Tuesday, April 27, 2010

From Anna: Party Girl

I love your image of the self MRI. It is befitting to the idea of the body in layers. Years ago, in one of my very first classes, the teacher said that yoga is a process of shedding, not of adding. That our work is to peel away each sheath to reveal what is already there. At the time, it made about as much sense to me as 'soften your floating ribs' but over time, both concepts have started to fall into place.

Speaking of things that have changed, I am right there next to you on the meditation thing. I used to dread that moment in class when the teacher would say "if you'd prefer, you can remain here in meditation or you can make your way into savasana." I couldn't skidaddle out of that seated position fast enough and would wonder about the people who stayed. Were they just trying to look dedicated or was it possible that they enjoyed this seated repose? Did their feet fall asleep too? When the teacher gave one of those "if you have a tendency to fidget, go back to your breath" speeches, was it directed at me alone? I sort of resigned myself to being someone who 'just wasn't cut out for meditation.'

But at some point along the way, once I had pretty much given up on the possibility altogether, I woke up and had become one of those people. Last night I took class and when given the choice, I stayed seated, gladly and willingly. I only wished that it lasted longer. Occasionally I feel torn between the physical release of savasana and the more delicate renewal of some time spent quietly seated. But it's an excellent problem to have. Two parties I'd love to attend: same night, same time.

Which reminds me, I am really enjoying your recommendation of theses guided meditations. Varied, accessible, and rather lovely on a whole. Seems that you're full of good ideas lately. Guided meditations, self MRI's, and now wardrobe purging. One of these days I'll work up enough inspiration to follow suit... (pun shamelessly intended).

I still have two more classes to teach tonight, but I'd do anything to throw my legs up the wall and call it a day.... now THAT is my idea of a party.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

From Liz: Junk in the Trunk (the Body in 3D)

This will sound super stoner of me, but dude, I just realized that my body is three dimensional. I don't know why I've been living in 2D for so long. I feel like I've been practicing and moving my body as if it were flat. Suddenly, something clicked (maybe this is the mediation practice at work) and I realized that to distribute my breath and awareness fully, I have to breath into my back body, down to the depths of the junk in my trunk. I am embracing the lushness of my entire annamaya kosha. It's like having x-ray vision, the ability to full body scan (self MRI) and hold the whole in awareness. It is tripping me out...

And yes, I'm meditating in the mornings. It is not necessarily getting easier, but more fluid. I used to peep my eyes open after what seemed like an eternity, only to find that 3 minutes had elapsed. Now it's closer to 15 minutes. And where I used to drag my heels and resist this quiet "sitting," I now look forward to it. It's work, but also refuge. I'm curious to see what comes up in those few minutes. Why has it taken me so long to embrace this? And why was Ashtanga the catalyst that brought me here?

I'm off to do a little wardrobe purging. Embracing my body has led me to re-evaluate the contents of my closet. I'm ditching anything that doesn't do justice to my self-loving, emancipated booty.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

From Anna: The Osmosis of Prana

My apologies for taking so long to post. I've been bustling along at a sprightly pace and it seems that there are never enough hours in the day. And yes, I do realize that if I feel like that every day, there is a glaringly obvious lesson to be learned.... But there's no time for lesson-learning either! I'll try to pencil in some time next month.

Being this busy has had an interesting effect on my practice. When I was blesssed with more time on my hands, my practice felt like a choice. Significant and defining - but a choice. Now that I am spread so thin, my practice has become non-negotiable. It isn't so much an elected use of time as it is sustenance. It may be a simple equation of less time on the mat equaling a more meaningful practice, but I think it runs more in line with your musings on drishti and softening.

One of my teachers used to say "Just. Soften. Somewhere." and I finally understand what he meant. Ultimately, the softening isn't gaze specific (or trapezius specific for that matter), but is a receptivity. An energetic shift. I'm sure you know that sweet, delicate zone of permeability, where you feel like you are opening to the osmosis of prana.... (which sounds way more cosmic and wacky than it actually is). That zone that you are lucky to slither into and reluctant to leave... Running around like a madwoman, I need it now more than ever. Even if I'm not in it, I can happily settle for the knowledge of that diffusive state existing. For whatever reason, it help me get through the day. Especially days like today when I taught 5 classes and don't know my left from my right.

Speaking of getting through the day, are you still meditating by morning and practicing in the afternoon?