Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Day 17 - "Yoga cannot make you fall down. Your mind makes you fall down."

"Mind is like the wind, all over the place," says Manu, our ayurveda and classical yoga teacher this morning.

I can't help feeling like he's talking directly to me. Then it is confirmed: "Yasmin, you have to focus. Go more slowly. More slowly. For one and a half hours here, you relax."

I'm trying, but I'm jumpy, anxious and thinking about 400 things all at once. Y)es, even though I'm a yoga teacher, I have days like this...) Today, my Vata (air, wind, space element), as they say in ayurveda, is through the roof and I can't pin point why, probably PMS stuff. It doesn't really matter. Right now, I am concentrating on my tree pose.

No problem with the eyes open, but the real practice then Manu says is to do the pose eyes closed. I last about five seconds balancing on my left leg and maybe three on the right. The second time, I can hold both sides a little longer, but I'm wiggling mercilessly. One woman complains that the posture is causing her to fall over. Manu quickly responds: "Yoga cannot make you fall down. Your mind makes you fall down."

He's right. I take a breath and try again. Then, I begin a conversation with myself, which goes a bit like this:

"Ok mind, settle down. We're closing our eyes. Focus on a picture. What picture? How about an elephant? It's stable and strong. What elephant? The frame cartoon elephant from the garage sale on Saturday. Why that one? I don't know. How about Craig's elephant tattoo?... Ok mind, now focus on Craig's tattoo... What angle? From the picture on his facebook? or..."

By this time, of course, I've fallen over. Now I'm frustrated, but thank God, Manu is ready to move on. We do a few more poses and Manu is teaching us the importance of bringing our awareness to specific chakras and organs as we practice.

The more attention you place on certain areas of the body, the more they will heal, he says. "Just like when you eat. The more slowly, you eat, with more attention, no books, no tv, the better food is for you and more taste it has."

Speaking of food, it's time for lunch. I'm starving and as much as I'd like to join my classmates for Indian, I need a wireless connection to send off some emails during the break.

I do feel a little better after the pranayama breathing exercises and the yoga, but then I loose my concentration and patience again over lunch doing exactly what I'm not supposed to do: using the computer while stuffing a veggie pate sandwich down my throat as fast as I can so I can finish designing a poster before 1pm.

I survive the rest of the afternoon painlessly. And upon returning home, I decide to bring my mat and Craig's camera to the mountain and practice my tree pose and sun salutations in nature.

It's a bit cold, but nice to be outside. I complete 36 more sun sals, take a few pictures for today's featured surya namaskar, the Tree Salute, and attempt a video with the self timer.

Surya Namaskar Recipe: Day 17 - The Tree Salute

(Cool, 17 official followers in 17 days! Thanks for the encouragement folks!)

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