Notes on Practicing

On Friday, on the cusp between late afternoon and early evening, a friend, who has been under significant stress, came over to hang out for a while. I brought my friend up to the yoga studio, invited putting legs up the wall (vipariti karani), which invitation was accepted. To create more ease, I took a folded practice blanket and rolled about a third of the way and placed the rolled part under the neck, with the unrolled portion under the head, to support the cervical curve. Then I offered the placement of soft weight (in this case, buckwheat-filled, silk, travel meditation pillows) for grounding on the soles of the feet. With the placement of the first, came the involuntary sigh that sounds like a “yes.” I asked to be sure and added the second. With the assurance that I would return soon and staying in the pose was entirely voluntary, I then went to feed the cat and then rejoined my friend in the pose.

As the day was one of the really hot ones and even in the house it was 79F, we then just massaged our feet and practiced moving our toes before we moved from practice to sharing food. Having never been asked to move her big or little toes independently of the others, my friend discovered how delightful it can be to pour one’s focus into something so small and notice also what else in the mind-body is responding to the attempts.

When I am working on alignment of my body (into shapes or controlling movements), that is all my mind is doing. While I appreciate focus on alignment is not for everyone, the structure and focus are soothing for me. What about for you?


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