Sunday, February 1, 2009
In the past few weeks, I've managed to once again build my practice. I still don't go as often as I used to, but I am allowing my body to tell me when I need to go. The trick is to listen to it. With cold and dark January days and sleepless nights, sometimes it's all too easy to ignore the little voice that tells me what I need to do. It tells me that I will feel better, that I will sleep tonight, that I will feel rested. And when I do go, all of those things are true. My mind and body know what's best for me, yet I continue to resist.
Over the course of January, I have been experimenting with different things for my health. I am hoping to get some clarity on what it is that is creating this imbalance within me that creates a restless mind and unforgiving body. The nights when I go to yoga, the result is predictably positive - I feel gratitude for having gone, and I sleep unburdened.
Besides yoga, there are changes that need to be made. I mentioned not drinking alcohol. Interestingly, I have now successfully stopped drinking during the week. Beyond that, the overwhelming urge to drink has also subsided. And weekends, when I do allow myself to drink, I find I don't need as much. Nor do I always feel I have to drink. As I write these words, I find myself sounding like an alcoholic... Was I? Am I? I certainly wasn't hiding bottles of booze around the house, or drinking by myself, but I had developed an unhealthy habit of drinking most days. Usually under the guise of social interaction or as a coping mechanism for a bad day. Funny how it never really helped, yet I kept doing it.
The link with alcohol and insomnia is strong and irrefutable. The nights I drink, I don't sleep. It's as simple as that. I may fall asleep, but 3 hours later I will wake up parched and disoriented, and find that I am AWAKE. And I remain that way, drifting in and out of shallow restless sleep until my alarm goes off. Some days I question whether I ever felt rested. And the day becomes this insurmountable task to face, and I want to crawl back into bed and will it all away.
Coming from a place of fatigue, yoga is a saving grace. It demands so little of my resources, yet gives so much. I can spend an entire class in child's pose, and feel that I am being kind to myself. And lately, during savasana (corpse pose) I have been rewarded in a way that I never have before. Following a particularly restful class, I laid there with my eyes closed. Within my heavy lidded eyes the blackness retreated and a hazed orb of brilliant purple came before me, as I imagine a third eye might look. It danced and swelled before me, then retreated. From the sides, a new orb of warm azure blue came into focus and spread like an inkblot on paper. Suddenly, my body was bathed in warmth from head to toe. Tangible warmth where there was no cold before. I stared at the orb, accepting it, until it retreated and the blackness spread once again.
I don't know what I experienced, but I don't feel I have to understand. It's happened a few times now, and I welcome it wholeheartedly. Whatever is happening is good. And I am looking forward to this journey.