Chai and LCD Soundsystem

 

Ready for the drive back to work

Ready for the drive back to work!

I had two choices today: Skip the drive to the shala because I had to be at work earlier than normal on a Wedneday, or wake up even earlier than I normally do.

So, for the first time ever, I dragged my sleepy butt out of bed at 4:30 a.m. to make the hour-long drive to the shala. A few months ago, I couldn’t manage the 5:30 a.m. alarm without snoozing . . . and snoozing some more.

Even when we try not to, we mark milestones in our practice — the first time we almost reach a bind in marichyasana C or D, and the time we actually achieve it. The first time we could hang in a headstand without wobbling. The first time savasana took us somewhere else.

Today was one for me. I have struggled for so long and never thought I could turn myself into a morning person, but slowly — so very slowly — rhythms started taking over, just like they do in the practice itself.


On the two weekdays when I make the drive to the shala, it’s like I have three journeys before I even begin my work day. There’s the journey eastbound on Interstate 96 to practice, the journey on the mat itself, and the journey back westbound on the highway to be in my office chair more or less on time. Today, a warm cup of chai and the eccentric sounds of James Murphy helped the drive over seem shorter and more relaxed than normal, despite the slick roads. On the mat — well, suffice it to say that backbends are teaching me quite a bit about what’s stuck, and perhaps tucked, into my body.

On the journey back — that was interesting too. As I found comfort sipping my Ginger Dragon (ginger honey lemon tea), I passed one rough-looking accident after another. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many spinouts on highways when there wasn’t rain or snow. But the light drizzle of the morning made for some serious black ice and unaware drivers were thrown off off-ramps. In one case, an 18-wheeler was hibernating in a ditch as a little crumpled car faced the wrong direction on the highway shoulder. Once many years ago, I hit a patch of black ice driving on a Vermont highway in the dark of night. Had the guardrail not been there, I would not be here. So when I pass accidents, part of me migrates outside my car and I am with the drivers of the cars on the side of the road, wondering if they also experienced a slow-motion feeling — the kind when you can observe yourself thinking, “Hey, this might be it. I guess I have to be OK with that.”


Two weekends ago, I cleaned out another pocket of my belongings — perhaps the last of three little areas in my house where I’ve let stuff accumulate. In doing so, I found a manilla folder I had started in, I think, 2010. I had printouts of general info on traveling to Mysore and on how to register. Not sure why I wasted the paper to print this out, but I looked at this little outdated folder and recycled it all with some measure of finality. It was my little letting go of trying to hope for that journey, my promising myself to let the twists and turns of life take their course without me constantly pointing to a map with a suggested destination. Maybe it will happen. I know it’s still possible. (Anything must be possible, right, if I can get up at 4:30?) But I won’t wish for a particular destination, just like we’re not supposed to wish to finally get that bind.


It is indeed that time of year when ashtangis from all over the world board planes with Mysore as their final destination, and that means interesting new blogs or the rekindling of others.

But one ashtangi who isn’t making the trip this year finds that staying put is a journey in and of itself.


You wanted it real
But can you tell me what’s real?
There’s lights and sounds and stories
Music’s just a part

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4 thoughts on “Chai and LCD Soundsystem

  1. The thing about wanting the bind in Marichy C is… it’s no problem to have that thought. If the thought is there, so it is.

    The whole practicing without expectations thing is a hilarious paradox. Because if one tries to make herself drop an expectation, it doesn’t always work. Sometimes it is just that the desire gets repressed. So then it’s even harder to simply observe it!

    If the desire for an outcome does drop away, the funny thing is that it doesn’t happen from effort. It is one of the parts of practice that happens as a result of abject surrender. For some people, that is easy from day one. I’ve met a lot of yoga geniuses like that – people who just showed up and didn’t care about outcomes. For the rest of us, surrender might only show up at the end of a kind of honest struggle.

    Which is fine. I admire that sort of honesty too…

    • “Abject surrender” — yes. :-) And the thing about a kind of honest struggle is that one does need to be motivated to *try*. Putting forth your best effort versus striving is, of course, a fine line.

      For me in Mari C and D, wanting the bind was not about wanting the external pose so much as wanting the effects of the pose. I think I had some sense of the beneficial digestive effects even before I think I really understood what those are. While the journey taught me a lot, if the impact on the digestive system was what I wanted, I felt at them time like I needed to bind to get there.

      Excellent, excellent point about repressed desire making it even harder to observe. Hmm…

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