The above image is a 6X6 inch panel with pencil, marker and transfer. If you look at the new background image for my website, it is from an earlier version of this panel. You can see the pencil drawing of Ustrasana if you look closely. I got tired of visiting new yoga blogs and becoming disoriented when the background was the same template as mine.
I have been getting up absurdly early. No, not my intermittent insomnia, awaking at 1 or 2 AM and remaining so for hours. This is waking up before 5AM. In order to have time to write a little and have time for a full practice. This morning I awoke without an alarm at 4:15AM. I think I must be out of my mind. Surely that wasn’t enough sleep. Even the acupuncturist says something about my tongue (my tongue?!) indicates that I’m not getting enough sleep.
Also this week, I eat like a bird. That’s what it feels like. I have noticed that the amount of food that once constituted a diet is now a maintenance plan. I’m experimenting with cutting my meal size in half, or nearly so. Smoothies for dinner on the nights I work and don’t eat with my husband. Oatmeal or an egg and slice of toast for breakfast, kitcheri for lunch. The daily scale ritual is unchanging, however. The same old number.
For those of you who love yoga but perhaps don’t know much about Ashtanga, there is a concept called Tristana or Tristhana. Note the prefix tri. It is fascinating that that there are Sanskrit roots in the English language for tri means three as in tricycle. There are 3 focal points of the practice that transform the sequence of poses from an athletic practice into a spiritual endeavor. In Ashtanga, the yoga is a moving meditation. The three focal points are breath, bandha (energetic lock such as uddiyana bandha which is an upward lifting of the belly muscles), and drishti (gazing point, every pose has one and rather than gaze aimlessly around the room, your mind wandering with your gaze, you focus on a specific point). Kino MacGregor wrote in a recent post:
“One other crucial shift must happen in order to facilitate the transition into full immersion in the yoga tradition. You must make the transition from a fitness oriented approach to yoga into a devotional one. By getting this subtle shift you will gain consistency and regularity in the way that you do your practice. A daily spiritual ritual where you take time to connect internally to a deep sense of yourself requires dedication.”
This quote about making the transition from a fitness approach to a devotional approach has stuck with me. What I have always loved about yoga is that it is more than just a gym routine, and I never feel like a hamster on a wheel, never feel bored. There is art and joy and yes, a deep spiritual connection in a flowing sequence of poses.
Time to hit the mat. Or rather, the Mysore rug.