Saturday, September 15, 2012

fantasy vs. reality on the mat (and off it)

I have had a bit of writers' block since my last post.  I can definitely feel the moon today too...had all sorts of plans for today, and I think I will take a nap after I post this, then see how I feel.

I got to see the first ever bit of video of myself practicing yoga..not at my current studio, but at the Jivamukti master classes back in January. It wasn't horrible..though I did make a really funny face in upward dog (let's hope it was mostly because of the adjustment I was receiving and the weird case of performance anxiety I was having at the time! More likely it was me not breathing. I felt like I could not move fast enough, and it was making me crazy).

I am visible at 1:58 (bending down, while everyone else is in chautauranga) and again at 2:02, being adjusted by star teacher dechen thurman (yup, uma's bro).

These days, every time I get on the mat, I am confronted by the difference between how the practice feels and how it most probably looks to an outsider. Parivritta parsvakonasana, for one. Each day, I think..oh this is so deep a posture today, then I look down as I exit it, to see how my front leg is hardly bent at all, and that my arm is in front of the knee rather than wedged against my thigh. Personally, I find this amusing. I am so relieved to be past where I was in the spring..where the posture made me want to puke, plus, I am realizing that change happens so slowly, that I should focus more on my breath than on how deep I can bend that front leg.

The jumpback is another place where fantasy seems to run away with itself. Now, when I say jumpback, I mean placing my hands down, lifting up to almost lolasana (feet initially off the ground) and then dragging the feet through the arms, etc. How on earth to keep the feet off the ground at this stage??? Much more practice needed. Earlier this week, I had the distinct feeling that I had made a lot of progress and that this transition would be possible. Maybe I was placing a tiny bit less weight on the feet once I got them through the arms, and maybe I managed once or twice to transfer my weight forward just a mite sooner than normal..which led to the feeling of doing a modified jumpback, a la Kino's terrific video. The next day, reality struck (back) and I was again back to my normal lift, scoot and then run out of energy - needing to use my feet and legs a lot to get back to chautauranga.

I guess what interests me more than whether I can do these postures and transitions, is that feeling of being quite deep in a posture. That feeling has no apparent correspondence to the physical reality of the posture (or maybe I have no business comparing it to say, the picture of the asana in a book or what I see in a video or see someone else do at the shala). I don't think I am comparing myself too much, or, let's say, it is at least a good bit less than when I started. I am becoming more aware of my body, and aware of my misconceptions about my body (and the mismatch that often occurs between my thoughts and actions). I'd like to say that reality is winning over fantasy..but perhaps the best I can say is that it is gaining some ground.

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