Greetings from New England. A freakish October snowstorm came before a frost. The heavy wet snow weighed down the leaf laden branches and they snapped in impressive numbers, bringing down the grid and messing up my yard. From morning glories to snow cover, it’s not your normal Autumn. Five days later the power is still off. So I am staying at a cousin’s house with my girls, where I can plug in all my devices.
We stayed at home for several days, but the temperature dropped quickly down to the ’50s. It’s a bit difficult to do ashtanga at that temperature, with socks and multiple layers. So morning practice is down to nearly nothing, which I’m taking as an unexpected opportunity to give my knee a break. Predictably, my moods are volatile. It gives me an excellent view of what yoga does for me, beginning with mood regulation.
I went to a led primary class yesterday morning. Rarely have I been so grateful for the opportunity to practice, grateful for a body in reasonable enough health to do the practice. Grateful enough that I could notice my ego going through its usual shenanigans without getting all caught up in that. Instead I continually came back to breath, bandha and drishti. There is sooooo much more work to be done here. But what else was I going to do anyway?
This week I have been thinking that I very much enjoyed writing about abhyasa and vairagya (practice and detachment) over several posts. Something about this level of engagement with Patanjali’s Sutras went deeper than the usual superficial reading of the text. The Sutras are so dense as to be nearly impenetrable sometimes, but there is a lot there. So while I was practicing I kept thinking about the one that goes “Sthira sukham asanam.” When I wasn’t focusing on breath, bandha and drishti, that is. Oops! As I understand it, this sutra is about maintaining a balance of effort and ease in a meditative posture or an asana. This is quite a trick in ashtanga yoga, for there is a terrible temptation to get excited and try to start mastering poses and jump throughs before one is ready. Many of us are perfectly capable of pushing our bodies to injury. Finding the ease in a posture is not so simple.
But more on that in the next post. For today, I’m hoping to get my house back on the grid. And then my practice will be laundry and clean-up. I’m currently in the market for a chainsaw and a generator. Life is good.