Day 9 - Friendly Felines
If meditation was a GCSE then this morning I would have received my first ever Grade U (unclassified). I woke up feeling really positive, a little groggy and undeniably tired but ready to take on those pesky thought demons! I felt empowered, especially after yesterday's mini meltdown. From weakness to warrior goddess in determined mode. My body however, had other ideas. I was rudely interrupted by the groans of what sounded like an extremely disgruntled lion, but was in fact my tummy making rather unsightly digestive noises. My mediation practice was immediately thrown off balance by me sucking in my abs to make it stop. The angry lion came back another few times then kindly disappeared to let me "meditate" in peace, by which time the thoughts had moved in, protested and become permanent squatters in my brain. Dammit!!! I'll try again tomorrow, and no more fibrous foods! Infact I'm cutting out any carbs in this veggie diet!!! Coffee (or fake coffee, as unfortunately we all have a sneaky suspicion it is decaffeinated) will be my carb substitute!!
The practice which followed the meditation however was awesome. Exhilarating, challenging, strenuous and there were moments where I thought, I can't go on….but I did :) !!! Vidya, our teacher/mentor is just incredible. She talks throughout whilst doing all the moves with such tenacity and strength, her energy is inspiring. She is in her 50s and puts us all to shame!!! We were practicing Kundalini yoga today, also known as cardio and power yoga and mayn we sweat hard.I had no idea how much until I saw a drop fall off my forehead in uttanasana (forward bend, I'm trying to use the Sankskrit names to get them engrained in my head)!!
After class I felt so invigorated and energised. We have this homework to "master three poses we struggle with" by the end of the course. I tried out a few poses that I felt challenged me to my maximum and unbelievably I was actually in most of them already. I think the first and most imperative thing is to have the strength in your upper body and your core, then you need to get the placement for the preparation right for your body, then conquer it with your mind. I found myself in flying pigeon (even with my limited hip rotation) and various arm balances, I can already see the bruises forming on the backs of my arms. I felt so empowered and excited to work on and improve the postures, but mostly it feels great to see improvement and that I'm gaining strength (despite the yummy meals) and that spurs me on to become even better.
One thing that intrigues me about Vidya is she rarely if ever, gives any kind of compliment. Even if she can see you are working to your maximum, putting every ounce of passion into your practice and improving, she takes it in and lets it go. I think it's part of her way of training us. She doesn't want us to need or want affirmation and praise from her, she wants us to find the deeper meaning behind our practice, which is that we are doing this for us. Its our responsibility to put in maximum effort, to improve and to feel satisfaction from self-assessment. I think that is something I have suffered with a lot, the need to please, the desperation for praise and approval from others. Why is satisfaction with ourselves not enough? It should be! I feel like I have improved on this personal issue over the last few years, caring less about peoples' opinions about me and letting any negativity bounce right off. But it doesn't stop me pushing that little bit harder, trying to be that little bit better when I see she is about to walk past me. I should do it regardless of who is watching, I need to find that inner strength and apply it to my life in every way.
As you can probably tell, Im feeling good. Strong and determined. I think Im even ready to say something again in class, as our next topic is "Svadyaya" (self study). I have reflected on this over the last few days, as you can see above, and I finally feel I have something with some substance to contribute to the discussion. Not just to talk to prove that I'm participating, or cause I'm trying to get affirmation, but because I have something to say! I get the whole "only a fool speaks without thinking" saying now. haha
There is a great energy around tonight. The sun's been out to play and the beautiful aura of the Spanish countryside emanates from the horizon.
Also, its our first day off tomorrow!! The half way point, eeeeek! Finish line in sight. By day off, I mean mediation and physical practice as usual, but no studying and no homework!!! We finish late morning time and my dormies and I are going to the beach. The lovely Danish girl i share with is also a surf instructor, so she's going to teach us tomorrow!! I can't wait.
So goodnight for now, wish me luck with disposing of the grumpy lion for tomorrow's mediation!!!