My friend Deb just told me about lila, a blog I hadn’t seen before. This post is so good that I wish I’d written it myself. Basically she says that she doesn’t practice yoga to impress anyone with how enlightened she is, she practices yoga because without it things would be so much worse.
I feel exactly the same way. Yoga may not solve all my problems, far from it! But without it I am crankier, meaner, shorter tempered, more inclined to sloth and wasteful thinking. The practice of yoga keeps me on track, helps me focus, and evens out my moods. The practice I’ve chosen is difficult, and I’ve long been in a maddening plateau in which it seems that things get worse before they, presumably, get better, but the goal isn’t (I remind myself regularly) to have the most impressive asana practice ever (although I wouldn’t complain). The goal is to be a better, more polished, more relaxed version of myself. A little bit kinder, slower to judge even if only by a hair’s breadth.
That said, practice is going well. We have a new teacher in Belmont, MA, Randy Aromando of Ashtanga Yoga Belmont. The instruction is very precise and detailed; I feel keenly, astutely, observed. There is no hiding. There was nothing wrong with our last teacher, Robert Moses in Dublin, NH. But he only teaches once a week and he doesn’t teach 3rd series. Not that I’m anywhere close to 3rd series, but I have aspirations to got there someday, before I turn 50 would be nice.
I’m starting to figure out that I must hunch my right shoulder slightly in chauturanga dandasana, leading to a dysfunction in what Judith Hanson Lasater calls the “gleno-humeral rhythm.” So I’m working on broadening the chest, widening the clavicles, and guiding the shoulder blades down the back as I lower to a high chauturanga and thence to upward dog. This seems to be helping. I’ve had pain in my right shoulder for so long it just seems normal, but I noticed it evaporated when I had the flu and didn’t practice for a week, which gave me pause to reconsider my practice from a new light.
My backbends are way way off from what they were last Summer. I’m whiny about this fact. But, but! I am finally getting a bind in Marichyasana D, on my own, even if it’s just my fingers barely touching. This is where Randy’s detailed, methodical instruction was just the right thing at just the right time.
It’s all good, the struggle, the surrender, the learning. I’m happier in many ways than I have ever been. Here’s to a lifetime of practice.