Saturday, January 7, 2012

And what of my sadhana?

garden practice
It was on vacation like the rest of me this holiday season. New Year's Day was spent driving my sweetie back to the airport, a tad hungover, thinking about practicing but then opting for the rest of the pecan pie in the fridge instead. Practicing was always on the to-do list during the Christmas holiday but never seemed to become a priority. I felt guilty and "off" as a result. It certainly would've helped me manage the family visit and all of its associated tongue-biting. But look at the new garden space! This marks the sixth day back on the Ashtanga train, and the flexibility doesn't seem to have suffered much from this neglect. 

I hope I can just blame this on the Holidays, but it does get at one of my fears: that my practice consistency unravels when I'm away from the shala for extended periods of time. Related to this, I've noticed a certain…stubbornness on my part in giving up things which impact my practice, even when I am being consistent. Don't get me wrong, over the past couple of years, I've watched my schedule become rearranged to accommodate the yoga. My eating schedule and food choices are based around fueling the practice, and friends know which nights not to ask me to hang out. Other things I hold onto- staying up late, drinking (not overboard, but it still has an effect), and taxing my body in other ways which inhibit the practice (hiking, biking). Sometimes I rationalize and tell myself that I have too much work to do- no time for practice. I want it all: SuptaK, the ability to enjoy glasses of wine on the porch, fluid backbends, professional success with nights of peaceful sleep, backpacking in the mountains- tight hamstrings and hips, be damned.

David Robson recently wrote about how his sadhana, or discipline in pursuit of a goal, is "taking over [his] life." That the maintenance of a daily practice requires making choices which limit our own freedom. And this from David Garrigues, a beautiful essay in which he describes choosing between "the surfing dream" and "the yoga dream," eventually discovering that "IF YOU WANT BOTH, YOU'LL HAVE NEITHER." It is up to us to decide between the things that should stay and the things that should go, but we can't have it all. 

Initially, I thought about making some sort of New Year's Resolution Intention post, but then the ideas that I had became more and more simplified. I would like to see what happens when I practice six days per week consistently. The necessary schedule-work-play-food-beverage choices should begin to make themselves known. 

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