I have a large and very colourful bruise on the inside of my left knee from an errant wrist shot in my hockey game the other night (we won, 2-1). It bounced off my knee and didn't go into the net, so no complaints here. It doesn't hurt either, but it's rather pretty. The other bruise, on my right knee, is small and plain, but that one hurts. I got it when I slipped and fell on the sidewalk going in to teach a class yesterday. Less than glorious and *ouch*!
I went to bed early last night, determined to wake up at the wee hour to do my practice, but it didn't happen. I ended up getting 10 hours of sleep and waking at 7. I was exhausted; I felt like I hadn't slept at all, so no early morning practice. I ate breakfast, set my mat out with the intention to practice later, and went ice skating.
It's the last week of outdoor ice so I'm trying to get down to the rink every day. To be honest, I'm a bit burnt out on skating, but I know that I'll miss it like crazy during the summer months. Lots of people were out this morning - many with their kids, as it is Spring Break here. My old friend Slick was there, which surprised me because usually he comes earlier. I guess he's also on a late schedule these days. I also ran into a guy I used to play shinny with. He was there practising some skating skills. I'm a better skater by far but damn does he have a good wrist shot. ;-)
I went home and started my practice with Samasthitihi, doing some Ujaayi breathing. I decided that even if the only thing I did was stand on that mat for a half-hour and breathe, that's what I would do. I reasoned that if breath (Prana) is energy, then breathing should give me a good injection of it.
It worked. I set the pace of the practice with my breath and the rest followed. I got through the sun salutations and standing poses. Did all of the seated poses with vinyasa, had two VERY nice handstands (the second one, I floated up and didn't even touch the wall!!). Backbending is sucky and difficult these days. I did one backbend and gave up. No Musical Sirsasana today - I just held for 10 breaths and came down.
Every time I felt overwhelmed by the practice and thought I couldn't continue, I would sit down on the mat and go back to the Ujaayi breath. Once I had that rhythm, I would flow back into the postures.
I held onto my breath like a drowning woman and, at least for today, this totally worked for me.
From BKS Iyengar, 'Light on Life':
“Will power is concrete, not ethereal. When you do something, you demonstrate your willpower, and it becomes all the easier to have the same power of will next time. When you perform your asana, you are physically demonstrating willpower through the expression of muscles...With willpower, you elongate the muscles and bring elegance. This willpower allows us to express peace, contentment, and freedom from body attachment as we expand our minds. Willpower is nothing but willingness to do.”