Monday, April 24, 2006

Wild horses

Four year checkup today. Could I have been a bit anxious? It is hard to say, since yoga has given me a method of "corralling" my feelings of anxiety, like a group of wild horses. The thing is, you put those horses in the corral, but they're still making lots rumblings. You can feel it under your feet as you walk if you allow yourself. Or maybe even if you don't allow yourself, you still feel it under your feet as a sensation of being thrown off balance or a sensation of the earth shifting under your feet. Or maybe there's a vague smell of fear in the air, and even if you can't detect it consciously, it's still there, altering your experience.

All I know is I fell over in almost every standing pose today. And I couldn't twist worth a dime. And Supta K, well...whatever. No surprises there. It was borderline humiliating, since I had returned to Shala X this very morning, expecting the fruits of my self practice last week to present themselves. But no. Christina had to talk me through my frustration in Mari D. My hands kept slipping away from each other in the sweat, and probably fueled by my self-doubt and, of course, those damn horses.

See, that's the thing about yoga (as in Patanjali's Restatement of Yoga (lawyer joke there, ha ha): yoga is the stilling - or control - or corraling - of the swirling mind's thoughts so that there can be stillness so that the self - the seer - the one you talk to when you "talk to yourself" can emerge)...corralling the thoughts does not eliminate them. They are still there, after all. The mind can't be eliminated altogether, or else the Self has nothing with which to see and cannot function (or even exist). The Self needs the mind. So the mind is there, always. Sometimes quieter, sometimes louder. But it's always there.

I would have to guess that more experienced yogis can corral their horses more effectively, perhaps not just locking them in, but cooling them down, calming their restless spirit.

But hey, I'm really grasping at straws here. I don't know why my practice was so miserable today. I want to blame it on the obvious: the anxiety bubbling beneath my attempt at composure. But it could be any number of other things. It could be lack of sleep, not eating right, too much caffeine, too much coffee, specifically, too much walking, too much thinking...

I guess all I can do is say, "tomorrow is another day." Clearly there's a lesson here in equanimity. And perspective. It's my freakin' yoga practice. I went to my breast surgeon today, and she pronounced me healthy. THAT should be what matters!


1 comment:

Sarah said...

I hear you on the "wild horses" thing. Unless I can just let my mind empty during practice, I'm pretty much useless for balancing or strength poses. But yoga has done so much for taming my mind. Before I started practicing yoga 5 years ago, I had a TON of social anxiety issues to where I sometimes had to leave parties or church early. A few months after starting a regular, daily yoga practice, I was much more capable of controling my emotions and fears. When I get lax in my practice these days and those feelings start coming back, I know I need to get back to the yoga mat :) Good luck to you!

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Northern Westchester, New York, United States
I live by a duck pond. I used to live by the East River. I don't work. I used to work a lot. Now, not so much. I used to teach a lot of yoga. Now not so much. I still practice a lot of yoga though. A LOT. I love my kids, being outdoors, taking photos, reading magazines, writing and stirring the pot. Enjoy responsibly.


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