Dissolution of the ego…

It seems like whenever I post something “good” or glorious about yoga practice, the universe somehow catches wind and…decides to throw a curve ball, as if to say, “Oh yeah? Well, see how you like this one!” Instead of the divine numinous feeling of bliss, I am stuck in the underworld of pain and obstacles after yoga.

I went to Mysore early in the morning as I had to go into work early. I had felt a bit exhausted…but got through Primary and worked up a good sweat. I carefully monitored the sense of tiredness and slowly worked my way into Second Series…finally into Kapotasana, I dropped back on bent knees and tried to keep my hips as perpendicular as I could while walking my hands as far I could towards my heels. Could not reach the heels, got only halfway up my feet. It is not as though Kapotasana hurts…but to bend backward and then try to catch your feet with your hands while the world is upside down just feels so intense! Finally I hoisted myself up to Kapotasana B and wearily jumped through, jumped back and got ready for my series of backbends and dropbacks.

I don’t know what it was about those dropbacks today. I felt that same old fear, compounded by the fact that I just completed a group of intense backbends in Second Series. I heard a little girl’s voice say, I don’t wanna do this, I’m tired! But I had to finish…pushed through three backbends, and then coming back up from the third backbend was iffy and not smooth at all. This affected me psychologically but then I got ready anyway for the drop-backs with the smidgen of doubt in my mind. The first one was so-so — I landed pretty hard on my hands, meaning perhaps that my body was stiffer today. There were days where my body was more pliable and landing on the hands was soft. Not today, and the second drop-back was the same — landing harder than I would like.

The third drop-back — well, let’s just say that the good thing was that I didn’t land on my head. But I landed on my left hand hard — particularly my left ring finger, and suddenly this radiating pain shot through my wrist. I could barely stand back up from dropping back…then, when Andrew assisted with the hang-backs, I careened wildly up from the last one, which surprised even him. I felt like dissolving, I was so embarrassed, almost humiliated. I thought of Jung’s alchemy of the psyche; there is the solutio phase where we are dissolved in our pain. In this case, my ego dissolved, and I dissolved into pain. I managed to finish (skipping cakrasana) by doing only 5 breaths for the inverted poses instead of the usual ten.

Then, afterwards, I felt sooooo exhausted, and lightheaded…I went shopping at Whole Foods (which is next door to our shala) for my lunch to take to work, and felt as though I could almost faint. It was as if I had just come out from the dentist’s office with a heavy dose of sedatives…or, as if I had just walked out of the delivery room, after giving birth and still high on morphine. There was no way to describe the sense of wanting to crumple into the floor and take a nap (well, except for those times when I landed on my head)…and no way to explain it! I had a good night’s sleep the night before. Could I be getting sick? Anyhow, I managed to grab my salad and coffee, and slowly drove to work. I managed to get through the day and felt this deep exhaustion in the marrow of my bones which never left me. Right now, it is not even eight-thirty at night, but I am ready for bed like it is midnight.

Who knows what the reasons are. Maybe my body just needs a little rest. Maybe after pushing for six days, my body is saying, “Enough!”

Well, I’m listening. It’s time to rest.

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