Usagi?! Ujjayi.

September 29, 2009 at 8:51 pm 1 comment

It has been a year now since Grace and I took Mom and Baby Yoga together. And now she’s too old, and I’m back at work, and I miss it.

So, I took one of the only free nights of my week and signed up for an Ashtanga class from the same instructor – this time, without the 40minute drive to another town. Yay.

By the end of the first night, I knew I’d made a good choice for me. Again, I was struck by the overwhelming impression from this instructor of comfort in her own body. She’s a tall woman – and every movement and motion seems to sing, “this is the space I occupy, and I fill it with beauty and light”. I want that for myself- that refusal to give in to the pressure to apologize for the volume of space I occupy.

And, bless her, she talks about opening and strengthening and flexibility and stretching and has never once said anything to suggest that there was any need to make a body (any body) less of anything- except less closed, or less tense, or (when demonstrating easier variations on a pose) less stressed or pained.

Tonight was the third night. I was not, at 6:15, convinced that my 7pm yoga class was a good idea. I was coughing. I was sore. I was dizzy. I was tired. I went upstairs to change out of work clothes and contemplated just crawling into bed and staying there. But I managed to convince myself that it was worth it, and besides, missing a class I’d paid for was wasting money. (gasp!)

So I went, and saluted the sun, and all the achy tension in my back dissipated, and I felt so much better. And our focus this evening was on balance, and sun and moon energy, and a slow, warm, controlled way of breathing.

(And if I sent my instructor this link I hope she’s duly impressed that my google-fu is so strong that I figured out how to spell that, considering that I left the place with totally not that word in my head.)

So- the whole time that I was aware of this Ujjayi breath, there was none of the spasmic breathing that I’ve been doing all day. And then, as soon as we relaxed a bit, and returned to ‘normal’ breath, I burst out coughing. Telling, no?

Usually, at the first sign of a cold, I go running for the Contac-C. I’m a big fan of medication. (I was looking for the Epidural shunt about a week before my due date). The effect of cough meds on me is often not so much to decrease the symptoms of a cold, but to disconnect me enough from my body that I don’t care so much about the coughing and the aches and the pain. Tonight was an amazing chance to intentionally connect to a visibly broken version of myself, to appreciate the not-coughing, not-aching version of me, to honour that this, now, is the state of my body in this moment. And that life is dynamic and ever-changing.

I also really enjoy the opportunity to listen to a spiritual teacher from a different tradition teach and practice. As she spoke about the balance of sun and moon energy- the stillness that frees the heart and the movement that quiets the mind, I started wondering (evidently, I suck at quieting the mind) if there are any parallels in the Christian tradition. And got thinking about various monastic orders, and the balance between labour and prayer, action and meditation. I want to explore that further, I think. Listening to Caroline talk about the yoga sutras makes me keenly aware that for a faith that has Incarnation at its very centre, Christianity doesn’t have much to say about the body. I blame Paul and his greek-influenced dualism. This will be food for thought for me for a while.

Also? I got way further into pigeon pose than I thought I was going to be able to, when she was demonstrating. So that was a pretty great way to end the night. That and stopping at the video store on my way home for my brand spanking new copy of Here Comes Science.

In honour of finding balance between sun energy and moon energy, of growth and expanding knowledge, of openness to more complete truth, I leave you with the answers to two questions.

Why does the sun shine?
And Why does the sun REALLY shine?


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

In Which I Make Lists Fasting from Fasting

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Discoking  |  March 5, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    Great Blog!……There’s always something here to make me laugh…Keep doing what ya do 🙂

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