Monday, July 8, 2013

Self Practice: Moving Toward Balance

I'm on Day 4 of the first week of Moving Toward Balance, and this morning as I went through the series of standing poses outlined in the book, I started to feel...angry. Insecure. Anxious. All of the above.

I have started getting into a little bit of a routine before I practice at home. Kind of like Colden's bedtime routine, it gives my body the signals that it's time to become aware, be present, and get ready for some yoga.

I roll up the rug from the living room floor and put it in the corner. I sweep the floor, then light two candles and a stick of incense (if it's not terribly muggy in the house). I turn on some music and roll out my mat, open my book and lay it out on the table behind my desk so that I can see what I'm going to be working on.

The first couple of days that I followed the poses laid out in the book, I found myself feeling positively lightheaded after going into a standing forward bend for a minute. I started to feel frustrated at my body that I couldn't fold very deeply without bending my knees deeply. When I tried using blocks, I felt tense AND frustrated.

Then I started moving through the sequences. My emotions were all mixed up: first I was bored, then frustrated, then I wondered why I kept fidgeting during the poses. I kept thinking to myself, you KNOW these poses - why do you insist on making microadjustments every time you take a breath? Can't you just settle in and enjoy it?

Today's practice, I found myself adding a vinyasa in between each pose to keep my focus, because my mind would not stop wandering. I found myself trying to count the seconds for holding the poses as instructed in the book by listening to the clock ticking in the corner of the living room.

Then I started questioning my motives for taking the teacher training in October. Am I really strong enough to be a yoga teacher? It certainly didn't feel that way today. Is this just another flaky thing I'm doing?

Questions, questions, questions, with a side of anxiety over my upcoming bead retreat to Colorado in September: how am I going to pay for it all, how am I going to get out there and back without having an anxiety attack? What if I get sick in Colorado? What if I get sick on the plane again? What if, what if, what if?

I started to feel like none of the yoga was working, and that I was almost right back to where I was back in January when I couldn't leave the house for a haircut without getting the dry heaves.

Meditation was, as expected, something close to a disaster. It was just constant Monkey Mind, going in every which direction... I started to wonder just what the hell I was doing with this practice, this book, and what it all meant.

And then...and then...

I opened up my email, and there was something from Yoga Journal about how to go deeper in standing forward bends. Curious, I clicked on it, and read:

"Forward bends teach patience. It takes a long time to enter them deeply. Enlightenment doesn't necessarily occur when the head reaches the legs, so there's no need to get it there soon, if ever. The realization of yoga is to be fully conscious, present, and content at whatever stage of the practice you have attained. Paradoxically, when you are truly satisfied right where you are, your pose often opens up and you can easily move forward.
If you're in good physical condition and your alignment is good, one way to progress in forward bends is to vigorously practice standing postures, with a strong Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend) between each posture. Standing postures such as Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose), Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose), and Virabhadrasana I, II, and III (Warrior Poses I, II, and III) work well. Do each standing posture twice on each side. Hold each pose for 30 seconds to one minute, and you'll find a deeper stretch and a greater sense of awareness."

Which is exactly what I have been doing in this practice for the last few days.


So, not to think too deeply about everything, I think it's time to call it quits with work and writing and go hang out with my kid before it starts raining again. 


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