It’s a tricky business combining
meditation and asana practices in a life.
There’s the obvious problem of time
when you decide to do sitting meditation twice a day and you happen
to be so head-over-heels with kundalini yoga that you’re doing full
practices twice a day. Let’s leave that one alone and just be
grateful I’m on sabbatical.
The tricky business I’m thinking of
this morning is this:
When meditating, I become more and more
aware that I am not this chatty mind. I also–and this is today’s
niggly topic–am not this body.
We’ve all heard the car analogy. My
body is the car. I am the driver of the car. I take care of the car,
but I am not the car.
My meditation practice helps me
understand profoundly that I am not my body: not my solid thighs, not
my hormonal headaches, not my stressed eating, not my restlessness,
not my tight hips, not even my breathing or my relaxing.
I love this deep diving into who I am
and who I am not. I love remembering that I am not the car. It makes
me sane to remember this.
Then there is my physical yoga
practice. And with yoga on the mat, I can go either way.
I have been in classes in which I
become fully identified with my body and its inflexibility, its
self-consciousness, its lack of grace. Is it the type of yoga? The
teacher? My own state going into the class? I don’t know (though I
suspect the latter).
And I’ve been in classes in which my
radiance, the truth of me, just happens to be dancing with this bod
at the moment, in a room with a lot of other radiant beings, all of
us beautiful, transient beams of light. We could just as easily be birds as humans.
Here’s the thing. I have to watch
myself and be careful that my physical practice doesn’t draw me
into stronger identification with my body. I know it’s happening
when I don’t love the way I look or feel during practice. I start
to measure my inflexibility and be frustrated by it. I become a
jealous observer of the woman over there whose wheel looks like a
wheel instead of a broken crab. I might as well be in front of a bank
of mirrors in a monster gym on these days.
What it amounts to is that my practice
can be good for me or not depending on who I understand myself to be
The challenge for me, every day, is to
begin by remembering who I am underneath it all.
Do you feel that challenge, or is it
easier than all that for you?
Thanks to yoga for inviting us to look
deeply. Thanks to you for the conversation,