2.14.2011

Awakening

The beauty of consistent practice is that, through repetition, everything is bound to come together, piece by piece.  Every so often at first, and more and more over time, the pieces just fall into place on the mat and all the world makes sense, or so it can seem.  We experience awakenings.  Suddenly, something that seemed so subtle as to be impossible just the day before is made clear.  Parts of the body, long neglected and deadened from lack of energy or awareness, come to life and we consciously engage these areas for perhaps the first time.  These are the effects of conscious practice of the asanas.

Throughout YTT and still when I attend classes, the most common feedback I get from teachers is to tuck my floating ribs.  My ribs flare and the effect of this is most obvious in my inversion practice.  I have tried for months to correct it, but the action seemed either elusive or constricting.  I wondered, if I tuck my ribs and hold my bandhas, where exactly is the air supposed to go?  It didn't make sense.

Finally, in my practice today, it happened.  I made it my focus from the very beginning, utilizing the action almost as another bandha, reminding myself again and again: root lock, navel lock, tuck the ribs.  It worked.  Suddenly a light contraction all the way around the floating ribs felt completely natural.  And it changed everything.  The practice was lighter, floatier.  The containment of the floating ribs and the near-constant awareness at the solar plexus made the practice stronger, but also softer.  It seemed to mitigate the sensations throughout my entire body, making the whole practice more efficient and manageable.

As you might expect, the inversions were where this awakening really showed.  Pincha Mayurasana was a whole different experience.  I came up four times and held each round for at least 5 breaths.  They were steady but relaxed.  The breath was calm.  Maintaining focus on the manipura chakra region, I was able to keep the mind quiet and actually fine tune the pose instead of the usual "I'm gonna fall, I'm gonna fall, I'm gonna fall" mantra that runs through my head when I stick my inversions.  After that, inspired to play with some more inversions, I tried some half-handstands.  I held several for 3-5 slow breaths, exploring the bandhas more precisely.

I feel like I came away from today's practice with loads of exciting new information which is mind-blowing to me (e.g. I can feel my quadtratus lumborum working to hold me up!) but completely tedious to anyone else.  It's tough being a yogini, absorbed in the minutest of details.  I am fortunate to have The Boyfriend, to whom I can unabashedly run up and giddily proclaim that "I figured out how to tuck my ribs!" without fear of derision.

There is a lingering heat at the solar plexus even now, hours later, accompanied by a joyful sensation, almost like the feeling of bubbling laughter before it erupts.  Perhaps a more subtle awakening is also taking place.

3 comments:

  1. If it is any consolation... we, yoginis of the world, understand you perfectly :)

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  2. Thanks, Mixandmatch. This is one of the great things about blogging about the practice; I can spare the non-yogis in my life from my inane alignment chatter.

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  3. beautiful! i love to read how you describe the best parts of yoga. so inspiring. thank you!

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