My teacher came to check on me (or rather my hamstring) before class and offered some words of wisdom for my practice — to observe, not to go deep, just to feel and explore. To this I mentally added my own intention to cultivate joy and compassion. I really appreciated his care. I felt well-looked after. I think I’m doing OK on my own, but a bit of help is always welcome.
He offered a few timely reminders in class about letting go and about observing without judgement. And bingo — one of those small revelatory moments where you feel like biffing yourself over the head at your own short-sightedness or foolishness, where you remember again the important message: love yourself, respect yourself, and if this is really hard (which sometimes it weirdly is) then practice talking to yourself the way you would to your best friend. Cut out the indulgent recriminations and ‘if onlys’; they do not serve.
atha yogānuśāsanam: yoga is now, it isn’t when the hamstring feels healed, or when I’m miraculously stronger or more flexible, or less tense, or more graceful. It is now. It is here. And I just have to show up and let it flow through me, however it will on this day. And the next day.
So as my emotions started bubbling up again during practice, I tried to acknowledge them, feel the strength and painful weight of them, and the pull of them into the past … and then let them go. For now at least. I know they’ll return; but there’s nothing to solve today.
I offered a peace mantra quietly in the slower poses that closed the class. Backbends (those wild heart-openers) scare me at the moment, and this made me feel curiously supported and somehow gave me some space in my practice. And using a mantra in āsana also has some magical effect on alignment — I can feel my body moving into a more comfortable position of its own accord, without effort and without apparent instruction from my brain. It just lines up with the vibrations. Or something. I have no idea how this works.
So I wandered home happily through the rain, whispering my mantra, feeling peaceful and ever so slightly in love. With myself.