I love taking a notebook to class now that my teacher gives us pointers on how to develop a home practice. It is interesting to build my own sequences, it keeps me more responsible and alert compared to following a prescribed one. We had covered standing poses, forward bends, using the wall as a prop and today’s topic was backbends. I like backbends as a category but they are limited at the moment. The back injury is still very much alive and I have to be careful. It shows up in Virbhadrasana 1 & 3 too and the pain is the best reminder to tuck that tailbone in.
One of the gifts yoga has given me is a certain fearlessness to try different asanas. At the same time, I have also learnt not to trouble an already troubled area. Today, I had the good fortune of having my teacher help me in Ustrasana. I could just let go and surrender to her legs as they pushed against my back. It was possible to get a sense of how far back I could arch without that sharp pain with the imprint of her leg. Very little. But the beauty of Iyengar yoga is how much of the action in asana is available even with limitations of the body.
While being helped by my teacher, I remembered Mahabali’s story. It felt like that, surrendering my body to her feet. I just read that story a couple of days back and that act of bhakti filled my heart to bursting and made my eyes tear up. It is strange, this emotional bubbling over. Most of the time, I live in my head.
In class today, I struggled with my ego before finally surrendering that part of myself, as is. It is something I have no control over, the desire to be ‘doing’ the invocation correctly, being the best student mindful of everything the teacher says. In my head, I know that the invocation is not done but felt, that there is no being better than anyone but this is the little ‘i’ at play. And it is painful, this divisiveness.
While chatting with my older daughter who is busy chasing her dreams, I shared my hopes, to be a student of Vedanta in the traditional way and Ayurveda besides continuing with yoga. My younger one piped up saying, so boring. The older one just nodded sagely although she couldn’t understand my desire to study without any exam! How do I explain this longing to study under someone who can initiate me into the mysteries of the ancient texts. I suppose I still have to be ready. In the meanwhile, I continue with what I can in the bustle of a householder’s station.