Confessions from the Mat

It has been a very long time since I last wrote, clearly as the previous entry was made last August.  What is not so clear—to you at least, as it is quite painfully clear to me—is that it has also been quite a long time since I last found myself on a practice mat.  Now it is true that Yoga is much more than just asanas, as I’ve mentioned before; however, it is very difficult to practise ahimsa or dhyana when ones entire body is screaming in pain.

I’ve realized, again, that I need Yoga in my life . . . every day.  Sound familiar?  Actually, I never doubted that I needed Yoga.  Why then, wasn’t I practising asanas?  Why wasn’t I focused on dharana and dhyana?  Time.  As I noted in March of 2005—yes, my practice and my focus have been a bit scattered for that long now—my work schedule changed from five 8 hour shifts to four 10 hour shifts.  At first I was quite happy with my new schedule but one year later, I had realized that I was no longer happy with this new schedule and my reasons for being unhappy with it were growing.

A number of things have happened recently to highlight that I simply must make Yoga, with all its limbs, part of my daily life.  I simply cannot survive without it.  Whether it’s the increased stress, the nearly unbearable pain or the depression lurking just out of sight, I simply do not have the tools to deal with these things without Yoga.

So, what has returned me to this Blog and, more importantly, to my mat?  Well, firstly the pressures on me have reached the point where something must give and every time I have reviewed the situation the answer has invariably been, If only I had time for Yoga!  Secondly, one of you who read Everyday Yoga wrote to me asking for insight into how I reconcile my religion with Yoga.  That message caused and still causes me a great deal of introspection but more of that tomorrow.

Now I begin again where I am, stiff, sore, rigid.  Unlike the other times I have tried to start my practice again, this time I take enjoyment in my rigid joints and stiff muscles.  I do not thinking longingly back upon practices long past when I would relax in sirsasana but rather I take pleasure in finding that space between, where muscles and tendons dance along the edge of pain but never quite fall into it; that place where even standing still takes my breath away.

When the time is right, I will ask for a return to five 8 hour shifts and I will again find peace on the sanctuary of my mat in my own home.  Until then, I will close my office door each day and seek peace for a moment or two as I can and I will be content.