17th April

One of the first things I think of when I wake up is – will I do Primary, or will I do moon?

Today was a moon day for me.  I’m not sure why, but meditation is always easier for me when I’m in the mood for moon.  Perhaps it’s because I’m in a more tranquil place – mentally.  The fire and anxiety of Primary series relinquished, resting for a day.

I didn’t get much further than the patch of skin beneath my nose…but it was all I was aware of.  The tingling sensation and heat on my skin only occasionally interrupted by inconsequential meanderings:
“I AM quantum physics!”; “Perhaps I’ll leave out a couple of the postures…”, “I really, really want  some fruit for breakfast…”

I’m still a beginner (do we ever become anything more than that?) but already I can see that Ashtanga is the epitome of tradition: ritualistic, verging on religious at times.  Mysore is Ashtanga Mecca, the sutras – doctrine, preachers and followers riddled with extremists and heretics.  I like the structure.  I like the routine.  I like the discipline.  It contains me, keeps me steady when everything else seems to be falling away, but its tough and gritty, and sometimes you need to be gentle with yourself.  Nurturing.

Outside, on the narrow balcony, I put a thick towel under my mat for extra comfort.  Settled in, enjoying the uncharacteristic feeling of calm.  Primary makes me nervous.  Still, after all these months.  You never know what’s going to come up…

Suryanamaskara A and B start kneeling on the floor.  You gently roll forwards into baby pose, then up into downward facing dog, down into cat pose, and then up into a gentle back band before settling back down, arse on heels, softly breathing.

Matthew designed the sequence with moon days and menstruation in mind.  With his classes 75% women he thought he’d spend some time understanding them a bit more (sigh…).  Sitting in on post-natal, pre-natal – I don’t know – Matthew probably knows more about women than I do…I guess I’m not too fussed about how it came about – just have experience of how it feels.  Its grounding and comforting, working deeply into the hips and lower back.  For someone like me – its perfect.  I can spend time sinking into my hips and warming up my back without having to worry about confusing modifications, and frustrating physiological limitations.  Its fluid.  Regenerating.

In Bali, Prem told us that we should always hold back with Primary.  Think of it as running 5k’s when we’re capable of 10k.  Only run the 10k, when you’re capable of 20.  In theory I understand that.  I think it’s a wonderful way to approach our practice.  But until my hips open, which could take years, Utthita Pars-fuck-onasana, and ALL the Marichyasana’s, are always going to be pushing me up into the half-marathon territory.  I’m ok with that.  It’s the beauty of it all – learning to be patient and respectful of the way you are in this very moment, but to develop an alternative, gentler sequence that compliments primary – well – its genius.  Absolutely genius.

Matthew introduced us to the moon sequence on our first Sunday led class, and then we spent the following week learning it in self-practice with the use of cheat-sheets, committing it to memory, getting it into our bodies.  A few of us panicked two weeks in, when he suggested that perhaps we shouldn’t be cheating anymore.  I woke up early the next day and scribbled each posture down with squiggly stick men.  Thought it looked quite good, until I got to the seated legs-spread wide in front of you pose, where my stick-man appears to have lost control of all his bodily functions – limbs splayed out, in every which way direction.  Unfortunately, my physical execution of that particular part of the series isn’t quite so impressive…

After the first week, we were encouraged to incorporate it into our weekly practice, as we saw fit.  Its only now, that I’m starting to really feel the benefits – the occasional moan of pleasure escaping from my lips, as all that glorious oxygenated blood rushes into the rusted crooks and creases of my not so supple anatomy.  Sometimes…it just feels really fucking good!  And even now, hours later, I feel this warmth inside me…swirling in figure 8’s around my hips and groin.  And not just physically, emotionally and mentally too.

Jeremy, Humphrey, Noe…all the people/mentors that helped me through my marathon injury last year told me that anything that felt good…was good.  It’s all part of the healing process.  So today, I switch off my mind, and surrender to it.

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