Child’s Play



 

Today, make time to play. -Na’ama Yehudi

Just Deserts



These days I’ve been partaking in a few too many sweets. Although I do not believe that I am eating more sweets than I was a year ago, the quantity is surely more than my metabolism is able to burn. My middle is getting thicker; therefore, further challenging my ability to catch my hands in the asanas which require a bind by Ashtanga tradition.

I guess you could say that I’m getting my “just deserts” from eating too many desserts.

I have been trying to do something about the weight gained since circling the menopausal drain. For several months now, I’ve been hitting the gym with more regularity. In turn, my shoulders (etc.) are tighter and, you guessed it, I am further challenged.

Then there are the hormones which I recently started in an effort to get some sleep. While these help one aspect of my life (and practice), they also have a known side effect of weight gain. This means that I MUST learn to say “NO” to the numerous invitations to enjoy these sweet, yummy desserts.

Challenged.

Of course, we all know that it isn’t about the binds. It’s not even about the twists or backbends. It’s about the journey.

Right?

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Seventh Series and Beyond



It’s one thing to be dedicated to our daily practice when everything just clicks into place. But when life [sh!t] happens and get complicated, getting to the mat takes a little more work.

Without going into details, I’ll just say that I’ve been experiencing more than one of life’s challenges in the past month. Not only has it been tough getting my time to practice, it has also been emotionally challenging to simply BE on my mat. The practice has a way of pointing my emotional compass right to the emotional graveyard of my psyche. How’s that for Dristhi?

FEAR. SADNESS. HELPLESSNESS…

This week, I’ve managed to shift my schedule so that I arrive at the studio ahead of everyone else. I roll out my mat in a room barely lit by the lights from outside. The peaceful quiet is sweet.

With no time to dawdle, I move through my practice with purpose, pausing to find activation of the muscles which refuse to wake early. ALL of Me is required for the practice.

And when my time is up, I roll up my mat and get on with it. No complaints. It is what it is.

Ashtanga to the Core



I’ve been practicing Ashtanga Yoga for 5 years now and I’m still struggling to figure out the jump backs and jump throughs. So, the ‘next vinyasa’ (aka my teacher moving on) is yet another struggle with transitions. Like the others, I can fake it but anyone paying any attention to what I’m doing as a yogi can clearly see that I don’t really have it together. And perhaps, none of us really do.

Anyone with a serious spiritual yoga practice will attest, it does not matter if you can lift up and jump back, bind in Marichyasana D or stand up from Urdvha Dhanurasana. The asana practice is only one of the eight limbs of the Ashtanga Yoga Method.

As for transitions — be it vinyasa, my teacher leaving, or getting to & through menopause — the yoga is in the process of figuring it out.

Everything we have been learning on our mats provides us with strength, right at our very core, for the challenges set before us. We are Ashtanga to the Core. And this is why we know that we will be okay.

 

 

 

Cutting the Losses and Moving Forward



 

Over the years, I’ve read posts from the various Ashtanga blogs I follow where the ashtangi writes of losing their beloved teacher. Although I could never fully comprehend, the sadness expressed in their words was always palpable. Each of these ashtangis moved forward in their own way. Some moved to a self-practice, others found a new teacher/program. But life-on-the-mat, and off, did go on.

Now, it is my turn to face this dilemma. My teacher announced that she will be leaving us in 2 week’s time. My initial attempt to understand her decision went through a curious process of emotions. The morning after I heard the news, I got all choked up and teary-eyed during the morning chant, again while exiting Kapotasana, and once more while my teacher assisted me in Supta Vajrasana. The primary emotion I experienced was one of abandonment, although her decision to move on is nothing of the sort. Still, my deeply-buried hurt of my dad disappearing from our lives after divorcing my mom, in addition to the hurt from similarly painful events, came bubbling up from within. Sadness, anger, hurt… coursed through my being.

Then, it was gone.

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