Self Isolation Day 3. Today started exceedingly badly. My son was told he would be taken out of school a day early to mitigate the risk of the virus, and while he didn’t say how miserable he felt about the changes in his routine, he acted it out through tears, screams and anger. When our first ‘activity’ unravelled before we even started our morning walk, the negativity was channelled into an ambitious project of pulling up dead trees and sawing off their limbs to erect a wigwam, or lean-to. We (meaning I, who slaved away in the rain whilst my child sulked and critiqued my shortcomings on the architectural front) managed to get the basic frame in place and I’m actually quite chuffed to have managed a structure that sort of resembles a rudimentary house. Next, we tackled maths over granola making, and finally before lunch, got out all instruments, including my native Indian drum and had a good bang. By lunchtime, my Asberger’s ‘problem child’ had turned back into my Asberger’s Angel.
Today’s lesson came in two parts: listening to basic needs (of my son), and learning to change plans on the fly.
Last night I taught my first live stream class as a test. The class was centred around PJ Yoga Sutra 2.1:
kriyā + yoga
Discipline, self-study, and complete surrender is the yoga of action.
I made an effort today to carve out a time for myself, making sure to turn off mobile device for 3 hours and go outside (even in the rain) and to not get annoyed with my sometimes difficult companion. In other words, practicing patience. It was also in the form of sawing the branches off a dozen trees or so to give my son hope, that we really could build a small house together. And then there was the spirited asana practice. Payoff: The joy of movement with really good music is indescribable.
I took time to notice a few of the habit patterns and obstacles that get in the way of me feeling fully present. This morphed into an inner monologue about remembering who I really am, without the fears, anxieties and strong sense of duty that sometimes get in the way. I connected with an old pattern, the one where I allow myself the unbridled spirit of leaning in rather than helping myself to hang back. Taking time to observe and not act is discipline for me, it goes against the grain of my natural pattern, yet I am attracted to it all the same. This facet of life, moving/acting outward versus drawing in/nourishing inward is such a large theme in the practice of yoga, and one that feels a constant negotiation in my own life. I’m looking forward to taking my work of learning how to rest back a little bit further than is comfortable.
If nothing else, the morning was a reminder of the necessity of learning how to briskly let go of the reigns and to trust. It has been awhile since I have had the opportunity to sit alone with the question of faith; no one telling me what to believe, or how to cultivate devotion. Īśvara is a guiding and protecting force, and praṇidhāna means complete surrender by attaching to nothing more than that faith of belief. In other words, a part of purposeful yoga is in rekindling a relationship with God, whatever that looks like for you.
The action of yoga is in cultivating an effortful initiative, the purpose and goal to be present; to be in the state of yoga.
These days this Sutras seem to be a continual low hum. There are plenty of opportunities to ‘road test’ them all.
But for now, practice discipline. Hold back (on the hugs). Wash your hands. Don’t allow yourself to consume too much of anything…media, toilet paper! Observe habits, read yoga scripture or other inspiring books that help you to reflect on the nature of your self. Remember God. Look to the birds and other forces in nature to remember that we too, were once wild, and it is largely in the imbalance of our own domesticity that caused this calamity in the first place.
Each day provides a window to get up, and act for a little bit brighter, kinder, more connected world. Yes, it is effortful, and yes, it takes a great leap of faith. The reward is in waking another day, hearing the birds, in feeling just a little more human.