Two weeks back (My last date with my yoga mat)…
I was determined and happy.
I had planned on perfecting the Royal Pigeon pose by the end of this year and so I was perfecting all other milder back-bends first. I finished my practice with Ustrasana, or the Camel pose.
It was a perfect back bend any yogi could think of – hands grabbing my ankles and gaze fixated at the star studded sky.
Post that night, I could not keep up with my practice for 14 days in a row.
I was guilt stricken and baffled.
Camel pose, I cannot do it anymore! I struggled to simply bend backwards. Even Chakrasana seemed out of reach. This doesn’t happen with yoga, or me. I have been practicing it since I was 8!
I tried simpler back bends, but I had trouble with those too. Few such failed attempts later, I discarded the physical practice and jumped straight to Pranayama.
2 minutes later…
I was doing alternate breathing when thoughts of my failed camel pose came boomeranging to me. I couldn’t help but breathe over them time and again.
I was angrier.
I began feeling that may be it was not a day for yoga. Before giving up entirely, I decided to follow one of the most advised and used theories about thoughts and breathing, “breathe it in, hold the thought, let it have its desired contemplation, then breathe it out.”
When rubber meets road…
Frankly, it is tough to follow initially. However, if you continue practicing, your breath gradually teaches your brain the rhythm and your mind starts dancing to it. That’s what happened with me too by the time I finished with my 20 minutes of breathing.
I felt lighter.
I stretched my back in a gentle fashion and got up. All of a sudden, it hit me, like a bullet in head. I sat back again and realized what mistakes I have been making.
#1 Let bygones be bygones
Secretly, I was beating myself up for not adhering to my practice. As a result, I was trying too hard to make up for the loss. What I needed to recall was that “mat time” is my unapologetic “me time” and that I have to let go. I have to forgive myself.
#2 Patience is your pursuit
What happens when you try to hold onto water?
But when you lie still, water itself brings you up to the surface. That was my second lesson – the importance of stillness. Holding your breath and allowing your thoughts to come and go, but leaving your mind untouched, that’s how you patiently wait for the right answers to hit you.
#3 Mind and body connection is a to-and-fro thing
We always talk about how yoga helps calm the mind and reduce stress. No one tells you how an upset mind can upset your perfect practice too. The back bends made me realize that today.
Why I had not been able to keep up with yoga was because things were changing around me quite unpredictably. There were days when I resisted this change and there were days when I would let the wind have the best of me. In all, I was bewildered. And closed.
This camel doesn’t entertain closed hearts!
Almost every yoga pose asks you to open up for new experiences, strengthen for hits, and balance the ups and down. But what I took to my mat today was a denial, a closed heart.
Uh..Uh…The camel was still angry. However, I was able to perfect rest of the poses like bow, wheel, reclining thunderbolt and even Dancer’s pose (I was fidgety though).
I ended the practice – late for work, happy for myself.
Hopefully, I’d be able to tame this camel by tomorrow.
With everything said, I’m not implying that with one camel pose all these mistakes are well taken care of, and that my life’s train would never be derailed again. What I’m saying is that the next time a similar incident happens with me, I’d be well aware of how to tackle it.
Now that I have documented it too, I won’t ever forget it. This brings us to the end of the article and leaves you with another important part of keeping zen in your life – Journalling! Do that!