I won't lie - today's practice wasn't good at all. I've been feeling really sluggish and low energy over the past couple of days and this afternoon, I was hit by this tremendous feeling of lethargy. All I wanted to do was lay down and feel sorry for myself. I didn't practice in the morning, hoping that I would feel better in the afternoon, but I actually felt *worse* in the afternoon. And by that point, I couldn't put it off any longer so I unrolled my mat and just got on with it.
None of my usual tricks worked this time around. I tried to coax myself into practice by promising that I could take a break after the sun salutations. Trouble is, after sun salutations, I was totally ready to take a break; I didn't have any more energy after Surya Namaskara A& B than I did before. So I spent some time curled up in a fetal position on my Mysore rug, then I peeled myself up to continue.
It was awful. My mind kept saying: Don't. Want. To. I was really struggling with mental resistance. Nothing flowed, nothing felt good. On days like this, the only thing I can do is to just keep at it, taking breaks when I need to. And resolve not to be too hard on myself.
As I moved into the seated poses, I wasn't sure I would be able to finish the series, so I cut out the vinyasa between sides. The funny thing is, I ended up doing most of the vinyasa anyway because I forgot I was skipping it. I modified many of the poses and part of the closing sequence. I did one funny little backbend that was mostly painful. My handstands? Perfectly fine! I know I have a pose nailed when it goes well even when my body feels like it is made of lead.
This was a day that I had no impatience with Savasana. In fact, Savasana was the best part of the whole hour-and-a-bit.
I've been reading BKS Iyengar's book 'Light on Life'. Although occasionally dense (reading some sections is literally like breathing Jello), there are some fine moments in that book. On the subway, I read through this inspiring section and subsequently read it to my class:
“Do not say that you are disappointed with yourself. Find time every day to do something to maintain the asana practice. Sometimes both body and mind yield to willpower, and at other times the rebel. Do you have a problem part that makes the practice difficult for you? An injured knee? A stiff back? That is your problem child. Learn how to deal with it and how to nurture it, as you would a child who had problems that needed extra love and attention. Do not bother about failures either. Failures in life lead one toward determination and in having the necessary philosophical approach. Be detached.”
“The test of a philosophy is whether is is applicable and even more so applicable now in how you live your life. Even Patanjali, who was born a spiritual genius, Said that yoga is mastered only by long persistent nonstop practice, with zeal and determination.”
My mind is my problem child. I won't be disappointed in myself. And tomorrow, as always, is another day.