On balance (my no-asana sick yoga practice)

This has been an interesting week! I came down with the stomach flu last Tuesday and spent the week recovering from fever, stomach pains, and digestive issues. Ugh. Thankfully, my agni (fire of digestion/metabolism) is pretty much back to normal. Since my body was telling me to SLOW THE HELL DOWN, asana was not an option. But here’s how I did yoga anyway (without really knowing it):

I was out of balance

Boy was I.  My digestive system was definitely off balance, and so was my day to day life. Spent the first day in bed, angry at myself: “Why now?? Why did I get sick, when I’ve got x,y,z to do??” As if I had control over when or if I got sick. As if this was a terrible, terrible sickness (it was not — though it sure felt like it at the time). As if missing or postponing what I had to do was the end of the world. Hello asmita, my funny and contrary little ego! How much you’ve taught me by puffing up my own importance and bursting that bubble again and again.  But how is this yoga?

I was doing a balance pose! Like swaying in vrksasana (tree), wobbling in garudasana (eagle), or tumbling from ardha chandrasana B (half moon B),  I was off balance, and my mind and ego had some choice words to say about it.

I was meditating

Ok, this one I was aware of doing. I put on some guided meditation and did some reclined (OK, sweaty fetal position) meditation. Greeted my thoughts, tried to punch my ego to submission, fell asleep, woke up and took some Tylenol, tried meditating again with reduced fever/delirium, tried to punch my ego a little less, and phew, that’s enough for now.

Did I reach samadhi? No. Did I become aware of my thoughts and feelings about where I was? Absolutely.

I was building awareness

By watching It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, no less.  A show where the main characters are living unbalanced lives, with unchecked egos, while being blatantly unaware of all this.  How on earth is THAT yoga?

It helped me see my own ego. The over-the-top situations the gang get themselves into in the show often end up biting them in the ass, and hilariously so. It helped me realize how funny the ego is, the belief that you are separate and unique from everyone else. Seeing the humor in my own anger, misery, and self-centered thoughts, I was able to laugh and become more present, to be where I was.

All in all, it was a good week.  In our teacher training book club, we’re reading The Fire of Love by Aadil Palkhivala, and last week we discussed the chapter on Balance.  Aadil makes a great point about the appearance of balance vs true balance.  Though we’re often told there’s a right way to balance our lives — by eating right, exercising right, acting right, thinking right, feeling right, being right — the act of balancing isn’t static. In fact, sometimes it’s balancing to do something that may appear imbalanced to others. This week I lived that. I slept most of the day, didn’t eat much, watched tv, and didn’t leave the apartment. If I lived every week like that, I’d be in bad shape. But this week, it was just what I needed.

 

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