challenge my psychological blocks.
Backbends have been challenging my physical body for a couple of years now. They no longer come easily - and a subtle dread accompanies even the thought of them.
Dread is a deeply scary emotion, it's an imaginary monster.
I dread the possibility of spinal injury; I dread the possible discomfort of bones scraping, ligaments and tendons stretching within the joints; I dread the emotional pain of having lost the ease of backbending.
And yet, I know I can approach all backbends with caution, modification and intelligence.
So I do.
Afterwards the dread turns to relief and I'm rewarded with a deep satisfaction of meeting the scary thing head on.
After sun salutes and all the standing poses, I went straight to the backbends: Salabhasana, Dhanurasana, Ustrasana, then another Ustrasana, this time with a deeper thoracic lift while reaching up and back to put hands against the wall for a minute. Some variations of Urdhva Dhanurasana followed: first with feet on two blocks, then with hands on two blocks, then with a strap around my bent elbows to straighten and support them, all of these modifications to ease my body into the backbend. Funny, the full unmodified pose was easier than the modified versions so I did it twice.
My greatest backbend impediment these days is in the mid shoulder area, not in the lumbar. There's surely a psychosomatic cause behind the shoulder tension. It needs to be investigated and gently transformed.
After backbends, I did the full finishing sequence as if it was a delicious chocolate dessert.
This is Day 3 of silence and solitude, yoga and meditation.
Outside the heatwaves continue to scorch the city of Adelaide.
Inside, all is calm, cool and quiet.
Yesterday’s yoga practice (Thursday) was gentle and supportive, with some quiet forward bends and twists to counter the long hours of sitting.
Friday’s practice consisted of the full Ashtanga Vinyasa sequence without the backbends.
The new year has begun with an unexpected discovery: Anadi.
I sense that a renewed meditation practice and deep internal work will change ‘me’.
I sense it will be the year when I yield to the pull of the calling and consciously choose the difficult path of inner transformation above all else in my life.