Although sleep is the thing that I most need, alcohol and sugar are detriments to the process. Yesterday I had some of each, enough to wake me at 4am and keep me awake. Noticing that whatever I did in my yoga practice yesterday, I have an awful lot of sore muscles. So I read a bit, Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese. Marvelous writing. I can tell because I find myself wishing that I had written it. The shoulder is sore more from tension I think, although I have been working the jump throughs pretty hard so perhaps I’m misreading things. The quadriceps muscle is probably from the strong Marichiasana D adjustment. I have no regrets and it will heal quickly enough. Very glad that today is a rest day. The injury report is enough, I suppose, to give a non-Ashtangi pause. Isn’t yoga supposed to be a healing practice? Yes it is. I don’t pretend to understand this completely myself, but I have this feeling that the body sometimes needs to rebuild itself to undo years of ingrained patterns that do not serve.
In a blog called insideowl, the author wrote recently about energetic openings and a central nervous system power surge that caused her to lose her sense of ground in 2004, while practicing 2nd series and going through PhD preliminaries. Insideowl goes on to say that most Ashtangis don’t experience this, that they slow down the process of spiritual transformation “by half-assing the concentration, relaxation, diet or drste.” Hmmm… Sounds familiar.
Despite having the visceral experience of my body as a field of energy after the acupuncture visit, I am a mother of 3 children and my life is grounded in the material nature of things. If I manage to not half-ass the diet (is this why I’m craving meat and sneaking bits of chicken and turkey? Not a very good vegetarian lately), how do I keep the process from happening too quickly? I’m beginning to be aware that the 2nd series does get the energy moving through the body of light and that emotions long contained begin to surface. Perhaps this is why in Ashtanga you have to practice 1st series forever before you’re invited to move on to 2nd.
What if I don’t really want any huge spiritual opening, I just want to jump through. Is that true? How about a small to medium size spiritual opening? Afraid it will happen, afraid that it won’t happen, all that I can really do is practice. The body of light, it’s not going anywhere. Here is what I do want. I want the practice to make me kinder and gentler with all of my fellow beings, especially my children. That is enough opening for a lifetime. Let me just notice them in all their glory, and shepherd them to the fulfillment of their talents and potentials. Let me really see, especially in the teenage years to come, what it is that they need to be happy, healthy and full of love. Let me be the finger pointing to the moon.
And yet, of course, in order to do all of that, I need to do that for myself. I cannot sacrifice my personal goals for they will not do what I say, they will do what I do or rebel against it, neither option being the healthiest choice. And so to find the balance. It occurs to me lately when I pick up the spoon, this is what I am teaching my children. How to feed themselves. A lot of the work lately is off the mat.