She did warn me….

That emotions were going to come up, that it was going to be difficult….

But flippin’ heck!  It’s not just been the odd sniffle during a film, or having a bit of a cry in the shower…its been torrential, stomach-clutching….what’s wrong with me?  type crying.

How can this stuff still be in me?  I continue to shy away from it, hide from it…feel ashamed of it.  Why is it so hard to just embrace it and let it go?  What’s with that feeling that it needs to be justified…you have to analyse it, intellectualize it, mask it behind something…when surely its one of the truest things you go through.  That feeling inside, the relief as it comes flooding out, and how empty you are, when it starts to slowly subside.

I think I’ve put some pressure on myself.  Having spent these last few months doing so much inner-work, with all the yoga, meditation and travel, I think that the sense of stability and happiness it built up inside me should still be there.  That ability to find everything around me beautiful was something I thought might stay with me a little longer.  I feel guilty, and I feel fearful that it has all gone so quickly.

But that’s not the case at all.  I’m starting to feel lighter.  All this emotional upheaval would ordinarily stiffen everything up, create tension in my hips and body, act as a barrier in my morning practice…but yesterday I went through the sequence with great focus and steadiness.  I sunk into my hips without too much resistance.  I did all the add-ons that Matthew taught us…the standing back-bends, and 30 breaths in Baddha Konasana.  With such a positive experience behind me, I began to prepare myself for lotus in the finishing sequence.  Sat up straight, lengthened my left leg in front of me, scooped up my right foot and gently eased it into position, cradling it firmly in my hands, careful of the knee, breathing into the hip.  I sat there for a few breaths.  Summoning the courage, the determination before I bent my left leg, and let it rest on the floor in the shape of a right angle.  This is it.  You can do it Laura!  I lifted the left leg by the calf and foot and felt the muscles clench and tighten as I pulled it towards me.

Easing through the stiffness, respecting the sensations of my lower body, and paying attention to my breathe…it was ok…it was ok.  Closer and closer the heel of my foot came towards me, until I was ready to let it go… And look at that!  I’m in lotus.  If you could have seen the trauma and fuss this position has caused me over the past few months. The way I screamed “FUUCCKKKK!” into Matthew’s patient ear when he was helping me into it, showing me how I could practice this at home…and there I am….In lotus!  Not quite as elegant and natural looking as my fellow yogis, but its a lotus all the same.

It was an important moment for me, because it marked progress at a time when I felt I was sinking back to where I was 6 months ago.  It was a reminder that everything takes patience, practice and perseverance.   Life is not going to be easy now because I’ve sat cross-legged in a meditation hall for ten days, and spent several months in a shala.   And I wouldn’t want it to be.  I will still struggle to remain compassionate to myself and others.  I will still crave the comforts of things that are bad for me, and have strong aversions to things that are ultimately good…like finding a job!  I will still struggle to maintain contact with the present moment when I’m faced with things that are hostile, or uncomfortable.  I will have doubts sometimes, and lose confidence that this path is the right one for me…like when my younger brother walks in on me practicing and laughs uncontrollably, or when my heart stops at the sight of my ever-diminishing bank balance.   But in moments like getting into lotus, it pulls me back together.  With a practice such as this, nothing external can ever take it away.  Despite the storm of tears and emotional instability I currently find myself in, I know that there’s strength in there too.

Today is day 5 of my Ayurveda treatment, and already things are starting to perk up again.  My alarm went off at 5.  I was on the train by 6, and introducing myself to my new Ashtanga teacher by 6.30.  Her name is Sarah, and she’s kind and softly spoken, and I like her.  I really do.  She was encouraging without being pushy, and helped me to bind into Marichyasana B on both sides, and D on the left.  Which is like lotus x10!!  I’ve been paused there…and that’s ok.   I’m happy with that.  I accept now that its ok to take a couple of steps back sometimes and reassess.  It’s not a failure. I’ve come a long way, this is just a healthy pause to regain strength and stamina in a really, really tough practice.

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