Thursday, May 24, 2012

My Door

Yesterday in class, Hard Teacher read a passage from Light on Life which talks about the space within and the space outside a vessel. A vase, a body. In art there is negative space -- there is line and form and light and shadow. I have studied visually the way the one creates the other...

When we work a pose, she said, we are used to working on the outside space. What I want you to play with today is the interior space...

There are ways that when we contract, it creates freedom. When we push against ourselves from the inside, we become freer...

She had us take three belts with us to the mat.

At the end of class, we went into shoulder stand. But not just any shoulder stand; shoulder stand with three belts. It felt a little like some sort of strange bondage fiasco... One on our arms, behind our back -- one on our shins, one on our ankles.

You'd think it would be harder, holding oneself strapped in...
it's scary -- I thought I was going to fall...

but it was so unbelievably light.
it was as if, by being contained, the legs lost their connection to the earth...

So I was thinking about that this morning -- as I went to start practice -- which I will have to return to later. I was thinking about how, in life, sometimes it is the restrictions that allow the space to open up -- outside and inside... the binding brings the light.

And it feels related to this other thing I was thinking about this morning. I am trying to change my headstand ascent to both legs and once -- as Hard Teacher feels this is the right way to do the pose... sigh. I'm solid in the way I go up now -- but the baby steps of reverting to two legs has me back at the wall...

the walls, in my case, are the doors of my living room. I managed it -- with a little hop, my two legs up -- this is a major feat for me right now -- I made it almost all of the way up -- then reached my toes to the door for a moment of steadying.

The door, of course, opened.
I fell sideways.  Landed on my ankle. Left my practice for later -- for which I am also judging myself...

You know, I am pretty sure I would have been fine if the door hadn't been there.
But if you think there is support -- and it fails -- balance is nearly impossible.

Maybe it's a matter again of looking to hold tight the container -- to feel the support in the vessel itself -- not looking for the strength outside -- but allowing the strength inside to be supported by the pressures and the binds of the day -- to take strength from the space that opens in response to constraint.

Monday, May 21, 2012

It Was In the Cards

This morning during my practice I kept finding myself just lying on my back staring at the ceiling. I was disappointed in myself -- and the practice -- and I'm just tired of my body today. It seems unfathomable to me -- after having so many varied ailments over the last year -- that I would fall out of bed and screw up all of my mobility for months to come. Irony of all irony, my own bed is on the floor.

As I was driving around this morning, running icky errands, I kept thinking, where is the yoga lesson in my practice this morning...

This afternoon I went card shopping. I love cards. Spend silly money on cards. My absolute favorite cards are letterpressed with a dark sense of humor. Love those! I was looking for a birthday card for a friend -- I got two for myself.

One is a get well card, it says -- "Heal in your own time." Then you opened it up and it said, "Get well soon seemed bossy."

Of course. Injury happens. Healing happens.

Because I have been off my feet, I have done amazing work on strengthening my core and opening my hips. I've learned how malleable the practice can be when I need it to be. I've had to choose again and again to find ways to adapt the practice to my body -- which is, truly, the core of the practice.

My own time.

The other card has a beautiful photo of a sunset beach -- reminiscent of something you would probably see Magnum P.I. walking off into in 1982 -- very orange and pink and there's a duck and glimmering water and in swirly letters it says,

"f*#$ yoga."

I dunno, it made me laugh.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Luxury of the fast

Again, during Pranayama today I was feeling so panicky on the exhale.
And I thought, for a moment, that is just the way I feel about love.
(Then I thought, for a moment, I should get up and write my blog now -- then I thought that would be decidedly not finishing my practice... sigh.)
And I'm always amazed at what happens if you stick around...

Sweet teacher says, it is a luxury to be in your body, with this hour, on this day that will never come again... (she did it, she left to give life... I learned so much from her this year. All health and safety to you and your family, Justine.)

I usually end my practice reading Rumi. I like the way that randomly flipped to input from the outside creates metaphors and connections in my mind. I like listening -- and I like the focus on meditation...

And today he said,
There is a hidden sweetness in the stomach's emptiness."

I like it when it works that way.

"We are lutes. No more, no less. If the soundbox is stuffed full of anything, no music."

I think I will read this again before my next breath work. Maybe I will read it again before my next goodbye...

 "When you fast, good habits gather like friends who want to help..."

I think it's so interesting to notice in me the force of the feelings of loss and fear when intellectually I know there is nothing wrong in the moment. Intellectually I know I am not in danger of suffocating -- and, in fact, it would be extremely difficult to suffocate in the middle of my living room floor -- even if I set that as my intention, my body would rebel -- would take the breath I needed against my will.

And still the fear can well with force and power.

I have enough breath. I am not in danger of starving. I am not in danger of being alone.
I have the luxury of choosing not to rush this morning.
I have the luxury of noticing...

"Expect to see it, when you fast, this table spread with other food, better than the broth of cabbages."