First yoga class after the Christmas hiatus was not on the face of it very much fun. My tricky hamstring is not at all happy right now and after a fraught Christmas I was in a very emotional place too.
The opening chant lokāḥ samastāḥ sukhino bhavantu reduced me to tears before we’d even done a single āsana. Usually I wait until the backbend sequence before I get really emotional! The Jivamukti translation is:
May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.
This is always a powerful chant for me — containing so much responsibility but also so much possibility. It was pretty overwhelming to me when my closest family are terribly unhappy and imprisoned by their own thoughts, words, and actions and there’s nothing I can do directly to make this any easier for them.
But despite — or perhaps because of — this rocky start I tried to practice with my whole heart throughout class, leaning in rather than closing down. I mostly kept my eyes closed. It was kind of nice to be in safe company, not needing to talk or explain, but hey I’m a Brit, so crying in public places is kind of awkward. Keeping my eyes closed is a good ostrich technique!
Plus none of my standing āsanas were the way I expected them to be and so keeping my eyes closed allowed me both to listen in to the sensations in my hamstring better and to drop the ego attitude about the shapes I was making. I guess again this is more ostrich than saṇtosha, but it’ll do me for now!
Tears and muscle strains aside, it was wonderful to be back in class. I’m grateful that my teacher offers classes through the holiday period. But I’m also glad he let me be during this class.