Diary Extract – 12th April, 2012

An 8.7 earthquake has struck Indonesia, the buildings of Bangkok rattled.  Tsunami warnings in place for the South of Thailand, Phuket airport’s closed.  We sit cross-legged on the straw and fluff packed recliner cushions and watch the water behind us.   Coffee and coconut shakes leaving ring marks on the table, the echo of forks scratching empty plates.

“Perhaps we should have that beer afterall?”

We have 2 days left on the course, and have already said farewell to one.  Sofia, my Argentine Amor.  Emotions are high, and everyone looks a little frayed at the edges.  In just four weeks our lives have changed.  Living in the moment and wanting to enjoy our last days of practice and new friendships, but clawing at space and time to process the dark and murky icky stuff that’s been dredged up to the surface.  How will our lives be when we return home?  Jobs, families, personal practice, friendships?  Will they understand all of this?  Will it continue? Are we happy?

I foresee a lot of change for each of us.

Me.  I’m as excited as I am scared.  Pain and happiness seem to be skipping along hand-in-hand, fingers interlocked with white knuckles.  I feel rested, but there’s a tight pain in my chest.  I breathe deeply into it, and try to massage it through my marathon T-shirt.  Fist clenched, kneading, rolling it out into my left shoulder and back.

The ocean is very still, lapping lazily against the stone boulders just beyond the rickety, toothpick bridge.  Beach bungalows are gently lit and reflect on the surface like dim oil lamps.  It’s not yet sunrise, but the sky is beginning to turn.

I’ve barely written a word since I’ve been here, it didn’t feel right.  But now, my fingertips are tapping against the table tops, elbow bopping – it’s time.  But where do I start?

11 days have passed.

The level of your yoga is particularly obvious when you practice alone…[it] not only reveals your actual ability to do the postures, but also highlights any psychological difficulty.

– p. 18-19, Ashtanga As It Is, Matthew Sweeney

In just 11 days, a lot has been revealed.  Trying not to get swept up into analysis and a massive ego trip, I thought I’d just relay some of my observations.

  1. Meditation seems to be getting easier.  Which makes me nervous…
  2. Primary series.  AHHH!  Wtf is going on there?  First few days of self-practice – marvelous, and then my melt-down on Friday, and I haven’t been able to go back to it since…
  3. Moon sequence is wonderful.  Truly wonderful.  I’m getting it!  Cheat sheets to one side, can actually feel my body lengthening and lifting into the one-legged downdog section (Ekha Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana A,B and C ).
  4.  Hips – still really painful, can feel something writhing about in there, like an irate viper, waiting to attack.
  5. Back-bending is deepening each day.  Objects at floor level coming into focus, kinda making me want to get back to full-bridge in Primary.
  6. Emotionally, things seem to be leveling out a bit.  I’ve really really needed this solitary time to let things settle, and write it all out.  I know that perhaps its a bit strange that I publish all this stuff on the blog.  I can’t explain it.  It just feels right.
  7. Ahhhyurveda.  I’m sleeping again.  (WHOOO!)  6 long, unbroken hours each night.  Vata’s resting for a time….(phew….), Kapha’s being entertained with one too many chocolate bars, and Pitta…Oh Pitta.  Been on the rampage haven’t you?  Think its gone and burnt itself out.  Temperatures have dropped a tiny bit, curtains fluttering in the rare mid-morning breeze.
  8. I’m more sensitive to everything.  Can’t wear anything but cotton now.  Beloved lycra of old makes my skin crawl.
  9. Relationship with self.  I’m in conflict, and a bit confused.  Experiencing negative thoughts about my body.  Feel sad that I’m wanting to be lighter, and slimmer.  Why this shift into non-acceptance?
All I can really do each day, is practice.  Whatever that experience may be.  A shortened, frustrating Primary, or a languid, verging on erotically stimulating Moon…it doesn’t really matter, as long as I’m there.
The 9th of April was my most profound breakthrough, in yogic terms anyway.
Diary extract from that evening:
It’s ok to be in this place.
It’s ok to be right there…sinking, shrinking, feeling less than..because, we are everything.  We are every polarity.  And it’s ok to be selfish sometimes.  It’s ok to be angry.  What was once my universe…my reality, isn’t my reality anymore.  It’s something new.  Its something exciting.
And that’s kind of how I’m beginning to view my practice.  My mat, my universe.  Every morning, or afternoon, or whenever I make the time to roll my mat out, wherever that may be, on the balcony, in the middle of a shala, in that slither of space beside the bed…I am physically, spiritually, emotionally creating a space where I can breathe, feel, make contact with this new and exciting reality…How amazing is that?!
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