Sunday, January 30, 2011

My asana, it changes

 I'm feeling particularly at ease in this moment, triumphant even because I managed yet-another home yoga practice this morning, something which still seems like an accomplishment, one focused hour despite the almost-infinite number of distractions available to my wandering eye. Sitting at the kitchen table now, eating a simple lunch, making a second cup of coffee and thinking about how my practice is changing and deepening in ways I couldn't have anticipated.

Last year was filled with yoga, classes with the Sausie Posse kula in Sausalito, Tahoe and Bali, and with the larger kula in San Francisco and Estes Park.  I spent a lot of time on the mat, deep deep deep in Anusara-land, and felt so strong and supported in my practice, surrounded by amazing people and soaked in the tremendous skill of master teachers.  It really is such a tremendous boon to live where I live, where the access to kick-ass teachers is truly remarkable.

And yet despite all that, I still managed to be a little manic in my practice last year: periods of intense, consistent, focused practice interspersed with stretches of being consumed by other concerns, mat rolled up for days, ignored, while I poured all my energy into other aspects of my life. The yoga never left me though, although my hours of asana were inconsistent.  Throughout, I had the abiding support of my kula to which I would return twice or so a week in person, departing plugged-back-in and ready to continue to tackle big changes in my life.  And everything that I was learning on the mat in those intense periods flavored my approach to everything else off the mat. It was pretty amazing all in all.

I think perhaps last year's intensity, on- and off-mat, really seated the yoga deep inside me in a way that is so much more integrated and solid than ever before.  Even as I was deciding to drop out of Teacher Training, I knew that I had moved to another place in my own practice.

So it's funny that in this self-pronounced year of viveka [discernment] in which I'm being super deliberate about everything I do, I'm suddenly and almost-easily finding ways to practice at home,something which was so much more of a struggle before.  It helps that we're on a super Austerity Plan at the moment, adapting to my reduction in salary and to the ongoing impacts of the economy on our small business -- it also helps that my spouse is developing his own home practice as an antidote to hours spent on the bike.  Neither one of us can find a studio to which we can commit as members either because of distance or offerings or cost (or all three), so that is really guiding this new direction, too.

But really and truly, I'm enjoying this!  The freedom of practicing when I want to, of not having to drive to a place, of picking and choosing what I'm going to work on -- although in the beginning I really floundered with staying interested in my own practice and coming up with what to do next, and not avoiding the poses that are hard for me.  This is really fun, actually, in a way I couldn't have anticipated, to have this liberated practice that I invent as I go along, built on the solid framework of years of study with true geniuses.  Really so fun and so deeply satisfying.  It's a new and different kind of consistency, so interesting.

I hear my teacher's voice always as I go through the asana, her words as I move from one pose to another.  This is true even when I'm in other teacher's classes, Laura's voice layered around the instruction, amplifying it with her own good sense.  Increasingly now, in the home practice, I hear my own voice as well, a sound that I'm still getting used to, but one that I know is actually the most important voice of all.  Guru inside, I'm learning to hear you.


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