“Our practice is a shelter we build for our spiritual selves. It is the work we do to safeguard and support the possibility of spiritual growth. The winds of life constantly wear away the shelter, but if we stick to our tools, the shelter will hold.” Day 11 MEDITATIONS FROM THE MAT
For the past 5 years, I’ve watched regular students drag, bounce, stumble, crawl themselves into my Monday evening class. More times than not, I walk in the studio and see lots of bolster supported Supta Baddha Konasana, Savasana’s, or sitting with blank stares. When I do my usual check-in (most likely perched on the the edge of the cob bench) students tell me about past or present injuries, big life decisions, celebrations, pregnancies, miscarriages, illness, recovery… But they’ve made it. They’ve showed up, not just for their practice, but for themselves.
A couple weeks ago, my joints were swollen, my esophagus on fire, dull vertigo creating the sound of dizziness which has become a familiar warning I’m about to be taken down by my own body. The old me would have wrapped up in a blanket and dark hole of pity piled with panic…sheltering the vulnerability of not being top notch for practice. Ego telling me I had to reach a certain “level” of pose just incase someone was watching in the room(yeah yeah yeah, very ME focused). But not now.
I walked into my “home” studio that day, into a trusted teachers/cohorts/friends class, surrounded by students(many who have become friends) who come to my classes, and spent most of the sequence on my knees(aka coming out of poses or doing the most mild variation). I made it to class and did what I could. I let the teacher know where I was that day, and she taught me new ways to handle the asanas.
As a “recovering type A” the hardest thing for me is to show up and “fail”. Where some would push through to the point of exhaustion, or not even give a damn, for me, comfort would be me not showing up at all. To hide. But at some point during my healing these last six months,through my time on the mat in meditation&physical practice, long conversations with doctors and mentors… it hit me that I didn’t have to always be the teacher on all the instagram posts landing the perfect poses(don’t get me wrong, I’m super inspired by all those rockstar yogis & yoginis and amittidly post when I feel on fire).
The mat is my space to be me. To investigate hellish days where I can’t and the “rockstar” days when I can. To trust the foundation of asana and work with spirit I’ve already built to hold me up when everything seems to be taking me down. I wouldn’t be easing back into the “advanced” practice I’m in now if it weren’t for showing up on the days where I feel far from.
So this is Abyasa: Showing up, making it, doing. Trusting the work we’ve already put in, then allowing our spirit to be our main teacher. Our bodies be the guide. They’ll let us know where we’re really at, whether our ego likes it or not. But we have to keep at it. To maintain the hard work we’ve put into investigating and building.
So let’s get at it.
See you on the mat,
ps As always, I would love to hear about your adventures, practice, and feedback. Post here or send an email via firstname.lastname@example.org