Day 73

Style: Personal Sequence
Teacher: Self
Studio: Rama Lotus

And now for something completely different. Through a string of random coincidences I met Shawna, a friend of one of my instructors, Todd Lavictoire. She told me that she has a personal practice space at Rama Lotus on Wednesdays and she invited me to come join. She also happens to be a huge hip-hop fan and has her own customized playlist she likes to practice with. Waking up to a frigid morning in Montreal and brushing the snow off my car, I'm back on the highway once again, heading back to Ottawa. Arriving at Rama, I end up bumping into Todd, and the three of us make our way up to the Sky room.

In my last two teacher training weekends, Mark continued to emphasize the importance of a personal practice. At first it was a huge challenge to even unroll my mat outside of the group-class atmosphere. The reason it's so important is that, when it really comes down to it, the purpose of yoga is to embark on an internal journey, delving deep into your own consciousness and cultivating a comfort with that inner world. In a class setting, your attention is constantly bouncing from the inside to the outer-world, listening to the voice of your instructor as he explains the cues for the postures. Over the course of this challenge, I've been making a point of practicing at home more and more, following the choreography of various yoga DVDs. Now that I've been successful in that arena, there is another truth I've been completely avoiding. Practicing with a DVD, even though I'm alone with my mat, my attention is still focused outside myself as I follow the path the digital yogi sets out before me. My awareness is still drawn away. The thought of just unrolling my mat and facing a blank canvas, leading myself through a sequence I personally tailored is a leap I haven't wanted to make.

Today is my first step. Up in the Sky room, Shawna starts up the CD player and the three of us unroll our mats, entering into our own private domains for the next hour. Standing at the edge of my mat in Tadasana, my mind goes blank. I know that yoga poses exist, I know I've personally done quite a few myself, but right now I can't remember any of them for the life of me. Taking a deep breath, I start the only way I can - with some Sun salutations. Moving through the postures at my own pace, my own rhythm, I find myself slowly gaining an internal balance. Next I move into a Warrior sequence. After each set of postures I complete, I ask my body-consciousness what it would like to do next. Whatever position makes itself known to me, that's what I do. Over the weekend I remember Louise telling me that a lot of wisdom resides in the body, so I decide to simply trust that and let go. Sure enough, one pose leads to the next, and before I know it I'm free-styling my way through my own personal asana choreography.

It is also my first time practicing to Hip-Hop and R&B. I have never done Warrior II listening to On To The Next One or balanced in Dancer's pose to the sounds of Hard, but to tell you the truth, it worked. The sequence I designed on the spot was surprisingly cohesive and well-rounded. It felt right. Headstand, Camel, Bridge, Triangle, my body led the way and I willingly followed. Coming out of my last spinal twists to the haunting strings and piano keys of Dreamworld, I roll back into Savasana and drift away into the ethers.


Yogi Ojas said...

not only a great practice session... but a great rendition of a practice session. following you on your journey is and has been a real treat. thx for letting me be a part of it :-)

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