Sunday, March 14, 2004

First practice 

Day two saw me succumbing to a five a.m. wake-up, minutes before the muezin (mouezin? Moo-zin?!?) starts speaker-amplified morning prayers, resounding in the still-dark neighborhood. Say good morning to the housemouse as it scuttles away at the sight of a non-family member as I make my coffee, making sure the milk boils even though it is from a pasteurized (Nandini brand!) container. The rituals of the things I do before practice every day- remove pendant, scrape back hair, find feet as I stand at the front of mat with palms pressed in front of me, close eyes, chant "vande gurunam..."- all imbued with a depth and weight that are not always effortless. Waves of relief and joy as I return to this familiar and beloved space, this practice. Briefly interrupted as an Indian cockroach (more reminiscent of one of the giant bugs from the Naked Lunch movie, than anything I know fromm the US or Europe) brazenly makes its way across my mat, narrowly avoiding my feet. Slowly, tentatively, I let each sun salutation take me where it wishes, letting my stiff body wake up as I negotiate the tightness within and also of the space I am in: the Tibetans' altar/guestroom, outfitted with a couple of shelves, a single foam matress and a window to what is currently my favorite image here: the narrow alley we are on leading to the Sivajinagar bus station, a main artery in the city's elaborate transit network. Alley is flanked by older two or three storey buildings in vibrant shades of pastels, and as the eyes travel to the main road they find the Ram temple on the corner.

What a difference two days and a coupla continents can make: the kind of expansiveness and openness that in NY allowed everything to be nothing less than yummy, even as each day saw breakthroughs in the recent challenge-pose (Badhakonasana) with chin and knees moving flat to floor and dropback/standups that can move with one breath out as I go back and one breath in as I come up and heels that are within sight, with a tantalizing few times where they were also within reach as I work Urdhva Dhanurasana, a distant memory as I navigate a body that is tense and stiff and struggle to soften into the forward bends and gentle twists that comprise the first part of seated postures in the sequence that I normally breeze through with joy.

Wimp out and let "compassion" and "less judgment" approach take me to a quick finishing and long rest. There is tomorrow, and the day after... very soon the practice will be very much in focus again, or rather THE focus again. For now, just pulling that one out was a feat, and I am realizing that just being here is a full practice in and of itself. A few days or weeks ago, I would have dismissed the preceding sentiment as completely lame and self-indulgent wussiness. Now that I am here, I know a little better, how your head heart and body are in constant action and bracing yourself; as with practice the okayness factor and equilibrium and stay-with-it and joy elements need constant tending to, as you temper the soaring highs and ride out the inevitable lows.

Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?