Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Astanga

In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on.
-Robert Frost

Yesterday evening, on my way downtown to teach a class, I stopped by the the Shala and picked up my Manduka. As of this morning, I'm returning to a home yoga practice.

This wasn't a spontaneous decision - in fact I've been mulling it over for almost a month. The reasons are complicated, but the most important one is this: I can't fully respect myself if I willingly allow anyone else to treat me badly.

Parts of my childhood were very bad and during those dark times, I made myself a promise: When I was a grownup and I finally had control over my own life, I would never let anyone mistreat me. I would surround myself with people who love and value me.

I need to keep that promise.

So this morning I went back to my old 'home routine'. I got up, turned on the heater and took my bath. I swept the floors, moved the furniture aside and lit tea lights on the altar. I burned some incense and started my practice at 6:30 a.m.

I had a good practice! I was worried the apartment wouldn't be warm enough, but it was fine. I might buy a second heater, one of the oil-filled radiating ones, for the fall.

The only real change I've made to my home practice setup is the direction of my mat: I've turned to face north, away from the window (because it's too distracting and I don't like the light in my face).

Dropbacks are now part of my regular practice. This is what I'm working on: First, three warmup Urdhva Dhanurasana just to get the 'monkey ass' feeling out of the way. Then, three deeper backbends, walking my hands in each time and trying to get them as close to my feet as possible. Then I drop back three times. After each dropback, I walk the hands in and rock three times, aiming to lift up to my fingertips on the third rock.

Backbends were good today. I found one good 'lift' that felt promising. I need to drop back further away from the futon though, otherwise I'll crash into it if I land on my knees. I need a deeper arch in my back to land my hands closer to my feet.

After I finished backbends, I turned the heater off, put the tea in to steep, and did finishing. I forgot to look at the clock as I got up from taking rest, but it must have been close to 8, because it was 8:30 by the time I put everything away, bathed, put my yoga clothes in the bucket to soak, fed the dog and prepared breakfast.

8:30 is often the time I've *finished* my practice at the Shala. It wasn't a long commute there, but I'm definitely gaining some extra time. I'll appreciate that next month when I return to my full teaching schedule.

I'm committed to my 'six day' Astanga practice and for the time being, I'll do it at home. I have no immediate plans to study with a teacher again, though I'm still going to Darby's Shala when I'm in Montreal next week.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

9 comments:

BP said...

I admire your decision. I too have played with the thought...thank you for your post.
Aloha!

fivefootwo.com said...

Fair enough. Enjoy the time you carved out of not commuting to the shala, but to your altar instead. I got a beautiful visual out of your description if incense and tea candle lighting....

rebecca said...

your new (old) mornings sound just lovely, enjoy the extra time.

Anonymous said...

I hear ya. You deserve to be treated respectfully! You can always come north to DR!

The Misanthropic Yogini said...

Good for you! Trust yourself, lady.

Elizabeth Pope said...

Glad you're taking care of yourself & drawing healthy boundaries. Princess Fur probably enjoys having you home that little bit more, too. :)

Boodiba said...

Wow! This is a surprise to me, but you've long been a dedicated self practitioner.

Good for you. You're not really practicing alone anyway, not with this blog.

I've gone the other direction! My relationship with JC is pretty good right now & I'm wanting to make that long commute more & more often. I guess it doesn't matter what path you take if the destination is rewarding practice.

Kaivalya said...

Thanks, everyone. Home practice is feeling like the perfect thing for me right now. Already I can feel a difference in my practice and my outlook.

Kaivalya said...

@Elizabeth
Oh, Princess Fur is SO happy to have me around in the morning. She loves my presence and the inevitable attention. This morning, she let out a huge happy sigh as I unrolled my mat!