Despite an insane hand-washing routine from both parties, Hubby has bequeathed a mild version of his flu to me this week. I have a rather exciting cough to prove it. So even without the laryngeal irritation of ujjayi breath, physical practice hasn’t been much of an option for me.
Or has it?
I haven’t actually done any practice since class on Tuesday. No great sin: I’m not too dogmatic about these things. Why then do I feel uneasy with this? Uneasy — just a sense of this omission not sitting quite well with me.
So I took action, of a very soft kind. I rolled the yoga mat away and settled myself instead on my meditation cushion, wrapped in woollen layers. I realise that I’d been avoiding doing even this. Why? I’m not too sick to sit on a cushion after all!
Ah, but am I too sick to focus my mind, to practice pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses)? Am I too sick to practice patience in observing whatever comes up without wishing it otherwise, to feel the physical discomforts caused by this virus, to ride the superficial darting directions of my mind as it seeks entertainment and distraction from this illness, and to settle ultimately into some inner stillness?
Probably. None of this is easy for me, even on the best of days.
So I realise the omission of practice is in fact a sneaky attempt by my mind to control the situation. I am full of expectations of what my practice should be like. I want it to feel valuable, useful, purposeful. Why would I want to practice if it only brings me more into feelings of sickness?
Because that’s how my body is right now.
And after my short seated meditation I rolled myself down into Bālāsana (Child’s Pose). Never has this felt so much like a prostration, an act of submission to what is. A surprising feeling of relief.