Thursday, December 13, 2012

Curiouser and Curiouser...

Curiouser and curiouser...didn't sleep...gave up the effort at 4:30.  I couldn't face second series; did primary.  I couldn't face the opening up and wanted a security blanket.  When nothing else can quiet the mental hamster wheel and sooth the body, primary can.  Its gentle stretches down the hips, free anger and self-pity to dissolve.  Where does jealousy live in the body?

It still astonishes me when I look in from the outside, that something that used to waste me fully, the primary series, now soothes.  The pose within that series that took the most time to settle in my body and brain, supta kurmasana, now feels like pouring cold water on an over-heated nervous system.  Steam still results, but nerves cool down.

When I head to Mysore in February, it will be the first time in more than 7 years, that I will experience practicing only primary, with no second as my daily practice.  This is my first trip and I have no expectations of practicing anything else.  I am curious what that will feel like.  The intermediate sequence has asked that I open, and then open, and then open again.  Finally, it's starting to feel like that opening might be tethered to some kind of central core.  More stability would still be most welcome.  Who wouldn't want it to be just a little bit harder to get knocked off their center.  I'm wondering if 4 weeks of primary series practice will provide some needed grounding, or if India itself and the experience of Mysore will provide the nerve-cleansing aspect despite moving through a daily sequence of primary poses.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Ebbs and Flows

Amid the ebbs and flows of a year, it's sometimes nice to step back and assess.  This has been a year of deep change for me; both practice and life have shifted.  Practice works to peel back the layers of story one by one.  I've had the feeling lately, that practice has really gotten it's hooks in this year and took a couple layers off all in one go.  The result is more vulnerability, honesty, and curiosity.  How many more layers?  How deep do the stories go?
There is maybe a natural feeling of ending and beginning as the days get shorter.  Culturally, we're surrounded by reminders that our calender year is ending soon.  It fascinates me to see the variety of expressions of how we meet this season.
I remember a few years back when the stand-up comic and writer, Julia Sweeney wrote a fake Christmas letter.  And yet, while I cried with laughter at the absurdity of the fake family story unfolding, as Julia read the “letter” aloud, I was struck somewhere deep by how much more real it sounded than most of the annual Christmas letters I receive or the annual Christmas letter that I write.

So, although, I will still write a tally of my family's here and there of the year and send it out to the usual list, I have also written a second letter, with perhaps a bit more baring of softness, a bit more soul, and a little less story....though I could still pull out those photos of our family vacation... 

Dear Friends and Family,
I could say that I hope you’re all well and I do, but what does that mean.  We all define wellness so differently.  As for me, I’m still catching my breath.  It’s been a year.  I’ve been up and down so many times I’ve lost track now of which is which.
Amidst moments of fury, I found a current of strength that I never knew existed.  I am myself and enough, just as I am.  What a thing to know fully and viscerally!  So where is the good or bad?   
Amidst moments of angst, I found the love of true friends.  The greatest gift is human connection without platitudes or posturing, a quiet understanding of the fallibility of people and a constant running current of support. 
It is in the raw, unguarded moments that bonds are forged.  By acknowledging my own mistakes and unawareness, my heart has been stretched in a way that makes so much more room for compassion.  We each have our own sharp points and rough spots.  In honest recognition of our own pains and strengths, there is no room left to judge where others sit.  We sit where we are.

So, do I wish you a happy new year then?  Perhaps.  It’s hard to say what “happy” is.  Maybe the best thing to say is that, in the coming new year, I wish you strength and the love of good friends, while in the eye of the storm.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

India Bound

It's been radio silence on the blog for a bit...  I've been writing quite a lot actually, just not here, and not about yoga.  Although really, it's all about yoga as I can no longer separate "the yoga" from "the anything else". really it's just that the writing has stayed in the notebook, perhaps percolating for later public consumption.

Amidst the writing and the working has been some future schedule navigation.  I'm in a perpetual process of evolving my time to be spent in increasing bouts on things that I find nourishing and in decreasing blocks on things that I don't.

In that vein, I'm headed to Mysore this spring.  I have confirmation from the shala, plane ticket purchased, visa in hand, and have booked a place to stay.  First practice, barring any flight delays, is Feb. 11.  I'm there through March 10.  If our Mysore travels will overlap at some point, please get in touch.

The trip has been several years in the making and the fact that the planning has finally gotten this far, still seems unreal.  I've been doing this practice for awhile now, nearly 12 years.  Although I feel a certain amount of trepidation, knowing that discomfort is always a part of anything meaningful, I still feel there is nothing more exciting than the thought of spending a month having my practice shaken down to the fundamentals, so that I might find out what I'm really standing on.