Non-negotiable

I started arguing with myself this morning, briefly, about whether or not to go to the CT Shala for practice. It was cold out. I had no time to shower because I had slept late (late meaning 7 a.m, instead of 6:45 a.m.). Then I just told myself to shut up, get dressed and go. It cannot be negotiable, this going to the shala thing. It has to just be something I do. It cannot be something I decide whether or not I want to do on any given day.

And it was really nice to be back. Val told me that I had been missed. I sputtered a bunch of excuses, and made sure to add in that I always practice at home if I miss a day at the shala. Or seven. In any case, I took it slow, did a lot of nice backbending prep before getting going, and I felt pretty good. I struggled a bit in Kurmasana, as I have been lately. Have I mentioned that? Didn’t think so. It’s not a pose I care very much about these days. And I guess it doesn’t care much for me either, because it’s withdrawing from me a bit. As I spend more time working on backbending, as opposed to forward bending, Kurmasana becomes less comfortable for me. My hamstrings occasionally feel as if they are siezing up in it. The angle of my legs to my body is no longer as acute. My shoulders are no longer solidly tucked under my legs. And sometimes, I even have to completely come out of it before I can get into Supta K…because Supta K does not require as much openness in the hamstrings, what with the legs being bent and all. So, today, being one of those days, I did my Kurmasana and then bent my legs and wiggled my shoulders under my legs as best I could, got myself bound but found that I couldn’t budge my ankles, not even one bit, due to the fact that my Kurmasana was so inadequate as far as putting my shoulders and legs into the right configuration for binding myself into Supta K. And so I came completely out of it, and was just about to go straight into Supta K when Oni told me “Do Kurmasana first.”

“But I already did Kurmasana,” I whined.

“Go into Kurmasana, and from there, we’ll get you into Supta Kurmasna.”

As my kids would say, “oh, snap.”

Then I got no other adjustments at all until backbending. I had to do Pasasana myself, which meant going to the wall in order to use it to guide my upper arm into the right trajectory for being grabbed by my lower arm. I’m still working on the mechanis of Pasasana. I’m open enough to do it. It’s just that my arms need some tutoring regarding their choreography.

Backbending was fine. I’m setting the bar really low these days. As far as I am concerned, if I can do three backbends and hold them for between five and ten breaths, then that’s fine. Where am I going anyway? What am I doing this for?

I just have to keep doing it. That’s what I’m doing it for. To keep doing it. And if the expectations and demands upon myself are too high, then that is going to subvert my desire, as well as my ability, to keep on doing it.

Something nice about practicing at the shala again: it forces me to practice more efficiently, which leaves me with enough energy to get through the rest of my day.

YC

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