Thursday, November 1, 2012

Meeting lethargy on the mat

Have you ever come to your practice thinking "here we go again.."? I have. Several times, in fact. Every so often, my practice borders on the mechanical and a predictable sequence gets put in place and somewhere in the middle, I will stop and let a lack of inspiration wash over me. Every one of those times I tell my self "this is okay, you are supposed to hit the low point now and then." There are yet other times when all I will do for a whole 20 minutes is a shavasan and a couple of stretches, in that order. First indulge the feeling of lethargy, then do a shavasan and then proceed to do 2 asana. and what is more, I call this my practice. The fact is, I feel refreshed after such a session mainly because I did not deny feeling the way I felt and actually went with what my body wanted - rest is the deepest sense of the word. 

Similarly, life can sometimes become too predictable and we get into a pattern of behaviour that we are afraid to let go of, even if trying something new and radical may prove to be good for us. All too often I find myself wondering what would happen if I did something in a different way than "normal"? this is where I find my yoga practice to be invaluable as it shakes up what is rigidly in place, not just physically, but also in a living life sense because nothing we think, feel or do is an isolated event, independent of everything else. You may even call it introducing an element of chaos into a seemingly well ordered system. Or a subversive attempt at challenging the established order. It may seem trivial at first but it builds energy which spills over into other areas of our life. This is why it is said that yoga builds our emotional immunity, and gives us the power to paddle on through the high tide. It gives us the ability to stand tall (come on, stretch that spine) and seek out our truth from the inner most layer of our being. 

So I try a new asana, a new way of doing a practiced asana or simply a new sequence altogether. This keeps my brain agile, my body fit and my spirit in good condition. It is well known that all our emotional experiences are held in our bodies, recorded into the network of nerves. Do you remember the last time you were anxious or upset or angry? Where did it hurt most? every emotion has a corresponding center in the physical body. In other words all emotion, positive or negative, is actually physical.

Feeling negative, whatever form it takes, especially when we step on the mat, is an incredible opportunity to confront our most deeply held feelings and put resolution to them  eventually or we will be forever doomed to drag the baggage. 

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