6 am – I’m stirring gradually, sensitively… It was the led Lion Sequence yesterday, and I’m interested to see where the stretches and aches have settled.  Hips are a little bit tingly (but that’s often the case), stomach a little bit sore…I turn onto my side….ahhhh….gently roll up into seated, feet dangling over the side of the bed…stretch my arms over my head with a yawn…ohhhhh……that’s where it is:  sides and shoulders.  One of the reasons Matthew created the alternative sequences is for that purpose – hitting the spots a regular Primary series practice doesn’t.   And yeah….I can really feel it.

We’re over half way through the first course now and I can’t express how grateful I am that I’m here for three.  My energy levels picked up a little bit last week, and it feels like I’m only now getting into a rhythm of sorts, practicing Primary most of the week, with the moon sequence to supplement it.  I wasn’t sure whether I’d be siphoned off to learn the Lion Sequence in self-practice this week, but it’s been agreed I stick with Primary for the first month with an introduction to the first few intermediate postures.  I’m happy with that.  A part of me is intrigued by the Lion, and looking forward to throwing in something new, but instinctively it feels right to take things slowly, steadily, and I don’t know… Matthew asked us the other day to think about what we wanted from the course, and for me, I want to see what I’m capable of.  In everyday life…particularly this last year – with three jobs on the go and so much change, it’s been difficult to really settle into a regular practice and take it deeper.  I’ve been tiding myself over with the occasional stint at the shala, a led class here and there, and a sporadic self-practice in the shed, often on weekends, or the rare evening.  I’ve been missing the regularity and consistency, which is where you can really find yourself.  The equanimity required and general strength and stamina, pushing into boundaries and redefining yourself.  You need a LOT of strength to practice Ashtanga.  I’m feeling it in my core, my shoulders, chest and back.  And with all this time to dedicate myself, I can really explore that.   At home, I’m needing to conserve energy, using my practice to ground and to nurture.  Here, I can challenge, build, fall apart if I need to….

I’m waking with excitement, yoga clothes laid out…taking each practice as it comes and finding there is no rhyme or reason.  Some days are strong and invigorating, others painful and exhausting.  The meditation is slowly building, and having been tentative with Vipassana over the past couple of months, I’m beginning to feel confident and safe, and scanning my body once again.  For the first time the pranayama is making sense to me.  Every morning we practice three different techniques – before meditation and asana, and I’m noticing the creation of space in my lungs and spine, and subtle tensions are coming to light…in my upper back particularly.

The insecurities I faced in the first week of the course have subsided.  It now feels like we are all equals regardless of where we’re at – Primary, Intermediate, Advanced A.  My body image crisis dispersed…BECAUSE I allowed it, met it, let it go.  That particular process has really inspired me to continue on that path.  Put less emphasis on what I should be thinking/feeling, and just go with the free flow of insecurities, fears, hopes, desires…whatever…it doesn’t matter how embarrassing or “unyogic” they seem…shying away and denying them gives them just as much importance as over-analysing and holding on.  I see that now.

When I’m not on my mat, or sitting cross-legged on a blanket, I’m with friends.  We talk and laugh, open up to each other and share stories of hilarity, heart break and our own journeys through yoga and life.  Without TV, an intermittent wifi, we paint ridiculous pictures, sing, dance, watch the afternoons darken.  Butterflies flutter through the branches, Cleopatra (our adopted cat) shyly approaches us for attention.  I can see how these months will pass me by, without any real drama, or adventure.  It’s offering is one of peacefulness and quiet.  Something that, in these times, is a rare and special gift.

Bali 108i

 

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