Today was no different than usual. Woke up tired, glared at my alarm clock wondering how we got to 6am when not even a blink ago it was 1am. Rolled out my mat, got some water, and got started. Then I realized the ceiling in my new spot was WAY too low for samastiti, unless I were to do it in utkatasana EVERY time (hard ass yoga, anyone?). So I moved my mat, got re-situated, and got started again. I worked my way through Surya A, noticing some aches and general tiredness, but nothing unexpected after the squat workout I did yesterday. I got into Surya B, and this is where my samskara lies strongest in practice.
I took my time with the first one, breathing deliberately, and taking extra breaths as necessary. It felt good. So I did the same for my second, third, fourth, and fifth. That was it! They were over. The part I dread most about getting on the mat are those B salutations. But today, it felt good. Instead of rushing through them and getting frustrated, I slowed it right down and took the time to get to know the sequence better. Paying attention to my transition from chaturanga to updog (still not JP-pretty), reaching my legs back to get my hips moving, taking an extra breath in warrior if I need it.
We talk about samskaras as habitual ignorance. Repeating the same patterns, expecting different results. A lot of mine have come up through this challege, both in and out of practice, and it has been interesting to watch them evolve and slowly slip away. I struggle with the 6am start to my day – I am a night-owl by nature – but knowing I have to get up to meet this challenge every morning has made me more motivated than ever to start shutting down before the sun starts coming up. There are sticky points in my practice that I am learning to accept and get to know – I keep thinking “keep your friends close, your enemies closer.” Those postures that challenge me and get my negotiator chattering are the ones I have been spending more time with (full bridge, I’m looking at you). Even outside this challenge, we all carry samskaras – things we do because we’ve always done them, or things we do because it seems to be the easiest way. Like any addiction (because, it really is just a mild addiction to a mindless habit), the first step is to recognize it and to be conscious of it.
Administrivia – I will continue to post here, and will also be posting at Pranalife. If you want to follow the group, head over there to check it out.