Saturday, January 29, 2011

When Things Seem So Much Farther Away

Halfway into the last snowstorm I noticed how all my normal errands seemed so much farther away. My yoga practice has seemed a bit like this too, since I sprained my ankle.

Turns out it is not really my body that puts long distance in my yoga practice, nor the snow piled on all sides that makes the local food co-op any farther away. It is all in my mind.

Making adjustments in yoga practice is a natural part of practice, and comes with the territory if you are going to practice on your own or in a class. Just because the teacher or the person next to you can lean on their wrist does not necessarily mean that you can... or put your heel down when squatting or lift your arm next to your ear. Each body comes with its own patterns and structures and it is more than half the amazement of a yoga practice to discover all this about the body you actually live in.

The same is true when injured or not feeling well, or under special natural conditions. A dear friend of mine is very near to the end of her pregnancy and just this last week ran into three specific movements in her yoga practice that had been fine last week but her body just said, "nope, skip that one this time." This indicator is helping her understand the deep changes taking place as her child prepares to emerge. My ankle tells me many stories even as I work into a seat for meditation! In this way, my teacher is always with me, drawing my attention to sensation, to the shift in the breath, to my own wandering awareness.

And of course my food co-op is right where it has always been, but the journey there and back has been brought sharply into focus as a moment-by-moment experience. I am making constant adjustments for my ankle, for the ice, for other passersby, for the beauty of the nearby fence all decorated in snow. How wonderful to be aware and alive! Of course I will be happy when the pain subsides even further, but do hope I can remember to notice when my attention shifts and many things seem closer while others move farther away.

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