And even then, it took me an hour to get moving. I was feeling drained and defeated, even though I'd had a productive day, so I began in supta baddha konasana, propped up with pillows, under a blanket with a towel draped over my eyes. I stayed there for 15 minutes before moving on to my pranayama practice. After 30 minutes of pranayama, I laid down for another 15 minutes in savasana. I considered staying there, surrendering to the low place I'd found myself in, but something told me to keep going. I took a bathroom break, redid my hair, and otherwise dallied for a few minutes before finally stepping to the top of my mat, feet together, hands at heart center, ready to begin.
It was not until that first vinyasa, inhaling the arms up, lifting the gaze, that I came into my body, into the moment, ready to do the practice. In that simple action, one I've performed thousands of times, something clicked. I woke up. I saw the possibilities of the practice in a flash and they excited me. I was reawakened to the spirit of the journey, suddenly quiet, open, and ready for whatever might lie ahead.
And what lie ahead was some damn good yoga. I had an amazing practice. It took me a while to realize how strong I felt; there was a constant, subtle resilience to every pose, a true sense of ease. I experienced unencumbered joy in the grounded lightness of my being. I expressed this through the poses. It was a beautiful practice, with a couple of 'firsts.' I practiced moving from Vasisthasana directly into Hanumanasana for the first time, which was quite delightful. And get ready for this... I did my first free handstand in the middle of the room. It was sort of a happy accident: I had just finished my handstand practice by the wall and was moving on through a half-handstand vinyasa, when, independent of my will, my legs shot up and I found myself standing on my hands with no wall to fall back on. Woops! As soon as I realized this, the This is Scary, I Must Fall Now reaction kicked in, and I toppled over to the floor, feeling somewhat betrayed by my renegade legs but otherwise unharmed. Still, I'm glad that's over with. Maybe now I can start working the handstands in the middle of the room more often and learn how to fall a little better.
After my practice, I felt like a different person. I am repeatedly amazed by my own ability to forget how the practice heals. Yesterday, the practice was what I needed most, yet I denied myself the pleasure all day, somehow continually justifying my procrastination, looking for the answer elsewhere when I knew exactly where to find it all along. Human nature? Self-destructive tendencies? I don't know. What I do know is that the more I practice, the harder it is to forget how it grounds me, empowers me, and connects me to the uncolored reality of the moment. This is why daily practice is so important.
I have often fantasized about doing my asana practice right away in the morning, at the same time every day, in order to avoid the situation I found myself in last night. I have not turned that fantasy into reality because my schedule is too irregular, or so I tell myself, among other cleverly conjured excuses. Currently, my practice happens at different times on different days, usually in the afternoon or early evening, but I wonder how my days might be changed if I carried that feeling I get from my practice with me from the very beginning.
So I pose these few questions to you, readers, in the hope of gaining some insight:
* Do you prefer to practice in the morning or at night? Why?
* Are you able to do your practice at the same time every day?
* If not, is it difficult for you to maintain a daily/regular practice?
Please leave your answers in the comments. I'd love to know how other yogis keep the prana flowing.