A yoga friend today told me that her physio advised against asana practice for 24 hours after any bodywork. I’d stopped her as she was rolling up her mat after class and asked her please to sit with me a few minutes. I wasn’t ready to leave the room and rush straight back out into the world, but I didn’t want to be on my own. And I trust her intentions and her spirit, as I trust few people. So she sat and breathed with me, she listened to me hiccuping and snuffling and waited until my emotional lurch had lost its hold on me. She’s been here before with me. She said it was her privilege, and I believe that.
Then we talked a little to lift me out of myself gently and find some ‘normality’. We compared experiences of the class, me talking a little about physical discomfort and my physio appointment that morning (a painful spot on a rib attachment, and thoracic and cervical spine mobility). Whatever her physio’s advice, I actually love the feel of practising after this work. There might be some pain, but the feeling of greater openness and physical possibility is so interesting. In my practice I think I worked carefully and I don’t understand this pain as a warning as such. But the focus of class was on precisely these areas, so my mat time was pretty unremitting in its intensity.
And that’s before I get to considering the emotional reactions to what presented itself during practice, and how the physio work might contribute on this emotional level too.
… But I’m trying at the moment to make a focus of the wonder-ful moments I experience in yoga, to balance the tendency of the mind to dwell in the darker places. So there was my glorious (albeit short) handstanding moment. I was so beautifully balanced I assumed my teacher was supporting me there. When I realised he wasn’t I fell down, of course. Surprise for me, amusement for him. But there it was — my moment of truth that I can stand on my hands just a little, and from this brief wonder-ful moment, where joy triumphs over fear, who could say what other seemingly impossible things might reveal themselves?
And there was the slightly mundane joy of being able to exit handstand still with some grace and control. This ability is under-rated I think 🙂
All these are new wonders to me.
Although the handstand moment is still clamouring for brain space and wanting to be revisited, what’s more precious by far is the minutes spent sitting in company and allowing myself to unravel a little, knowing I had a good friend watching over me, keeping me safe and sending me so much love and care it was almost tangible. The wonder that I could now ask for this and it be so willingly given.
This yoga stuff is wonder-ful.