Can I type?  It seems like I can….but any sudden movements and a shooting pain cripples my right arm.

I had the lightest, fastest, most fluid practice of my life this morning, and I think it was in Marichyasana D, when I grappled for my right wrist, forearm twisting and grinding against my right knee that something pinched, or twisted, or whatever…and in my enthusiasm and determination to bind unassisted, I didn’t listen to the subtle warnings and kept going.  Kept going through to the end, until the third bridge, when I thought – wait – hang on a sec…that’s more than a niggle.

Bathing, dressing, cleaning, washing, cooking…typing….have all proven to be rather complicated as a result, but I don’t care.

On my way home on the no. 12, head resting against my rolled up mat, grey sky pressing its gloomy face against the window, I was brimming with excitement and an unrestrained joy for life.

One of the greatest lessons that Ashtanga has taught me is patience and perseverance.  I’m someone who charges into things without a thought, without a breath.  I say I’ll do something and I do it in half the time I’m meant to…I take on 100 things at any given time and then kill myself trying to get it done without disappointing anyone.  And since I started Ashtanga, that’s all changed.  I realised quite early on – perhaps it was the unbreakable stiffness in my hips, or the tangled rigidity of my IT band – that it was going to be a while before I could even taste the postures that were being experienced by those right in front of me.

As my practice has evolved and more time and patience has been tested, I’m beginning to understand the emotional and psychological implications of all of this.  A slow practice is not just about physical restrictions, but about rigidity of mind, and letting go.

How fearful I have felt as I breathe into hip openers, and imagine the little fists of anger and frustration releasing their grasp.  How vulnerable as I rock forwards in Bhujapadasana, how claustrophobic as the world darkens and warms in forward folds.   How each of these stages of the Primary series have brought memories and emotions to the surface, and forced me to stay with them for those five long breaths on each side…over and over and over again.

I’ve come to terms with the slowness of my progression, I’ve accepted that I have a lot of shit to work through – and so be it.  There’s no cheating.  There’s no running away.  Just sit with it and sit with it, and eventually it goes away and you can move on.

I injured my arm today because I felt a new strength and a new flexibility that I’ve not experienced before.  I went deeper and into a place that I’m obviously not quite ready for just yet…but the reason I got there was because for the first time I felt no fear, and I felt no frustration.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll still be in pain and unable to practice.  Maybe when I do, I’ll be paused at Mari D with my arm wedged between my chest and knee waiting for assistance once again….maybe I’ll be slower and heavier and wonder where the lightness has gone…But, it doesn’t matter because I know that I have acquired the patience to deal with setbacks and injury.

I was filled with joy because in that moment I had tasted what it was like to be free of fear, to believe that I can do something….even if it is just beyond my current means.

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