I’m listening to the news on the radio as I spend recovery time in bed, feeling ill. But despite (or because of…) how ill I’m feeling I’m trying to focus in on sensations and accept what’s going on in my body rather than deny it. It’s a Mindfulness technique I was taught specifically in the context of long term ill-health. I think the idea is that by tuning in you come to a different relationship with illness and discomfort — it’s less scary and you feel less as though it’ll continue for ever as you begin to notice more subtle variations and ebbs and flows. By coming closer to symptoms you somehow make space between yourself and the way you’re feeling. Illness and incapacity become less all-consuming.
This is something of the theory. I used to find it impossible. Practicing yoga makes is much more natural now. What is each asana practice if not an exploration of moment-to-moment sensation and awareness of thoughts and emotions?
So as I lay in bed on my stomach, hot water bottle on my back easing my aching kidneys, I stretched my body, seeking relief and exploring how this movement felt. I pushed the tops of my feet into the mattress and felt my whole legs engage, quads tightening. And as they did so there was a shift in my pelvis and a deep inhale here rippled up my back, resulting in the tiniest, tiniest gesture towards a bend in my upper spine.
Strangely here in bed I found my body in a mini expression of Bhujangasana (baby cobra pose).
Snakes appear in funny places!
And this moment makes sense of my teacher’s directions in class. How my toes relate to my chest is now clear. It’s no longer just a set of mad-sounding instructions, it’s something my body feels.