Primary Friday: We Get Back On

Had a good week of practice.  Took a couple of days off midweek to catch up on schoolwork, but enjoyed full practices otherwise.  Practice has been hard, but so necessary and good.  I have been suffering through Intermediate, paying for the last two months of scant practice and full living.  My body is heavier, and not as flexible or strong --  a difficult set of truths to accept.  But I must practice in the body I inhabit today, however brutal it may be.

All will return with regular practice, but it occurs to me more and more lately that the older I get, the less true this will be.  I need to remain firm in my commitment now if I'm going to navigate the progressive difficulties of aging with ease when the time comes.  But I'm also trying not to be too hard on myself, even in the face of blatant neglect.  Take it from a long-time equestrian:  we all get bucked off once in a while.  The important thing is to know how to fall, brush off the dirt, and get back on.  This is important not just for the rider; it is essential for the horse, too, to know the rider can't be shaken.

A horse can be ruined by a rider who quits.  To be honest, I'm not totally sure how the extension of this metaphor applies to the practice of yoga.  Maybe the horse is samskara, or the dharma.  Or maybe the horse is one's personal concept of the practice, with all its cumbersome associations.  If we indulge the horse, then it will rear its head with aversion when we approach.  We must remain firm but gentle to quiet the animal and gain its respect.  And we must work harder, with even more presence and diligence if we cannot work with it every day.

So, yeah...  Back on the horse.  Riding out the rough spots.  Feeling more in tune with it every day.


  1. Love the horse analogy. :) I have one right now that is going to give me fits this spring when I start working with her again after not working with her due to my pregnancy. Should prove interesting to see her reaction to the idea of working haha.

    I think with diligent practice you shall make it back to where you were.

    Good luck :)

    1. Thanks, Brianna. Glad the horse analogy struck home with someone. :)

  2. Hello Megan,
    thanks for sharing your thoughts about your practice and your life.

    "But I'm also trying not to be too hard on myself, even in the face of blatant neglect."

    I know you say you're trying not to be too hard on yourself, but I still think you're being too hard on yourself: One tell-tale sign is your choice of the word "neglect".

    I've recently discovered that being too hard on oneself and putting oneself down is just as bad as not trying hard enough; actually, I somehow think the two are related, like two sides of the same coin. Perhaps we often try to compensate for the times when we are not trying hard enough by being too hard on ourselves when we don't need to be. Which is counterproductive, as this takes energy away from the times when we need to use it to work really hard at things we need to be working really hard on.

    I hope this makes sense. I'm basically just shooting from the hip here. But from reading some Ashtanga blogs recenty, I seem to sense quite a bit of self-flagellation going on in some corners of the blogosphere. Or maybe it's just me, I don't know. Maybe I'll write a post on this soon (or not). Anyway...

    1. Hmm... Thank you for your frank insights, Nobel. Maybe you're right. It's been an extremely busy time for me, and even with all the changes, I have managed to practice at least a few times a week. On top of that, you're absolutely right that being harder on myself than necessary is a huge waste of energy, and inhibits me from channeling the resources I do have into the areas they're needed.

      Maybe the change in seasons has us all stressing about how we'll manage through the winter. Practice gets harder and harder as the cold sets in.

  3. It's the hard truth that sometimes a lifestyle change requires a practice change, it's as simple as that. Some changes are inevitable, like the seasons - and getting older. I think the hardest thing about being a 'householder' is finding that balance between life and asana practice - and practicing the other limbs of yoga to help us navigate those shifts. Relationships, parents, children, work, school... for a householder these things are the essence of our 'practice', our spiritual journey through life, and they musn't become subservient to asana! At the end of the day I doubt I am going to be on my deathbed going "I wish I had practiced one more day a week!" - but I would certainly regret not spending valuable time with my friends & family, or not accomplishing my goals like you are doing with your writing course!

    Working with your horse is a partnership. It requires discipline but also compassion!