Cooked rice, bathed in coconut milk with a sprinkling of nutmeg…LOVELY way to start the day.

My morning rituals, which had become so ridiculously extensive….

Tongue scraping

Consumption of coriander water

Morning remedies

30 minutes meditation

30 minutes pranayama

60-90 minutes yoga

Pre and post breakfast herbal remedies…

Has diminished somewhat.  Since the Christmas tree arrived and has taken prime position in the living room, my dedicated yoga space has been shuffled to behind the sofa, under the windowsill.  My bloody-minded – I-will-meditate-and-breathe-funnily in front of everyone if needs must, has been superseded by a much more self-conscious, I’ll-only-do-it-if-nobody’s-in.

The scraggly remains of a not-so-recently purchased bag of uncrushed coriander seeds gathers dust in the back of my “Ayurveda cupboard” – a shelf allocated to all the herbs and spices, and pots of ghee I’ve accumulated over the past 6 months.   And if I’m going to be brutally honest – I think I might have a bit of a sniffle and a Kapha depression coming on!

The initial surge of enthusiastic clients and support has been silenced by the build up to Christmas.   Its cold and dark…and any excuse to do nothing and curl up under the blanket with one eye peering out – observing the latest show you’ve recorded on telly (right now that’s Homeland), is a good enough excuse for me.

And that’s ok – a bit of indulgence in the Kapha state of eating lots of food, putting on a bit of winter padding, and letting everything around you go still and settle – for a short while.  But when the indulgence begins to transition from being warm and cosy, into something more sluggish and claustrophobic, then its time to get moving again.  Its time to take a look at what’s fallen to the wayside, and give yourself a bit of a shake…back to life, back into existence.  The Kapha state has always been a long-sworn enemy of mine.  Always in conflict with the fleeting, ever-moving Vata.  Its like I’ve been running away from it my whole life and then suddenly it grips hold of me and pulls me under.  I resist at first…wrestle myself out of its grasp until I collapse with exhaustion and then sink.  Limbs get heavy and my mind slows down.  Everything that’s edible becomes irresistible and the outside world looks mean and scary…not like the warm, cosy sofa, with the burning embers of television and a roasting radiator.

It always seems to go on for just that little bit too long.  Just so long that I’ve thrown out a few self-defeatest pleas to mentors and teachers…INSPIRE ME PLEASEEE!!!!  Just so long that I’ve begun to hate myself a little bit and relinquished any hope of ever being able to get back into my yoga again…

And then something happens.  A dream maybe, or a niggling voice you finally decide to listen to.  Shake it off!  Pull yourself together, get on with everything!  And just like that – the world begins to move again.

I know at Christmas time there’s all sorts of pressure – to eat too much, drink too much, spend too much…Far beyond the point of it being fun anymore…and this year I want to see if I can have the best of both worlds.  Enjoy, but without that pressure.   Partake, without overdoing it, savour instead of binge…

This past week or so, I’ve felt that sluggishness and urgh – that taster of post-Christmas blues…and it really doesn’t have to be that way.

I don’t want it to be that way.

So this morning, I resisted the urge to have a cup of tea and curl up on the sofa, and instead drank my pint of coriander water.  Instead of turning on my laptop, I moved all the furniture.  Made space for my yoga mat, a couple of cushions and a blanket.  Wrapped myself up into some sort of half-formed lotus, cocoon, and started to meditate.  Patch of skin to patch of skin, I began with the baby toe on my left foot, and worked up.  Slowly, steadily.  Hid the clock in the kitchen so I wouldn’t be distracted by the tick-tocking.  It wasn’t so hard after all, to pay some attention to my breathing, and watch as the emotions started to stir and move again, depression shifting.  I moved straight from my steady, natural breath into the controlled inhalation and exhalation of my pranayama.  5 deep darth vada breaths.  Chest expanding, and deflating, steady counts….all the clogged passageways of my lungs and head clearing.  Inhale deeply, deeply, head floating back, nostrils flaring, chest getting tighter and tighter, lock my chin to my chest, hollowed stomach pressing against my spine it feels like.  1, 2, 3……15 exhale.  Sinking into the floor, my lungs have emptied, and again I lock.  Hollowed stomach, counting steadily…1,2,3….only the exhale makes me panic a little bit.  I’m not sure why, but its anything downward moving that makes me feel agitated and uncomfortable.  I feel like I want to escape, like there’s something inside of me with long nails moving about.  So I stop at a count of 10 and lift and inhale.  Just 15 minutes this morning.  I want to move into my yoga practice.  And not the Moon sequence this time…something stronger.  Something with more heat.

I haven’t practiced Primary for over a fortnight.  I wasn’t expecting anything.  Just move with the breath that’s all.  Maybe just surynamaskara a and b.  It doesn’t matter.  Just practice!  And then it flowed.  Steadily and with no thought whatsoever I moved from one asana to the next.  No forcing, or pushing, or berating myself.  It wasn’t until I got to the Marichyasanas that I began to feel a bit tired.  A sudden heat flaring up in my centre, beads of sweat forming.  I wound it down and moved into back bends and the finishing sequence.

MariA

When I practice I wonder why I would ever stop.  All those fears I’ve been experiencing and self-doubt…they don’t disappear as such, but you don’t run away from them, or pretend they’re not there, or let them hold you to ransom and take over.  You move with them.  You carry on.  Their significance is what disappears.

I hope that I can remember that over these coming weeks.  To not feel bad that things are quiet on the work front, to not feel pressured or obliged to overindulge.  To remember that I practice because I enjoy it, and it helps me to find my balance and self-confidence.  I practice because it calms my mind, because I feel strong.  It doesn’t matter if people who are close to me don’t understand, or that the people who do are so far away.  It doesn’t matter if the mornings are cold, or if I have to create some havoc each day to clear some space to practice.  I’ve found something – a channel of sorts – that works for me.  I’d be a fool to let that go…no matter what the season.

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