So you go on a five week adventure to experience ‘yoga in practice’. Out in the real world! In Europe, no less.
You cross oceans and skies and mountains. You see cities and new faces and Autumn trees in Spring. Well spring for me down here in the south…
You learn about trains and planes and automobiles. Literally. Over and over…
Yes, indeed! What a good strong practice this is!
You learn about foreign food and other people’s homes and beds. You learn about the way others live and you are interested and overwhelmed with joy and wonder and exhaustion….
And you learn about sore feet and travel blisters and then you learn about travel callus as well.
You learn about feeling safe walking at night and running and cycling in the rain. And you meet travelling musicians, and stare at profoundly beautiful artwork and buildings until your travel partner gets super annoyed that you are not concentrating on conversation…
You learn to relax and pull up some serious mula banda, yes it REALLY HELPS, in a crowded metropolis like London. You learn… You watch your emotions swirl around and change as you face unfamiliar territory day after day, night after night… Over and over and over…
Oh man! What an authentic yoga experience! True yoga! Union. Union with god, your true self… Union with whatever it is you want to call it.
Face to face with unlimited potential simply by force of being waaaaay out of you comfort zone…
Oh my god, who has time to practice asana on holiday!
So here I am, back for a half a week. Week one of ‘getting back into it’ is in full flow.
Such as it is…
My arms are weak. My tummy is well covered from all the spoiling I got from wonderful friends and family along the way. My posture has reverted back to my old slouch. My heart is less open! I’ve lost inches of height, I’m sure of it!
I can still reach my toes…. If I bend my knees… deeply.
What a wonderful opportunity!
Now I can experience fully what my new students will experience, starting out. I can learn the tiny bits and pieces of my body all over again. I can find those little intricate muscles and sensations that come with regular practice..
I can learn… About discipline.
What does discipline mean to you?
To me it means… Showing up. Again and again… And trusting that things will work out. While finding humour and joy in the process. Even though the monkey mind has a LOT to say. Then finding that funny too.
Of course… I am human. The monkey mind is not going away. I am not yet enlightened. And honestly, I don’t think being enlightened works that way anyway… I have not reached ‘nirvana’. I have not found ultimate bliss.
I cry. I feel pain. I laugh. I feel fear…. So much fear…
I look in the mirror sometimes and I know the thought will come… The thought that most, I think, can well identify with…
‘Oh my god, I’m so FAT!’ I think.
I pull up my shirt and stick out my belly and give it a good stare.
‘Oh my god! I have no muscle! My legs and arms look like pieces of wet spaghetti hanging off a squishy, round ball of fat in the middle! What was I thinking…’
But then I notice that, well. My body is still healthy. And actually.. Well… I love my body. Even though it does not represent the exactly ridiculous high standards I have set for the poor thing after five weeks of almost No asana practice!
What a great body I have. So forgiving! I can learn from it. It forgives me for my treatment of it, so I can forgive myself too.
‘Sorry body, you’re beautiful. Just as you are! Even if I never practice asana ever again! You will always be beautiful, to me!’
So then, I have to smile, and laugh as I get back on my mat for the first time, as I get near the end of my first private Jivamukti practice in just under five weeks. Rolling my legs over my head and supporting my back. I reach my feet to the ceiling… Salamba Sarvangasana! Supported shoulder stand.
There’s my belly. I breathe deeeeply into that belly and watching it grow and then shrink as the air flows in, and then out of my lungs again.
I may not have the strength yet to feel all those tiny little wonders that one can feel from asana practice… But I trust, it will come.
And the journey will be an adventure!
Welcome home, physical body. So good to practice with you again! I missed you so much!