I am rolling out my mat as the first sparkle of motivation is lighting up inside me. My daily practice is still not a habit. It comes first as a thought, then tapas helps me transform it into action.
Ahimsa. I feel a pleasant stretching sensation as I assume my posture. It relieves the stress I have accumulated in my body and releases a flow of fresh energy. I go deeper into the stretch and the pleasure turns into a slight pain. No pain, no gain. I need to withstand it—maybe even go a bit deeper to progress in my practice. But am I still my own friend or enemy? Whose voice is it that tells me I need to achieve something through pain? The voice of anger, punishment, guilt or competition?
For now, I don’t know the answer. I back off in my stretch and I hold to ahimsa as to a life line.
Satya. I am now safe. From here I can observe how it feels to go this much in this very posture. This is the moment when I can be honest with myself. I need no excuse and no illusion to justify the truth. Acknowledging where I am right now is necessary to allow change to happen.
Santosha. I inhale and cherish the flow of energy currents evoked by the posture. They seem to be expanding beyond the physical boundaries of my body. Contentment is timeless. I could stay in this moment forever.
Brachmacharya. I fine tune my effort to stay in the posture longer. I scan for unnecessarily engaged muscles and I release them. My body expands even further and I enjoy the posture afresh, with even more lightness, until my muscles are asking for a change.
Asteya. How do I transit to a next posture? I am scanning my memory to recall how my teachers did it. Should I also Google it right now to check what is the rightest way of doing it? All these thoughts stir too much distraction to my practice. I don’t take shortcuts. I don’t copy others. Past experiences and past achievements can only hold me back, devolve me.
Svadhyaya. So I arrive here and now again. I rotate my awareness around my body to conceive its internal landscape. In this space of mindfulness I can cultivate and develop my bodily intelligence. My next action will follow from the current state of my body.
Aparigraha. This time I will not proceed into a more advanced version of the posture. My intelligence and intuition guided me toward a deeply relaxing posture that will counterbalance the effects of the previous one. I don’t need to hoard unnecessary achievements. I choose what serves me in the current moment.
Isvara pranidhara. I let go completely the effort of achieving my posture and I open to a deeper relaxation. My breath calms down in response. It doesn’t matter if I touch the knee with my head— it may or may not happen today. There is no score card attached to my practice. I free myself from expecting the fruits of my efforts and this opens me to experience the unexpected. I surrender.
Saucha. I assume shavasana (corpse pose) as my awareness revolves around the various parts of my body that have experienced the practice the most. Maybe they are trying to tell me something or maybe they are only releasing a relaxing sigh. As this communication fades away, I can hear the inner silence and perceive the present moment with clarity. Whenever I am carried away by a thought, I came back to it.
This purity requires maintenance, special care. And once again, one more time, I come back to what is pure.
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Assistant Ed: Miciah Bennett/Ed: Bryonie Wise