Sunday, March 18, 2012
Anatomy 8:30 – 10:30
Hatha Flow 10:30 – 12:00
Guided Meditation 12:00 – 1:00
Yin Workshop 2:00 – 5:00
Busy schedule of both practice and workshops today, and it was a struggle for me from the get go. I started the day out with a lot of things on my mind — some long-standing issues that I feel are beginning to come to a head this year — and hadn't slept very well the night before, so I basically felt tired and had low energy and a very busy mind.
Michelle started her Hatha class out with some much-needed Pranayama practice (Nadi Shuddhi). As it always does, it helped me to feel much lighter in my head and body and centered me in the space and practice. I've been very consciously working on my Ujjayi breathing during Ashtanga, and I find that in less vigorous practices like this Hatha flow I can maintain a nice, even breath throughout — really achieving that "oceanic breathing" quality. It does a few things for me — it helps me monitor where my body is at in the practice, if I am struggling with a posture the breath can become more uneven, if I'm getting winded it will become shorter etc. It also helps me to stay centered and focused throughout the practice, acting as an anchor that I can always return to if my mind starts wandering — which it was doing plenty of today.
The most unexpected and wonderful thing that the breath can do is help others in their practice. This was pointed out to me today when someone approached me after class to thank me "for my breathing". She said that hearing my steady Ujjayi helped her to focus on her breath and remember to breath when it was becoming erratic. This really touched me, and it served to remind me that no matter what we might be going through internally, our actions externally can affect those around us, positively or negatively, even if we aren't consciously projecting or communicating something. It's also probably the nicest compliment you could pay to someone — pretty much thanking them for just being. Incredible. Thank you Mary, for being kind and open enough to share this with me — it really lifted my heart when I needed it — which also goes to show how much you can affect someone by having the courage to offer a kind word to someone when you are moved to do it, no matter how insignificant, or even silly you might think it is.
The rest of the day pretty much followed this kind of pattern — whether I was struggling to sit through meditation as the emotion of the past couple days flooded my mind and my tired and achy hips were screaming at me to stand up, or going through a number of difficult inner journeys during the 3-hour Yin Yoga workshop. The thing that was brought home to me after all of this was that I wasn't alone during any of it. At the beginning of the day, there was "the practice", which is always there for us, and served me well when I needed it, helping to steady my mind and energize my body, releasing a lot of the stress that I brought into the studio today.
Later, I was blessed with a true sense of community as I looked around the room after what had been — for me — a very emotionally charged Yin practice, and I realized that everyone in that room had gone through their own inner journeys, full of struggles and breakthroughs. I was flooded with such a feeling of honour and respect for everyone that had the courage to show up and do what can be a very challenging physical, mental and emotional work, and acknowledged them all — as unlikely as some may have appeared — as spiritual warriors. Truly the essence of the word "Namaste".