Of bricks and hills

By far, sitting in simple sukhasana for the invocation is the most difficult part of practice. The settling down on to the mat, preparing the body and mind to stay alert yet relaxed. Witness and participate in equal measure.
Maybe it's just habit but the invocation is an integral part of my home practice. The cues come quite naturally from all the instructions in class and I find myself running a mental checklist. And, there is something else happening now, a sense of interconnectedness that is not just intellectual. It's a physical play of the upper body and the lower body, the arms and legs, the fingers and knees and so on. I'm beginning to experience the nuances of expansion and extension for myself. It's discovery. This is common knowledge for those who have gone before me but these tiny ah ha moments are precious, gifts of abhyasa.

I'd originally thought of playing around with some balancing poses this morning but somehow veered towards opening the chest kind of poses. It was an instinctive carry forward from getting ready for japa practice much earlier. As I settled to start, there was a sense of many cogs in the body coming together to open the chest. Last Saturday, our teacher used the analogy of the gears in a watch working in sync to keep time. That thought has been simmering since then. Those kind of analogies are what catch my attention more than the 'knees straight', 'elbows locked' ones that are so much a part of our learning as raw students. Gross actions until we can start to actually get them into a semblance of activation. The practice felt intense like how a class feels despite it being a short one. Quality over quantity. The brick, wall and ropes were my teachers today as I experimented with them in ways I haven't learned or been taught. I ended up in the region of the abdomen where the breath found its pause and the mind found its expression.

Tapas and Tejas were the first words of those thoughts. Fire and heat right in the belly. More play with the five elements. And it took me to Prashantji's words about the manipuraka chakra. At such times, I so fervently wish to be able to spend more time at the Institute, soaking everything in and studying and practising. Perhaps even getting an opportunity to attend his classes. Maybe someday…

As my days in yoga pass, I am reminded time and again of how little I know or understand. It's nearly three years since I commenced learning and all those things that my teachers would say back then make a little sense today.

Teaching the body to obey is one thing but the greater learning has been bringing a sense of presence in it. Inhabiting the space and time of this embodiment. These are all just fragments of experiences and will take a while to become a new base level. Right now, it's the joy of having crested a hill. The view is fresh and I'm drinking it in with all my heart. It will become part of me in time and the journey of a thousand hills will continue.

Hari Om

Body talk?

Recently a dear friend said something about ‘the wisdom that my feet communicated with me’. It got me thinking about the feet and the tattvas- internal radio catching bits of static again. I sense an inside understanding of the interconnectedness of it all but can’t quite hear it clearly. 

Perhaps this period of more gentle movement is meant to start looking at the other more esoteric aspects of yoga. Or, is it being precocious? The little I picked up from my readings is enough to warn against uninformed and unguided exploration. Yet, there is a pull and I find it occupying space in the background. The sounds, the colours, the geometry, the symbolism of the deities etc. in freewheeling thought. No messing around, just keeping my ears and eyes open. 

Asanas are few and mostly supported at home and I’ve been using tadasana with a prop quite a bit. My issue cropped up because of poor biomechanics so going back to the basics seemed like a good idea. It seems to be working or perhaps it is a combination of rest, physio exercises, medication and swimming. I’m partial to the asana since I find instantaneous change for a while after removing the brick. The shape of the knee looks a bit different too. An unexpected bonus has been an effortless chaturanga dandasana! That’s a pose I struggle with and I suppose all the physio stuff has helped with core strength. Taking charge of solving my problems, whether they work or not, has brought some freshness to the limited poses. The others will wait for me when I get back. 

Chakra T shirt

Hari Om