My teacher often urges us in class not to close down at the end of our practice but to arrive at a place of mental and physical resolution where we can walk out into the world carrying our yoga with us in some way. Yoga doesn’t stop with the closing OM, right?
Class ran over time this evening. Lucky us. Even although I was tired out from a long practice with careful physical effort and heaps of concentration I sprinted to the bus stop, pelting flat out down the dark street skipping over puddles like some much, much younger version of myself. But I still missed the bus! And the next one didn’t come. And the fancy app I have to tell me when they’re running kept pushing the arrival time further back. Eventually I gave up and started to walk through the rain.
So trying to retain my yoga through this, I pushed away the complaining thoughts of how tired and hungry I was, how cold and wet, and how frustrated by the non-appearing bus. Which — of course! — sailed past me when I was between stops!
Instead I chose to consider once again how amazing this practice is, how it tires me but energises me, and how grateful I still feel that my body does all this and, with a bit of cajoling, could also carry me a couple of miles home at the end of a long day.
While I walked I looked at the lights reflected in the puddles on the pavement and I felt the rain on my face. I felt my muscles working to keep me pushing up a slight incline, the tendency of shoulders to creep up and hunch against the cold. And all the while I felt my little light burning inside me. A warm spirit, even on a cold dark walk home. Some sense of inner peace and comfort. Getting frustrated about the bus wasn’t worth the bother.
And while I walked I practiced some Sanskrit sounds and tried to recite these lines from the Upanishads that I came across recently. I’ve got them by heart now.
asato mā sad gamaya
tamaso mā jyotir gamaya
mṛtyor mā amṛtaṁ gamaya
I think the final line sounds really amazing if you can get the vocalic r right — I must have sounded hilarious trying! And in my head I also traced the shapes of the letters, imaging how I would write these sounds down in Devanagari.
And because I had the leisure to repeat over and over I suddenly noticed that I do actually understand some of these words! asato and sad are from ‘sat’ (Truth/Reality) with the first one have the a- suffix denoting a negative, a lack of ‘sat’. And I realised that those wonderful vocalic r’s in mṛtyor and amṛtaṁ contain the root for the word ‘death’ — like mortuus in Latin, I guess. So I am learning something in my Sanskrit lessons! The little stories we read about the man and the elephant sometimes feel so far from anything ‘serious’ that I would one day like to understand. So my little revelations today were quite exciting! I only hope they’re right — I haven’t checked yet [nervously awaits comment from someone who knows properly..!]
The translation I have goes: “from the unreal lead me to the real, from the darkness lead me to the light, from the dead lead me to the immortal”.
This passed the time quite well. But I was very happy to finally get home sometime after 10 pm, have a tiny snack (too late for more), and a wonderful hot shower.
And so to bed. Hubby is already asleep. Shhhh…Zzzzz….