Day THIRTY THREE
Greetings from blizzard stricken NYC! Well, at least this isn’t the second blizzard we are experiencing within a week unlike the cities of Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington DC. My office closed at 12noon but I decided to stay since the place was empty and I got tons of work done uninterrupted!
5:30 class with Kara. She looked sad and when I asked her about it, she confirmed that there was stuff going on in her life but didn’t go into great detail. She said that she was looking forward to teaching the back-to-back evening classes because once she gets herself teaching in the hot room, she manages to take a break from the reality around her. Isn’t it amazing how both teachers and students have that shared experience in the room of being present? What I love about Kara are the little nuggets of wisdom or encouragement she occasionally throws out during class. At the end of one exhalation in pranayama, she said, “keep exhaling…keep exhaling…push everything out that doesn’t serve you.” With what I’ve been working through emotionally these last few days, her words were just what I needed to hear.
If this is the mental part of the challenge, then today my mind really was out to test me. I was going along just fine in class, strong and solid. And today is the first time I ever managed not to drink any water during class!! I did gulp down water just after final breathing although I’m sure I didn’t need to do so.
I even managed to do all parts in the first set of awkward even though I couldn’t sit too far down in the second part. In second set, my knee was screaming in the second part and I kept with it. By third part, it was in such pain that I couldn’t even drop down and put my hands on the floor so I stood there with my arms up and tight. My standing forehead to knee was rock solid both sets (!!!!) and it totally made up for a tough awkward pose.
By the floor series, my mind started to crap out on me. I admittedly half a$$ed wind removing pose and started to half a$$ cobra but tried to fight it off. By half tortoise, my mind said, “QUIT QUIT QUIT. YOU ARE TIRED.” I really was about to give up and it took all my mental determination to force myself to stick with it. What was bizarre was that the desire to quit left as quickly as it came. When my mind wants to quit, I find that it helps a lot to have a mantra. I did this last night. On the inhale, I thought, “Just.” On the exhale, I thought, “Breathe.” Repeat. Sometimes, I simply count. Inhale, “One, one, one.” Exhale, “Two, two, two.” The latter technique is something that Ben taught us.
In final savasana, somehow I started imagining myself on a beach and on the shore was a boat. There were a lot of heavy boxes surrounding the boat, labeled “anger”, “resentment”, “rage”, “inflexibility”, “impatience”, “exasperation”, and “hostility”. I started to pick up these boxes and load them, one by one, on the boat. When I finished, I shoved the boat into the sea. And then I imagined myself like Father Wind. With every inhale, I sucked in the air and the boat came close back to shore. But every exhale was more powerful than the inhale and the boat got pushed further out than where it started. I kept doing that for several breaths until the boat slowly got smaller and smaller. It eventually became a dot on the horizon and with another breath, it disappeared. This meditation, which combined the mind, the emotions, and the body, was so powerful. I really felt like I was on that beach…wind and sunburnt after doing all that heavy work. I felt so light as I watched the boat disappear. Tonight, my knee felt so much better, so much happier.