If you read my last post you’ll know I’m in Greece for a while. We’ve left Athens now and are staying for the next week or so near Sparta, in the Peloponnese. It’s very dramatic scenery, with snow on the mountains still, and we have lovely cosy accommodation that already feels like a home away from home. I’m such a country girl at heart that I feel more relaxed now that we’ve left the city behind, much though I love Athens.
So today was our first proper day of work, visiting a number of small archaeological sites. I love stomping around in the countryside, and I also love the challenge of navigating country roads, map-reading, and exercising my communication skills talking to old villagers when we get lost.
However I’m also still nursing my hamstring injury, and my physio’s parting advice to me before this trip was to build up slowly in hill-walking. But Greece is a a pretty hilly country! I can’t make the hills less steep and we’re a bit pressured on time, so I can’t take forever walking super-slowly with tiny steps.
The solution? Practice ahimsa (non-violence) and satya (truthfulness). In life as in yoga, know when to stop rather than pushing as far as you can. I consciously tackled hill-walking today the way I would a yoga pose I’m finding challenging. I know that I could have climbed right to the top of the hill to reach the site today. If I had I probably would have regretted it tomorrow as my hamstring tendons made their presence known. I might even have wondered what all the fuss was about when I got there. And I would certainly have used it as a precedent for climbing an even bigger hill the next day. I’ve seen myself doing this in asana practice. I know how I work.
But I also know I can still feel strong and capable (the things I somehow need to feel) when I choose to do less and simply to experience everything I can staying in that place of greater ease.
I stopped climbing at some point. I let my husband go on and explore and photograph on his own. It’s his work, so that’s what mattered. Instead I stayed on the edge of the track and just took it all in. I had an amazing view to look at, I could feel the wind (and drizzle!) in my hair and on my skin, there were lovely spring flowers around and so much birdsong. Plus a couple of weeks ago, I’d have never managed even this far. An opportunity for santosha (contentment) that was too obvious even for me to miss! … Although I might not look terribly contented here (manifesting as a small black spot in the landscape!).
On the inside I felt more like this: