The new practice partner emailed last night: “I might not make it tomorrow morning…” And sure enough, she didn’t. No matter, I thought as I padded down the hall to the mat. It’s been a while since I’ve had a leisurely self practice. One of my practice partners stops at Kurmasana and the other sometimes practices full primary, sometimes stops earlier, so I’m always rushing just a bit to stay a pose or two ahead so we can finish somewhere in the same time frame.
But then one or two surya namaskaras later, I realized that I wasn’t going to make it through. The mind stayed quiet, and somehow kept from passing judgement, but the body just did not pull its weight in the Mind-Body connection. The muscles refused to loosen, yet they did not want to engage, either. The knees bitched and moaned about all the hiking and the cold damp weather. The shoulders whimpered with each vinyasa. The bandhas quivered in protest with every jumpback. After Baddha Konasana, I gave up on the primary series and attempted Pasasana. Pasasana took everything the body had left, and then I lay back for backbends. The soft mattress and featherbed that seemed so soothing and comforting for the past two nights left me with a hard, immoble spine that refused to compromise. So no standing up today, no dropbacks, and definitely no ankle grabbing, no sir. The pains in my lower abdomen (ovulation, perhaps?) kept me from attempting my inversions, so on to baddha padmasana et al.
Despite all the physical shortcomings, at the end of asana practice, the frustrations that often follow a difficult practice were noticeably absent. I walked away from my mat with a sense of lightness and peace in my mind, though not in my body. And these are the practices that truly show how the yoga is working.