Two Snakes, Two Dogs

Getting onto the floor to lie on my belly is difficult after ten years of anger towards yoga and a knee replacement. But I am not angry anymore and I want to bring yoga back into my life.

To be clear, though, even though I stopped doing Hatha Yoga because I was angry (and I was angry because I had practiced since the age of twelve and then still got sick with an autoimmune disease) I never gave up chanting and one form of meditation or another.

It’s time to roll out the mat again. My ten plus year old rage against the machine is over. But my poor body has been put through hell.

Tons and tons of medications, surgeries and an eating disorder have left me less than nimble.

A yoga teacher once said that what we gain in yoga we never lose. She said we may have to pull the benefits out of the closet and brush them off if we stop using them, but they never go away, not the core value of each pose anyway.

So I have committed to start a routine because that is what I miss the most about yoga. I miss getting up every morning and rolling out my mat which I call the Field of Kuru after the place where Arjuna stood, perplexed by the prospect of battle and then enlightened by his charioteer, Krishna. Every morning I stood in mountain pose to begin the series of poses and worked my through no matter what.

I’m ready to stand on the mat again, but not ready for battle. I don’t have to be so arduous for the Great Bright Light to shine; I just need to show up.

Satichananda said that it is better to read one book on yoga and really understand it than it is to read volumes and not absorb the message. I think the same goes for poses.

I get skittish when I think about doing every pose I used to do in one session, so skittish, in fact, that I won’t even begin, I won’t even try.

So I had a conversation with myself and agreed to do two cobra poses and two down-dog poses. One dog for getting to the floor and one dog to get off the floor to move on and two snakes in between to feel the charge in the core of my being. I am motivated by my muscle memory of how good it felt to stretch and how easy it was to hold poses after I got the hang of them. I am approaching the mat with a totally different attitude. Instead of feeling like I have to fight for or earn the light, I am just eager to be there in the stillness. I don’t have to claim victory of light over darkness; I only need to appreciate the divine light that is already shining, right in the middle of all the muck. I don’t want to accrue light for myself, because my self sort of dissolves as I enter into the light.

I have all the resolve I need today, but tomorrow is another day and there is no guarantee that I will do what I want or what I think I want right now.

What if I do not set a goal? What if instead I invite myself to remember this feeling that I have right now, this overwhelming love for that which I seek in all this seeking for enlightenment. What if I exercise my ability to trust that love is already present and trust that love will lead me to do whatever I need to do. What if I simply hold this good intention in my heart as I inhale and exhale and trust that even if I can’t control everything that happens, including whether or not my body is healthy enough to do an asana practice, I can still breathe and be aware of the moment in the moment, no matter what the moment looks like.

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