A (very) occasional blog about life: the bliss, the boredom, the breakthroughs…
Old Lessons & True Confessions
(Originally written a couple of years ago and never published)
I’m a lazy yogini… and for the last couple of weeks I’ve been particularly lazy. So when I decided to do an extended practice two days ago, because it was the weekend and I really had no excuses, I forced my body… just a little… to deepen into a pose, and that’s when it happened. I “pulled” a muscle in my back!
Cardinal Rule of Yoga: Do not ever force your body into a pose when you encounter muscular or emotional or mental resistance to the pose. Initiate each movement with the breath and allow the body to follow, taking as much time as you need.
So I’ve been gaining a deep and painful insight into the world of lumbar pain - I’m telling myself this is a good thing as it gives me a better understanding of what some of my clients have had to endure. I can now be truly compassionate and understanding when people tell me how debilitating lower back pain is. Pain makes you grumpy… and has anyone ever noticed how clumsy you become when your back isn’t working properly? I kept dropping things on the ground all the time over the 4-5 days of the most intense pain, and it was an exercise in patience and determination with gritted teeth and much cussing for me to pick up every one of those items. Made me think of one of those memes I’ve read somewhere that says something along the lines of “I’m real spiritual but I say F*&!” a lot!
Then a Naturopath friend gave me some amazing tablets which are made out of turmeric and ginger and willow bark which are natural anti-inflammatories and they really helped. And of course I got myself some Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy to ensure that my muscles don’t hang onto the patterns of tension and now, just over a week later, I’m feeling way better already.
My very first yoga class was in a church hall at the age of around 13. My mother was curious about yoga and asked me if I’d like to go with her. I don’t remember anything about the class specifically but I do remember that I felt good afterwards - relaxed and happy. I learned Transcendental Meditation at the age of 19, and from there I got into doing a bit of yoga to limber my body up and prepare it better for meditations, and that has always been my focus when it comes to yoga. I’m not particularly flexible or athletic when it comes to asana, but after many, many years of (lazy) practice I can now remain comfortably in a good seated posture for the duration of my meditations… and my Mountain pose (commonly known as downward dog) is pretty awesome.
So why do I call myself a lazy yogini? Because I still struggle every day to get on the mat and do my yoga… some days I just lie on my back in Savasana (corpse pose) and maybe roll my hips from side to side; and sometimes I just prostrate myself in child’s pose and stay there for 15 minutes, breathing… and feeling the tension in my back muscles gradually releasing… my spine, hips or ribs may make an occasional crack as I relax into the pose and I sigh with relief as my forehead sinks into the mat and I lose track of time. Sometimes I just sit cross-legged and do a simple pranayama (breathing exercise) and meditate for a short time.
What I have learned over the many years of erratic, lazy yoga practice is that even doing just a tiny bit of it each day will bring benefits. Just sitting on the mat and feeling into my body and asking what it needs right now is an act of self-care and devotion… and that’s ultimately what Yoga is all about.
Hari Aum Tat Sat
Swami Premalokananda Saraswati
(aka. Deb Williams)
Swami Premalokananda Saraswati