sitting on a grain of sand

Anuloma viloma tided me through this week, reminding me of patience with self and with circumstances. Though I have by no means “mastered” the breathing technique, I do feel myself (very) slowly getting more comfortable sitting in this state, and here are a few tactics or reminder that have helped me: 

  1. Do not rush. The urge to exhale or inhale deeply or forcefully in the first count is tempting – but gratifying that impulse only leads to greater discomfort later. I imagine myself a slow leak tyre… or a balloon in one of those kid-science experiments with a piece of scotch tape over it and a needle has just pricked me over that strip; let the air spill out evenly and slowly. Each moment is just as important as the other, each count of each breath is just as important as the other.
  2. Tuning into your breath. One way that has helped me concentrate and locate points of control is tuning into where the breath touches me – the right or left of a nostril, or the skin on the upper lip. The sensation of the breath passing through helps me both keep pace and keep focus.
  3. You are ‘only’ breathing. 

This week, I got really frustrated and impatient with myself. Why can I not go into binds?! Why must my old injuries keep resurfacing?! Why do I have this hole in my foot?! Why is my back so stiff?! Why is my body not listening to me?!?!?!? Is this yet another thing I will fall short?!?! (Sorry for aggravated tone and ‘?!?!??!’s) 

But then I return to the breath. I try to remember the head-space I am in during Anuloma Viloma, and try to keep steady. It is this breath that reminds you that you are only keeping pace with yourself.  The reminder to trust the process, or as a teacher once put it: “just keep plodding along; put in the work and let things take care of itself.”

To be impatient is to be in violation of Asteya and of Santosha. Instead, I hope to transform this impatience into just another step in walking with Swadhyaya. I think fear and anxiety come from one’s need for control, which in turn, stems from ego. Breath is what helps me to release my grip on ego and to open up my palms to receiving, giving, flowing, with prana and the universal consciousness that flows through us all.  

the-knees, sept-oct 2014 200hr 

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