Practicing with a blank page

I wrote a bit earlier this week about how I’m finding practice really difficult at the moment. I currently have little patience or mental focus and attempts at home practice have been tough — or totally abortive. Today I was booked onto an evening class and looking forward to it. Ah, a chance just to be told what to do without needing to show much initiative — such luxury! Or is it? So perversely (or hopefully!) I cancelled off class and rolled out my mat in the lounge instead, wondering what I could do by myself. I brought my notepad with me and thought maybe I’d record what I do and try to impose some logical structure on my practice as a way of bringing discipline to my frayed concentration.

notepad.JPGBut 90 minutes on and the notepad was still blank and I was a quivering sweaty mess — but a happy one! I just lost myself in physical movements and fun explorations of some familiar shapes and some new ones, and wrapped it up slowly enjoying the beautiful and increasingly familiar syllables of the Gayatri mantra.

During the āsana practice I played with Eka Pada Galavāsana (Flying Pigeon). I can’t actually do this pose, because I can’t fold deeply enough at the hip. But in a flash of inspiration I put blocks under my hands which meant I could get far enough with the set up to get my leg off the floor and practice taking the weight into my arms. It was an inspiring way to make some progress with this one that’s so far eluded me!

eka-pada-galavasana.jpg
EPG, from yoga journal.com

And if I look back on how my practice actually evolved today I think there was some logic to it that gives me hope that I am starting to understand the anatomy involved in some poses and to feel this inherently in my body. After all I didn’t suddenly jump into EPG cold! After some surya namaskar warmup variations, I had done some standing forward folds, worked my Dolphin, and done some nose to knee repetitions from down dog into plank; I’d hung out in Mālāsana and Lizard pose, and played around with Bakāsana . All of these I think were either good for getting the shoulder girdle engaged or for working into the hips. Plus I’d done some hamstring strengthening with Śalabāsana and Vīra 3. (Though not all in this order!)

So maybe after this my body just felt like EPG?

It sometimes seems as though yoga for me is an exercise in not thinking. So I reckon the blank notebook was actually a good thing!

(with apologies for the messy mix of Sanskrit and English names here!)

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