Learning the Ashtanga Primary Series, step by step is tough. I’m sure it’s tough for anybody starting, but what has always been intriguing to me are all the hidden challenges that arise. I honestly don’t know how other’s journeys have been and if they have encountered similar struggles? Like any new experience, there tends to be a level of loneliness and in my case this is very true. One of the reasons I believe this practice was suggested to me, was in part because of my expressive desire to evolve into areas concerning my self-identity. Yes, I began daily Yoga to help heal my body from years of taking harmful pain meds, as well as to get stronger, with the hopes of ‘evicting’ these diseases out of my body once and for all, but like so many times what I thought I was seeking soon began to look like just the tip of the iceberg; In my case as time progresses, this is really turning out to be one “Mutha’ of an iceberg.
This Mysore practice enticed me based upon what I believe to be a crucial ingredient in one’s life, and that is discipline. I feel so strongly that the greater one’s discipline is, the less struggles one has with many of life’s battles; Food, alcohol,money, relationships, parenting, exercise, drugs (prescribed & other), the list goes on and on. I’ve taken a moment and daydreamed on what my life would ‘look and feel’ like if I were a sound disciplined person. In a word, peaceful with a spunky tinge of happiness thrown in for good measure. I am tough on myself, no doubt about this, and at times too tough which I know is pointless. You see I was made ( I can say ‘made,’ for it began when I was a child, when I didn’t know I had a choice on whether I could allow them to ‘make me feel bad’ or not), to turn my head down and feel I was not ‘enough’. Imprinting is a bitch lemme tell ya, something that is so terribly hard in my experience thus far to shake or dismantle, which is what I am trying to do here. I have tried to teach my children about the dangers of “emotional lasagna”, that what we layer our inerds with over time, if done with much negativity, will render them a messy life. I am in essence trying to go through myself layer by layer and confront the myths and TRUTHS about who I am. All of THIS is occurring as I venture forward in my practice. Man oh man who would’ve thunk it? Not me, that’s for sure.
I am attracted to the idea and challenge of building on a discipline that is physically difficult, but one that provides beyond what I have ever experienced from anything else. This is a much more inexpensive way to receive therapy. Ultimately don’t we want to heal ourselves, for who knows us better? I no longer feel saddened when I hear the phrase ” We are born alone, live alone and die alone”. When I feel I have uncovered something new and promising about myself during these times, I feel nothing close to loneliness; It is only when I am feeling despondent and ‘away’ from myself, usually after struggling to get through a practice, that I walk back out into the cold with feelings of defeat. Thing with me tho, I always seem to rise back up again, thank goodness.
How, one may question, does all this emotional luggage find its way into the practice of Yoga? When I am having challenging days, which honestly is presently most of the time, I try without trying too hard ( the key ), to focus on faith…. in myself, BUT while doing so emotions tend to arise, which challenges this lovely and calm notion. Within this muck, the past sneaks in and feelings of unworthiness and guilt, just to name a few begin to debate this truth, that I am (we all are btw) worthy of peace and of living a life free of pain and illness. I suppose these little ‘fuckers’ ( appreciating I could find a more appropriate word, but honestly this one seems to fit the bill), don’t want to be challenged, but by doing so anyways, they begin to rise up. I feel this intensity when I am doing my morning practice,taunted sometimes, while the litres of perspiration pours down my face, and ‘how tiring and tough it is, how I don’t really have to do this, do I?
“Let it go, let it go, keep saying this until it is no longer an angry demand but a calm one”, THIS, my ‘sister self’ advises. So you can see for me, confrontation with “all that has always being”, versus that which is really “my truth” creates one intense Yoga practice. By challenging these old aspects of myself that became the ‘norm’ a long time ago and letting them go, leaves me spent some days…..like today.
Keeping it light, “happy happy” as my Yoga teacher says, which tends to irritates me, especially when I am being ruled by that which is more prominent ( and past ‘worthy’) on certain days; regardless, I try to keep the original intent of calm, as my main goal. As far as progression is concerned I know I have done so, for I am AWARE as to why I am feeling irritated. As long as I am needing to officially ‘put to bed’ all these ‘backdoor beasts’, then I know there is still much work to do. I have quite a large set of matching luggage yet to open. It is what it is. What matters more than anything else, is the acknowledgement that ‘they’ exist and the belief that I can, one by one, open them up and get rid of what no longer ‘fits’.
I use certain words a lot, like ‘foundation’ because I have this repeated visual of digging deep and shoveling up and out a tremendous amount of bullshit and untruths, and replacing them all with, I don’t know, something better, less foreign. My parents, Bless them btw, for I sooooo understand now the level of difficulty in parenting 2 children, let alone 6!, literally ‘transferred’ their fears and faults onto me and my other siblings, during times when our naiveté and trust were at their highest. I can honestly say 85% of the decisions I have made in my life were done from this ‘inner local of unworthiness’. I’m not talking about good decisions btw, only the ones that have hurt myself and those who I love.
Having said this, I do truly focus more upon the fact that I am doing something about it, then feeling bad about what was, even if this concerns the way I handled the fight this a.m with my son and daughter. It really hit me today as I was trying to remember new poses, that there is going to be much ‘shoveling going down’ for many days, weeks, possibly years. If I had my druthers, I’d prefer this existence than that of avoidance and the risk of living a life of regret, knowing I could have tried and chose not to~