Monday, August 30, 2010

Astanga

I was awake until late last night, cleaning and unpacking. Princess Fur needed a b-a-t-h after her adventures at Doggie Camp (she was stinky!) and I needed some semblance of order before I could rest comfortably. I’m one of those people who pack three days before the trip and unpack immediately after arriving home.

It feels SO good to be home!

I was up at 5 a.m. and on the mat close to 6 for my new, much-longer practice. First time doing this at home! It’s much easier in a warm room, though not *much* easier. :-D I’m struggling with these Intermediate postures. I could probably write an entire post on the topic, but I’m too tired!

I brought no souvenirs home from my holiday, but I *did* bring home a Buddha Belly. I can feel it hanging around my mid-section as I practice and my clothes are fitting a bit tighter. I couldn’t find the wrist bind in Mari D or the finger bind in Pasasana. Supta Kurmasana was a struggle - it took ages to bind in that one. Even the wrist bind in Mari C took some effort. I’m not worried about it though - a week or two on a moderate diet and the weight will slip away. It’s one of the perks of a six-day practice!

It didn’t help that I was out eating a big sushi supper at 9 p.m. last night. Yes, you read that correctly. Usually I’m in bed by that hour! My hard-partying mother has been a bad influence on me. I fear it will be hard to get back into my regular routine. I spent the morning with my mom, drinking tea and chatting on the shaded patio at the sweet little Bed & Breakfast she was staying at. I loaded her into an airport limo around noon before riding off to teach my class.

I felt a sense of surreal relief, but I cried all the way downtown.

My mom has noticeably aged in the four years since I last visited with her. I had planned this holiday around walking, lots of walking, to keep my energetic mother busy. I come by my excessively Pitta constitution very honestly! My mother practically crackles with energy and she likes to move, move, move! Last time she visited, my feet were sore from following her around the city.

But this visit, she couldn’t walk far without taking a rest and she needed at least two naps during the day. In Montreal, we walked short distances from the hotel, then went back to the room to rest. After a day walking around in Quebec City, she was absolutely spent from the effort of being out and about for 8 hours. This is definitely a change.

It was a serene visit, though. We didn’t get into a single fight, which is a first. I think the years have softened my mother and yoga has made me more difficult to bait. ;-)

The few times she tried to pick a fight, I gently warded her off. I refused to get angry, or defensive (or to ‘bite the hook’ as Pema Chodron would say). During one tense moment, I replied in a calm voice: “Mother, be gentle with me, please.” She backed off, I didn’t hold the grudge and the next morning, we continued to enjoy each other’s company. Crisis averted.

For the most part, she was supportive of my vegan diet (just *one* snarky comment the entire trip!) and, to my surprise, she was very supportive of my yoga practice. She asked questions and was genuinely interested in my experiences at the Shala in Montreal. She seemed openly impressed with my dedication to a morning practice and the strength and good health it has given me.

I’m glad we were able to spend time together without tension. And I’m grateful to my practice (both yoga and meditation) for granting me this equanimity in the face of her criticism. I know that someday, my mother will be gone and I’ll regret wasting any time in anger. This trip made me realise that time is fleeting; these visits need to become more frequent. I’m already planning for next year.

2 comments:

ashtangalover said...

I can completely relate to what you wrote about your mother aging. Its hard for me to watch mom age. Its completely expected, completely natural, and she is blessed thus far with good health. But at the same time its unsettling, a constant in my life all of a sudden appears precarious.
I am happy you had a fight free visit, this is something I need to work on with my mom. Its so hard to break out of the patterns within familial interactions. The progress I make as a person within my adult life and new relationships all goes out the window as soon as I am with my family... so good for you!

Kaivalya said...

@ashtangalover
My mother lives far away, which is both a blessing and a sadness. When I do visit with her, it's often after a period of years, so the changes that come with age seem HUGE to me (I'm sure she's thinking the same thing about me!)

During this recent visit, I kept reminding myself that she's getting older and someday I won't have a mother (I already lost my father, so I'm familiar with this feeling). When that day comes, I know I'll wish I could sit and have a conversation with my mother, regardless of how difficult she can be!

With this in mind, I made a conscious decision to enjoy every moment of her company - it made it easier not to get angry.

I enjoy your blog, by the way! :-)