There has been very few periods when I have been bruise-free since I started an asana practice. No matter how much awareness I have during practice, I end up with diverse bruises which I am not even aware of how I got them in the first place (!). I know I bruise easily, but I’d have hoped at some point it would become less…
This is gonna be a messy post. It’s a sum of small things I’ve been thinking about or realized recently, which are not “big” enough to deserve a post on their own. So, randomly, here it goes (in French I would say I’m jumping from the rooster to the donkey :p).
The Iyengar teacher training is made to train teachers who will be householders. I realized this as I was thinking about the intensive, ashram-type of teacher training while talking to a friend of mine who went to an ashram to visit his friend who was taking an intensive teacher training. He was amazed at the discipline of getting up at 5AM for chanting, then asana, then meditation, lunch, asana, meditation. I caught myself thinking “I wish I was free to spend a 100% of my time to yoga like that”. It sounded… easy. To be in complete immersion, no job to juggle, grocery shopping, commute… I hope I get to do this once, it sounds amazing! But it does make sense to me that after a teacher training like this, most graduates, who are not Sannyasi, struggle in getting back to a regular life and find the inspiration to keep on teaching and practicing, away from that ordered and recluse haven. On the other end, the Iyengar teacher training, lasting usually three years, enables trainees to get a taste of what their life will be as teachers, training regularly on the weekends, keeping all their obligations, going to classes during the week, assisting and teaching alongside their life and daily practice.
I’m very confused when people tell me I’m “good” at yoga, because it doesn’t mean much to me. I usually answer by “well, I’m very flexible but I need to work hard to balance that flexibility with strength”, since I assume they are talking about the physical practice (never had anyone tell me “wow, your meditation practice is so advanced”!). Since I’ve told my boyfriend that Savasana is considered the most difficult pose, he regularly makes jokes about having spent one hour on the most difficult yoga pose during his nap. But I find that yoga, as following the definition of “cessation of the fluctuation of the mind”, is way easier to attain through physical poses. Guruji said “When I was young, I played. Now I stay.”. Already in my few years of practice, I can see how easy it is to not think when I’m flowing. However, I find that staying in the pose makes me go so much deeper. When I’m flowing, I’m relying on my body to instinctively make the shapes and move. When I stay, I have to engage my brain to be aware of what my body is doing. I have to spread my mind all through the whole of my body, so that I stop thinking because my thoughts are everywhere, and nowhere at the same time. See what you can make of that!
In relation to which, backbends have stopped being energetically stimulating for me. They have become quietening in the same way that I thought only Sirsasana, headstand, could be. Not sure yet why that is, but I’m guessing something not breaking in the spine which would help my breathing soften.
Recently, I was in a rut. A yoga rut. It was hard to find the energy and time to go to class, and travelling a lot meant also a difficult self-practice. I felt a bit stuck, but I didn’t fret too much, since it happened to me before. Just gotta keep on practicing, it’s a good lesson on being detached of the outcome. Progress, whatever it means, is never a straight slope. But now it feels like I am learning and discovering things again. This morning, I did a handstand jumping with two legs at the same time in the middle of the room for the first time. I was terrified, but somehow I managed to get over my fear and I did it, and I remembered I should really trust my arms, cause they’re strong and they won’t let me down. It was slightly exhilarating to feel myself compacted and balancing over my hands with my knees bent, a very light feeling.
Now that I’m at the end of this article, I actually do see a common thread, and it’s yoga sutra I.14 स तु दीर्घकालनैरन्तर्यसत्कारासेवितो दृढभूमिः sa tu dirghakala nairantarya satkara asevitah drdhabhumih: “Yoga is successful when practiced with devotion, uninterrupted, over a long period of time.”
I wish you all a long, fulfilling, uninterrupted yoga practice!