I love my new yoga practice. Can I say that? My teacher is so smart. She listened to me pouring out all the ups and downs of the practice, my work, my teaching, my concerns about having yet another this-is-real-life interference with my training that will cause me to arrive about a day and a half late to the session in September, and various other ramblings. Then she cut the practice in half and removed my least favorite poses as well as a few that aren't feeling that great on my just-had-surgery -a few-months-ago-body.
Gone is lying on my back and extending one foot above my hip, pointing and flexing. Gone is the reclining spinal twist. For some reason, I dreaded both of those. Not that they were the most difficult poses in the practice. But for some reason they created some mental fuming, and the general rule, in yoga, is that if it causes agitation, it's counter-productive, since one of the measures that your yoga is working is that you feel less worked-up, less agitated. You don't suddenly become this goddess of all things peaceful. More likely, you can sit in traffic without losing your mind, or notice a baby crying during the climax of the movie without needing to tell the parents off for bringing an infant to the theater.
Now, I do about a 20-minute practice in the morning, with the option to remove poses if I really need to move fast. If I have time, I sit for about 5 minutes, focusing on my breath. It's a very simple, quiet, sitting-still meditation. In the evening, the practice takes about 15 minutes, including one of my all-time favorites: viparita karani. While I lay on the floor with my legs propped up against the wall, I do a nyasam, or gesture, sort of a finger play in which the movement of my thumb and fingers is coordinated to my breath. It helps to slow my mind down and relax. I do 3 and 4 rounds, then just lie there, open my arms wide, open my chest, and breathe with my eyes closed. Ahhh.
Done. That's it. Much more efficient than my previous practice, which was taking from an hour to an hour and a half. And I wasn't doing it, because I didn't make the time or I resented how much my mind was measuring as I worked through it. Now I'm at this pose. . .wow, only 1/3 done. Now I'm here. . .I have so much to go. Now I'm here. . .I hate this pose, it makes me feel old and stiff and did I say old? Now I get to flip the page to the rest of the practice. Oh my god, so many poses to go. Much better now. I'm making the time to practice, which is different than having the time. And I'm less agitated, more willing to try and see what happens, even looking forward to doing the second half at the end of the day.
I started out saying that I LOVE the practice. Maybe what I should say is that I LOVE that I have two great, great teachers (my first teacher, who knows me so well and opened the door to me becoming a teacher and my newer teacher who's guiding me through my study of yoga therapy).
And look here to see Joan's beautiful Bee Fields shawl, designed by Anne Hanson of Knitspot. I've been resisting the temptation to order the pattern, but I may have to give in.