As I have maneuvered around a variety of obstacles to maintain my asana practice these past couple of months, I have learned much about my relationship to the larger practice of yoga, about how much I need it, how much it has changed me.
First, years of consistent awareness practice have blurred the distinction not only between the various limbs and styles of yoga, but also between the practice and life itself. They are seamless. Neither ever really ends.
Second, this body is highly responsive. It is an enviable blessing when I am deep in practice -- the asana and pranayama come so easily to me -- but when I compromise its treatment, however aware of the choices I may be, my body is quick to rebel. There is no coasting on health. Self-care is a daily endeavor.
Lastly, as I have felt my way back into the rhythm of Ashtanga and come to face familiar puzzles on the mat, I have learned that though the initial discovery of the practice is a joyful struggle, there is equal if not greater joy in rediscovery. These days, I smile and nod through Primary as I coax my hips to reopen and breathe my way into the twists. I know what's coming. I've been here before. And I delight in the opportunity to walk this garden again, perhaps this time with lighter feet and an eye for the rarest of flowers.
Speaking of rarities, I taught a Mysore class last week. As always, the students were inspiring in their strength and focus. The invocation was lovely. I had forgotten how powerful the energy of the room can be. I drove home drenched in reaffirmation of the method. It was a lovely day, cool but with a brilliant sun. I pulled into the lot of the apartment complex and parked in my favorite spot by the dumpster. As I climbed out of the car, I spotted a backlit, psychedelic rendition of Shiva "The Transformer" in all his heavy symbolism, propped against a box of discarded books and magazines in the grass.
After brief inspection, I scooped it up and skipped inside. I plugged it in. It worked. The colored lights began to spin behind the sea of ocean blue, the dusty mechanical fan whirled somewhere hidden in the casing, and I laughed uncontrollably as I swirled around the apartment, scoping the walls for the perfect spot.
It hangs beside the bed. I turn it on at night. It powers my dreams and serves as a hilarious reminder that the potential of this practice is unknown, that I am drawn to it for a reason. For the full effect, I recommend you dim the lights, select "full screen," and play it on a loop.
Let it speak to you the way it speaks to me.