Eyes on your own mat

Tomorrow begins the second full week back since teacher training finished at the end of September. Fall is in full swing and the first autumn I’ve spent in England is going well thus far. Enjoyed two afternoons at the Essex Food Show, taking business cards and being entertained by all the diehard, hardworking foodies who brought their delicious goodies to sample. I said something to my husband tonight after we had settled in for a quiet Sunday evening and all the excitement of the weekend quieted down. I said, “I don’t know where I’ll do yoga tomorrow since you’re leaving for work late and your Mum will be up and about for her morning routine.” He said, “Well what time were you going to get up?” It was all said in a hypothetical way but that led me to think out loud again, “I….I….I….” (yes one word blocking a tirade of thoughts at the flood gate,” and husband said, “I know you’re frustrated it’s fine.”

It’s just that I am a very private person when it comes to yoga practice. One may ask, “How can you do group exercise in a crowded studio?” Or, “How can you plan to be a yoga teacher?” Or nobody may ask any questions and just let the duality be, because that’s life. It doesn’t affect my ability to practice at its core. I will always be able to get centered, but it takes a strong mind. That’s fine and it’s an on going part of developing on parts of the Ashtanga yoga path in terms of pratyahara (withdrawal of senses) and dharana (concentration) and I do honestly think it can be one step forward and two steps back from day to day.

While still in Spain, there was a run in with a fellow teacher trainee’s foot during an intense last day of yoga class where I was still in an arm balance and the instructions were to come out the arm balance, flow through and jump back to chutarunga. She looked back to make sure I wasn’t still in her space (which it was hard not to be, with 34 adult woman in a studio designated for less than that) and as she jumped back her foot karate chopped my hip and down I went. Since that day, and it’s only been about 10 days, I have actually visibly been shaken when I feel someone is going to bump me or jerk me. Couple that with a love of my own space and extreme tranquility/security that no one will open a door to disturb me, it’s hard to cope with the ‘eyes on your own mat’ mentality of yoga.

However it is better to let go and accept it rather than do battle with it. In this way, I have seen that struggles are blessings in disguise, like the struggle of trying to work out when I can do a yoga practice. By struggling with it, I am blessed by realizing the precious nature of yoga’s presence in my life. If I didn’t care, it wouldn’t occupy my thoughts first thing in the morning and last before sleeping. And here’s a little gem of wisdom that brings it all together,

Free up the space in your mind to let thoughts flow of what you are best served doing. The ego cares about what is going on externally, and freaks out at the thought of being silenced. If you are to do what you’ve set out and be successful at it, you (and I’m talking to me inclusive here) then get to it.

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