Yesterday, as usual, I was the first to begin with the Suryas, and the last to leave the room. Even the teacher left me to my own devices... again. And now I'm supposed to add another few postures? We're entering the realm of 2+ hours here. I don't mind it. I'd happily spend all day on my mat, but I feel bad occupying the room for so long. Fortunately, there's not another class immediately after the Mysore class, or I'd be doing the finishing series in the hallway to the sounds of the spin class around the corner. I swear I'm not a futzer. I just breathe very slowly. It's a gift. And a curse.
The structure of Ashtanga has really focused my energy and revealed unearthed potential. It's almost as though I've been wandering aimlessly these past few years, checking out the scenery and orienting myself with the customs, but I've only just been handed the map. Apparently, if you give me a clear, distinct route to travel, I'm unstoppable. At least that's how it feels right now, in this moment. Give it a couple hours and I may be huddled on the floor, head in hands, wrapped in the throes of sorrow and self-pity -- it's been that kind of week (L.H., anyone? Stagnant, unfulfilled relationships... anyone? Yeah. Not fun.)
All is but a passing glance. Moods are merely shadows on the mind.
Frankly, the practice is all that's keeping me together right now. It and my teaching are the only things that feel right. But I suspect the practice may be at least partially behind this bout of uncertainty. Ever since I started practicing Asthanga, and namely, since I've begun dropping back, I've been sleeping very little and having strange, unsettling dreams. There is much of this thick, dark muck being churned up to the surface, and I'm having trouble enough just keeping it out of my eyes so I can see. There are moments on the mat when I feel as though I might explode, and then I exhale, soften, and return to stillness, knowing the same attacker waits for me further up the way, ready to pounce and strangle. Knowing, nonetheless, that I must carry forward and all that I can do to save myself is breathe.
This moment feels pivotal. I've just emerged from debt and left my job of 5 years. I'm teaching yoga, a practice and a purpose I believe in very deeply, which is not insignificant for someone with my remarkable capacity for doubt. I'm about to summit the first in a series of large humps in my academic career. And the one relationship that's been stable, open, and supportive in my life is in decay. The culmination of these events is hidden somewhere up the trail. My heart pounds in nervous anticipation of the destructive forces at work, but my gaze is steady and my breath is strong. There is no preparation for the present.
The beauty in the ruins is the space the loss creates.