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January 3, 2011: The Light Within

The cold impinges—this, in spite of having a warm suit, warm mukluks, warm mittens, warm headgear. As for the darkness, my thoughts have, as of late, had a dark edge to them. Both the lack of light and the excess of cold make one inflexible, both mentally and physically. I deal, in part, by going to a once a week yoga class. It’s hard to get motivated, but I do it because I know that after, I’ll feel better.

I went tonight. It was interesting to step outside of myself and watch the transition. At first I felt like a cold lump of lumber. But as the class progressed, l began feeling more flexible, and in fact felt more limber. My energy level started to go up during a series of down dogs. And by the class’s end, I could again

move more freely. I detest dropping things on the ground rather than bending to set them down. But this is what I do, sometimes rakes, shovels, buckets included.

It’s quite difficult during class to focus on the breathing. This does bring one into the present. I find I don’t want to be there. I’d rather be shuttling back and forth in time, forwards and backwards, with a brief stop in the present. My excuse for this, that I’m only in class to stretch some muscles, falls by the wayside as I repeatedly note that I’m more at peace when I’m in the present.

Here it comes. And there it goes. I am rather in awe of the instructors at Blue Mountains Yoga Studio—how these young twenty somethings are able to bend themselves into innumerable shapes, while at the same time keeping up a cheerful pitter patter in which they rave about how good we are all doing. Last night included a covey of young guys, who WERE doing good. I sometimes (like last night) can’t help but to think that this is a half of a half-truth. Before them are those, like me, who often struggle to do the simplest of postures. The other half of the half-truth is that I struggle less once I thaw out.

I was semi-thawed when we did backbends, using all kinds of props. I was by the time the instructor had me near upright, backed by innumerable pillows, blankets, and foam things. It then occurred to me that I was leaning against the equivalent of a yoga Barco Lounger. I thought , bring on the popcorn, soda pop, and video.

The ideal would be to both continue to go to class and maintain a home practice. Pete does this, stretching out almost every night. I have not been able to be that disciplined. Also, I find holding poses to be quite difficult. I move quickly, and in a sloppy haphazard fashion, from one to the next. And so instead, I look for a few more things to knock off my mental list. Then I collapse in bed and resume reading. Now that I have written this, I might very well give home practice a try.

This may be easier now that we’re on the flip side of winter. A head’s what I call two months of cold light time, the time in which the light returns, but cold remains. There’s light all right, but no heat in the sun. Come February, this will change. In the meantime, I need to focus on finding a correspondence between inner and outer light. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine. After looking for it, I now have a mantra.

Next: 28. 12/3/11: Reading