Letting go

I found myself looking forward to the next moon day after two and a half weeks practicing the full series daily. I’ve had a regular 6 day/week practice for a long time now, but I was only able to complete the full series every other day at most. To be honest, it isn’t just practicing the full series but honestly giving the jump-backs and jump-through the full effort needed to someday be able to incorporate these vinyasas into my practice. I’m elevated up on blocks, but deflated beyond words.

A week ago, I was in tears at several points in my practice, while memories from my childhood surfaced in my mind. I was reminded, “It’s supposed to be frustrating.” Day after day, frustration, tears, and memories came – and each day, my reaction has been a little different. A subtle awareness of becoming stronger lies just under the surface. Until one day, in spite of working hard, my muscles felt so fatigued that they were doing less lifting than before. My practice ended in a sweat saturated mess. Yet in spite of being aware of the building weakness, no tears or self bashing had occurred that day.

Then it was Saturday: our day of rest. Even so, I found myself practicing my jump-backs and jump-throughs a few times over… and over… and over. Normally, I wouldn’t think twice about me working through the mechanics on a Saturday, however that evening, my throat began to feel scratchy. Given the new level of consistency and intensity of my daily practice, I began to see the importance of “taking rest.”  If that wasn’t enough, the signal to take a “Lady’s Holiday” reinforced the need for me to rest. And so, on Sunday, I watched my sweetheart prepare and leave for mysore without me. And still, I felt deprived even though, just days before, I’d been longing for a moon day. Sitting and simply observing my breath for about 30 minutes helped to dissipate some of this feeling.

Today was Day 3 of my cycle which, for me, pretty much means everything is back to normal as far as I can tell. One would think that I could return to my mat without any issue. In prior months, I might have done the majority of the practice but skipped the inversions. However, given the lingering scratchy throat, I entered the mysore room with plans for a gentle, abbreviated practice: stopping after the standing poses.

In the room, I could feel the momentum building all around me forcing me to pull my attention within so as not to get pulled further downstream than the standing poses as the rest of the mysoreans moved on in their practices. The undercurrent was strong today, and I nearly dove in. After completing the last of the standing series, I moved from downdog to my knees and contemplated my original plan. I thought, “What would the harm be in doing a couple of the seated poses?”

Perhaps there wouldn’t have been any harm done in my continuing into the seated postures. On the other hand, perhaps there would. As I contemplated continuing on, I looked at the blocks sitting alongside my mat. If I was going to continue, it only made sense to continue my work on the jump-backs and jump-throughs.  That was when I decided to stop as planned. If there was any further downward (apanic) movement of energy happening, trying to lift off would NOT be helpful to that process.  Therefore, I moved mat to the back of the room, did a few gentle spine extensions and then, I took rest.

Once in savasana, I felt my body completely let go — more so than I am usually aware of. A moment without whirling thoughts. Just silence and complete release. Ahhh…

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