Monday, April 29, 2013

Spring Sadhana II

My second sadhana at YCT is coming to a close. One more morning, and then I will be returning to my daily solitary practise.

I enjoyed being with the same group of people over a progression of time. By observing others I got to appreciate I wasn't the only one struggling, everyone has their individual challenges.

One of my favourite sessions was when we reversed the order of a typical class, and started with savasana (corpse pose), working backwards. At the end, I took a few moments to be in tadasana and it was like a standing prayer.

Then there was the morning I thought I would have a coffee before class, and it turned out to be a restorative session. Total agitation!

I made a commitment to show up every day, and it resulted in a few additional cab rides, altered flight plans and some preternaturally early nights.  Interesting to observe how deliberate choice unfolds.

Last sadhana, I decided I wouldn't use a checkmark to note my attendance because it felt like a tick in a to do list, so I made different notations, like circles or squiggles or waves, to mark each passing day. This time around, during these last four days, I thought it would be fun to make a series of marks that over a sequence of time would make a larger pattern. So it was one day connecting to the next and the next that would make a bigger picture. Why not? The sum of our days.

Pranayama was an important part of this sadhana, and I would like to incorporate more breath work into my daily practise. The guidance I was given was to incorporate before a very active session, after a restorative session, or at a separate time; but never when you are overly tired or agitated. Even 10 minutes can make a difference. According to the Upanishads, "He who practises only for a period of a yāma (twenty-four minutes) every day conquers time." 

When I was on my recent holiday in the Grand Canyon, and stargazing in Sedona, I was totally awestruck by the scale of everything, and by how brief our lives seem when measured against the grand passage of time. All we have is our small life, sustained by each breath we take. All we really have is that breath, and when it leaves us, we cease to live. Breath is life.

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