My asana practice has felt a bit stagnant lately. I feel like I've been stuck on a plateau with no clue how to get to the next level. I do a daily practice at home, but almost begrudgingly because I know that if I don't there will be unfortunate consequences.
Dealing with anxiety flare ups is among those consequences. Daily asana practice keeps me not only feeling better physically, but it keeps me mentally and emotionally balanced as well. I am less reactive, more patient and more in control of my responses in general.
These past few weeks have been a bit mad...our "dependable" vehicle bit the dust, I started 300hr Yoga teacher training (which involves me driving to 2 hours to St. Louis few times a month), I started recording a new podcast with my sister-in-law (@hathasisters if you want to check that out), and I've been focusing on transitioning our household to Spring (which means lots of cleaning, organizing, and gardening).
How is it that with so much going on I have not had one anxiety attack? I didn't even freak out when my car was smoking on the side of the road leaving me stranded off of I-70. I also didn't allow worry about how I would get to my Yoga classes in St. Louis. In the recent past, that would have been the first thing on my mind. It's pretty liberating living in the present moment. Especially when shit hits the fan. At least if you are paying attention you have a chance at dodging the poo.
We can't stop shit from hitting the fan, but we can work on how we respond when it happens. Mastering asanas is possibly the best way of going about this. Even a fairly straightforward posture like Downward Facing Dog can reveal so much about how we handle conflict. I used to get SO ANGRY in that pose, now I could stay in it for 15 minutes, no problem.
There are a lot of postures I can do now with no trouble that used to be really hard for me, but that doesn't mean I should stop reaching for new levels of body and breath control. I have been doing more pranayama and applying bandhas to improve my focus and concentration. I have also been working on strengthening my core in back bends and working on difficult inversions, like Scorpion.
This image of me doing scorpion makes me cringe a little. All I can see are my weaknesses and where I need to improve. It's hard for me to appreciate where I am because I have been stuck here for so long! This is what a plateau feels like, you think to yourself “there's no way I could go any further” and yet in this case I know in my gut that it's not true!
I realize that to some people this already looks impressive. I am definitely proud of the changes Yoga has brought about in my body. I NEVER would have guessed I'd be doing poses like this when I was in my early 20s. Now I'm 30 and I feel like my body is just getting better with age (and the wisdom that comes with it).
Of course, I have to work at it. I get on the mat daily, but I am finding that I need to spend a bit more time there in order to really find what I'm searching for. I want a new perspective on things. I want to be able to look at my problems and then flip them and turn them in my mind easily, without attachment, fear and worry.
I want to promote ease in my mind and body. This means searching for dis-ease and liberating myself from it gradually. That is what asana allows, a gradual, steady change, that not only affects your body, but your mind as well.