Day 16 – Best Thing Today – Yoga Practice

I am satisfied with my body practice when I bend head down in the down-dog pose and the sweat tickles me sliding behind my ears up my chin. I love when I break the sweat during a workout. It heats me up and I feel more agile when I am warmed up. The heat from my body heats up the air around me as I move, and I can feel it in the space around me. The air comes in waves, some are warmed up by me, and some are still cool from the air cooling system. With each minute passing through each exercise my hips and knee joints are becoming more flexible as they warm up. I hold the down-dog pose and sense the blood streaming into my head, into my brain. I can almost hear it, the bloodstream, in my brain. I become less capable to hear the outside as my attention streamline directed into the inside. I feel my cheeks raising toward my forehead, and my breathing alters. I deepen the breath, and it becomes easier to hold the pose. My feet are on the mat on the other end and I am looking at my toe-nail polish admiring the chosen color.

I raise my face to move to plank, and test the strength of my wrists and elbows, lowering myself down to the mat using every muscle of my arms and back. My arms shake with effort. The next one is the eagle pose, a balancing pose. Somehow my right foot is able to hold me in place more easily than the left foot. When I am on my right foot I feel the ease with which I can hold this balance and it so enjoyable, I feel the strength of my body and total control of my pose. This makes me happy. I remember that our body is a living breathing shape of energy that is maleable and forming itself, constantly updating. So that each pose I hold is a breathing pose and is never static, always moving. I feel that my body is moving throughout the duration of this pose, balancing itself without my having to do it on the conscious level.

At some point I begin to experience myself as an eagle. I remember Carlos Castaneda’s book Journey to Ixlan, where he describes Don Juan b e i n g  a bird…. I totally and completely identify with that experience now. I am eagle, standing on one leg, watching, waiting, ready. So it is in life. When you are in control of your life, taking action is easy from the ready position. As in the eagle pose, the ready position is a balanced position. Being in balance is a prerequisite to a good eagle pose. Eagle is always in balance. Even standing on one foot.

Suddenly I realize how interesting it is to do physical poses looking in the mirror and how deceptive it is for the body experience. You see, when I practice in front of the mirror, I can see myself doing the aesthetically perfect pose (or at least I strive to, because by no stretch of my imagination and ego, I am perfect in yoga, hahaha), by doing the aesthetically perfect pose I mean that I strive to complete the series of movements inside my body to do the pose so that I practice the right musculature in the direction that’s required by the pose. Vince Lombardi said: practice does not make perfect, only perfect practice makes perfect. Each muscle has its own job to do in each pose, and I have to keep track of all of them each time. Having a mirror helps to experience in my body what looks correct in the mirror, and activate my muscle memory. Today I practiced in a different room and without the mirror, so I have to activate the muscles first to create the pose and then check if they sense the same as when I can see myself. That’s an extra job, but it helps to develop balance further. Now, I stand on one leg, my body horizontal in half-moon, the back leg parallel to the floor, and my arms are stretched forward toward the wall. I am shaking with effort and feel my foot grabbing the floor. Finally I lose balance. The floor underneath my mat is too soft.  When I am on the flat wooden floor I know I can keep better balance. Practice on soft floor is harder. Yet, it is all good. I praise myself for a good workout, and lay down.

As I lay down the perception changes completely. I descended to the bottom of the ocean. My inner perception takes over. Again I can’t hear the outside anymore, only the pulsing in my ears, tingling in my hands and buttocks, and warmth with a sense of tremendous comfort being in my body. Since childhood I was a very sickly child, and remember thinking throughout my youth, that I don’t feel comfortable in my body. In fact, up till my late thirties I wasn’t feeling good within my body. (Well, one reason, I was overweight and overworked, and another, I had no love partner), so now in addition to changes I made in my life style, I regularly exercise to feel the facility and flexibility of my body and power of my mind over it. What can be better?

I lay on my mat after the final inversion pose, and feel the warm pulsing in between my shoulders, my neck and my spine. I rest and feel good.

I offer this to you as an exercise in enjoyment of the sensation of pleasure for the day. What’s your pleasure today? Have you thought of the ease of doing this exercise with me over the last two weeks? Is this helpful to you? Let me know in your comment below.

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