- April 12th, 2013
On yoga, I have little but positive things to say. My energy levels are through the roof in a manner I really didn't imagine. This is unlike my previous yoga 'phases', I think because I am committing myself to a very regular practice. It's just as well that I do have so much energy for this, because there is a real sense in which this period is a long uphill struggle to reach the next plateau, and I can't really let off for fear of falling back.
How much of that is physiologically true and how much purely psychology I find difficult to say. Certainly the body is more plastic, but every morning I wake up and it is pretty much as stiff as it was when I began; though after the initial series of asanas it quickly loosens up. It is as though every time I practice, or every time I wake up, I have to reify the entire path from beginning to reach current 'level'. Perhaps that is just how it is.
Psychologically, the practice has been having a very interesting effect. I've mentioned before various recalcitrant thoughts that arise. They have been intensifying over the last few weeks, and sometimes I find myself consumed with great oceans of self-deprecation during the first fifteen or so minutes of practice. I think it is good to just press through this. I'm not by any means invoking it, merely observing it when it comes, and letting it pass by. I won't deny sometimes I get a little vigorous at such thoughts; I don't think that's wise on the whole as it's only encouraging them.
There's a curious physiological correspondence to note here as well. At first I feel angry thoughts; and these seem to correlate to my ankles not touching the floor in downward dog, but are generally related to the early inflexibility that is before I have warmed up. Ankles not on the floor; am I even getting anywhere; what's the point; I'm never good at anything; yada yada.
After that passes away, I'll experience a deep fatigue; O not this pose again, I've got no energy for this, I really want to go back to sleep. This during standing balancing poses and paschimottanasana.
Then there's comparatively quiet and diligent period during which I am simply following the flow and enjoying the experience; this is the seated poses. I reach my peak during this period, and I am always excited by how things feel different each time, and how much I am actually walking the path, and how things are actually improving, in spite of my earlier negativity (which is long since forgotten by this point). Oh, that said, sometimes the hip openers on the floor elicit some sensations of grief and upset, related to the tension held in hip joints. My hips are tight; I've mentioned this before.
At the end of that is the back bend series, and I'm doing various things to correct an inflexible and weak thoracic spine at the moment. This is proving quite emotionally difficult: I am actually feeling small amounts of nausea as I open my chest against the wall, and the tightness in my shoulders.
Then the actual back bends, which are varyingly hellaciously uncomfortable or gloriously uplifting depending on how ready my upper back is feeling; regardless of which, I come out of them feeling victorious.
Lastly, we come to the inversions in the closing sequence, and I enter this wonderfully calm and centred state, and I feel free and opened and rested, pretty much regardless of what came before.
This new sense of openness comes with a cost, which is that I am now pathologically sensitive, and unable to watch the news, or see anything gory or grisly, etc, etc, without feeling a profound and agonising weltschmerz. I won't deny I've felt this way before, but it is notably stronger than before. In some ways I feel like I am removing layers of armouring and so things are affecting me more profoundly (or rather I am more connected with myself to experience the profound effect that has always taken place). I don't know whether that is wise or not; I think in the past being too sympathetic and resonant has put me unduly at the influence of others with more venal concerns. Something to be mindful of; but given that I am, I think that shows I still have the necessary defences available.
I have one further thing to note, which is on Thursday this week, whilst I was doing my closing mantra, I had a vision of an Indian guru of some kind. I keep thinking of Shirdi Sai Baba, but this guy had a longer beard, and was older. He was sat on a tiger skin, and in the background was this terribly kitsch scene of stars and galaxies and nebulae vividly glowing in blue and violet. I sensed but did not see that the lower half of his body was serpentine in character, which might put him down as Patanjali; and that would make sense given the opening mantra is an invocation to him. It was a very lucid scene. He was teaching me how to pronounce the mangala mantra properly. It was quite lovely, though I refrain from making too much of it.