Friday, December 6, 2013
part of the process
On my mat today I was dogged with a kind of discouragement. The practice has felt sticky and hard lately. I get bored with the steadfast consistency of poses in the primary series (my vata energy kicking in, wants to move more, to do poses I don't do every day and to play with the sequence, not be disciplined in it), and I get discouraged by the fact that my body still seems uncooperative in some poses. Nope, after months of practicing this pose, my hip still won't rotate enough. Nope, I still lack the upper body and core strength to hold that inversion. Nope nope nope: my practice is still where it is. I dutifully go to class, unroll my mat, do my practice, and try like hell not to compare myself to the other women and men who seem so far beyond me in their practices.
Then I roll up my mat and get in my car to go home. Today, on the way home, I asked myself: Jess, why do you want to move forward? Why do you want to be able to rotate your hips so, to hold these Marichis so badly? (only one of four here, all of which seem utterly unattainable.) What do you think will happen when you can perform garba pindasana or kukutasana? (p.s. the text on that link is in Spanish, but the images are perfect.)
The answer came: well, I'll fit in with everyone else. I'll no longer be the girl who leaves Mysore early because her practice is so much shorter than everyone else's. I will look good by looking like the rest.
Oh, ugh. That's no kind of reason. If your practice is about keeping up with others on their mats, then you should hang it up.
Then I remembered. Yoga is a tool, not a goal. To want to advance further in a pose or sequence is just ego.
Last night I read a passage in a book about the yoga practice as a part of your dharma: a practice that helps us all discover and realize what it is we were put on earth to do. Today I kept reading, and the book continues, "when you pursue your asana practice to help fulfill your dharma, it becomes imbued with the passion of purpose; it is no longer a ceaseless drudgery to appease the aches of the body, nor an endorphin-riddled addiction for a daily "high," but a yearning, a calling to be more fully who you are."
Yes. That's right. That's what I want my practice to be. Not drudgery, but a part of my pursuit of my dharma. It felt like a baby-breakthrough. Warming on such a frigid Friday.