Study for Meditation Mat

Study for Meditation Mat
Handspun Tapestry Weaving

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Alive/Awake: Moving Into Asana

Application of  Signage Systems
Symbol for "Namaste"
(Google Public Domain Images)

I've been away from asana practice for a while. My body is transitioning - muscles are adapting to other muscles which are missing or have been shifted and every one seems to be protesting the changes. Even the mildest of poses has been causing interesting muscle spasms, which are triggering even more interesting chain reactions throughout my body. As much as I wanted it not to be true, I had to admit that yoga was making things worse, not better, so the sensible thing to do was to stop.

After several intensive rounds of physiotherapy, my therapist suggested it was time to test out yoga again. "Go to Colin's noon hour class," she said. "It will be a nice, easy transition back in yoga. See how it goes." So, off I went to a 45 minute asana practice. I'm used to 1.5 hour classes with Colin. 45 minutes would be a cake walk, or so I thought. Little did I know that he was on a hip kick and in pretzel mode to boot.

At the first class, a couple of weeks ago, everyone was either a yoga teacher or a teacher trainee. Sarah's and Colin's children were also there; although they're very young, they're also very familiar with yoga. Perhaps we inspired Colin, because we hit the ground twisting and by the end of class, I was in knots. My legs were in positions I never thought they'd go and then, to add to the fun, Colin gave me an adjustment, just because he could. I've never been in a yoga class with so much moaning, giggles and laughter. All I could think of (when I wasn't focused on the pose) was that, if Tracy the therapist could see me, she'd be thinking that this wasn't the nice, easy yoga class she'd imagined for me.

Yesterday was more of the same - a room full of teachers and trainees, with a new practitioner or two thrown into the mix. More hip openers. Intensive twists. More moaning and groaning. I tapped out a few times on poses. At one point, after coming out of a deep, seated twist, I made a face and Colin started to laugh. He interpreted that face to mean that I wasn't a fan of the pose, but that wasn't the issue. (I love twists.) What I was really thinking was that I was glad there was an emergency room doctor practising just in front of me, because I was beginning to feel that I'd need his services before class was over. We all made it through in one piece. (I was very grateful that Barb had offered to drive me to and from class. She dropped me off a few short blocks from home, but at that moment, home seemed miles away.) I slept all afternoon.

At the end of class, Colin spoke about the meaning of "Namaste," of the part in us that is always Awake. Yoga helps us discover our Awake Essence. Sometimes pleasant, sometimes painful, exploring Awake/Awareness is an essential part of allowing us to be Alive. We push our limits to stay focused, but it's important to know when it's unwise to push further. Sometimes, that's the hardest part of yoga.

I'm fine this morning, a little stiff in spots, but I feel better than I've felt in weeks. I smile every time I think of Tracy advising me to transition slowly back into yoga. I smile when I think of how deeply I was able to get into most of the poses, especially given my physical challenges. I know that going deeply into asana isn't the point, but it's fun to challenge yourself and be pleasantly surprised. It's great to give myself a "Yayy, Me!" once in a while. It's good to be Alive.

As Colin said, "Namaste" acknowledges that part of us that is always Awake, always Alive. "Namaste" bows to all Awareness in one another. So, thanks to all of you who help me in my practice - Colin, Sarah, Heather, Tracy, Alisa, Donna, Barb, all teachers, all fellow students. "Namaste" to you, my friends. Have a great weekend!


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