Watching the waves take everything away…

The sea calls to my heart more than the mountains and there are many quiet memories that I can recall quite vividly. The sounds of the waves and wind, the feel of the tiny specks of sand that would somehow find its way into everything I wore, the smell of the salt water and so on. I’ve seen things lost to the waves and how they’ve been swept away without a hope of return. I see something like that happening in my life now. Almost all asanas are riding the wave back to the sea and I’m left on the shore…

The knee problem turned out to be three partially torn ligaments which collectively are a fairly severe issue. It would need surgical repair according to a couple of doctors and a complete break from Asana. I have yet to meet the specialist for a final verdict. In the meanwhile, I have been protective of my knee and taking care. My first thought on getting to know was dismay that even yogasana would be gone. The second was that of Mathew Sanford. That put things in perspective.

Somehow the loss of running was bearable because I could swim and had a yoga practice to fall back on. And in the range of asanas, the inversions became a friend for various reasons. I haven’t been to a class since 10 days and miss the learning already. But, there’s also a strong voice inside that reminds me of a larger picture that I cannot see.

Once I do get back to asana, I will need to start from scratch and it should be interesting to be a beginner with a little prior experience to draw upon. Injuries and setbacks are always excellent teachers. In the meanwhile, there is always savasana.

My only regret is that I didn’t get the scan earlier, I could have saved my knee a lot of unnecessary pain. I’ve been reading about it and gathered that it was likely to have occurred as a result of an impact. I’ve never paid attention to those kind of incidences and so cannot remember when it might have happened.

I’m still hoping that there is a way around this but if not, let’s see what adventures the sea holds.

The body as a Mirror

The soles fascinates me endlessly. I know not its anatomy. I know not the names of its intricate structures. Yet, it speaks to me. It reflects how I feel and think. Some times it is sure and steady while at others there is a flightiness. Some times it is doubt and at others it is shaky. Rarely, if ever, is it evenly balanced. There are times my entire practice revolves around tadasana and I still don’t scratch the surface of this foundational pose.

forever in tadasana

Today’s class had our teacher prodding us to see how different parts of the body could be a mirror for actions in other parts. He articulated it in a beautiful way, “The bottom of your foot is a mirror!”.  Perhaps it is barefoot running that has heightened my sense of the soles. They speak quite loudly. There is a kind of auto-correct that happens when running barefoot, it is difficult to run sloppily without shoes. The entire body is alert and it is a light and compact experience. There is communication that happens between the soles and rest of the body as I move. I never felt like that in shoes. Barefoot, there is a lot of respect for the field of experience, it is the ground beneath the feet that commands. Quite similar to our lives when one thinks about it. 

Our situations and capabilities mark the field where we struggle, explore and transform our life patterns. I can’t fight the field but if I work within its limitations, there is the possibility of freedom. 

Stone walls do not a prison make, Nor iron bars a cage

Exploring the theme of mirrors, the body reflects the mind and vice versa. As a student, it is a little easier to work with the body and see the changes reflect in the mind rather than the other way around. Moving the legs are more accessible than shifting my thought patterns defined and coloured by Prakriti.

I’ve been drawn to the Tattvas repeatedly of late and it is interesting to see how this system accounts for the universe at large and the individual embodiment. The sheer scale of subjective understanding of the ancient ones is mind boggling and all this was intuitively experienced! That makes me believe it is possible for us to be what we truly are.

Man awakened to the Self’s Glory is God; God forgetful of His own glory is the deluded man!

-Swami Chinmayananda

Hari Om