Time of practice: 9:30pm
What I had eaten: 5 black coffees, 1 peppermint tea, oatabix banana almond milk and honey, lentil soup and gluten free toast with butter and marmite, sweet and sour chicken, red rice and spinach salad, whole box of chocolates, lemon yogurt (bloody hell Bridget Jones would be proud!)
Mood before: Ruminating mind, lethargic, but optimistic and happy (had my head in my phone on sm most of the day)
Mood after: Calm, proud of myself for doing it, settled, creative
Endo before: IBS really bad, bloated so much that I look pregnant (not surprising with all the food I eat), dizzy on and off, central cramps, and inflamed and very clicky hips
Endo after: feel really dizzy, craving water
Today for the first time I finally attempted a meditation longer than 5 mins, the recipe for this was that my phone had run out of battery, and I was actually craving meditation and yoga. I had spent the previous 2 hours scrawling on social media looking at yoga apps, yoga vids, social media accounts of yogis I aspired to be like, then I just got so tired of it. So I thought I would try a different approach to ‘practicing yoga’ (I know Wendy I am sorry I have been rubbish with my practice). So I ran a hot bath, loaded in the epsom salts and lavender oil, lit my peace candle and put on a chakra guided 20 min meditation. It was bliss.
Why the bath you ask? Well I am on my period, and I have a chronic illness called Endometriosis which can make me very bloated (endo-belly), IBS, chronic fatigue, severe dizziness, and extreme pain which makes me see stars at times, and I am a water baby, or wollowing ox as my mum used to call me when I was little (she couldn’t get me out of the bath as a kid). The warm water feels like a giant hug and helps me relax, especially when endo is in town.
After the bath, the sesame oil went on, and I was determined to take up some actual physical yoga practice, i had even made an actual decision on which yoga app i was going to download and which sequence I was going to start (FYI: It was the Cody app and the sequence was the one for people who sit in the car and at desks all day long aka me!). But I am pooped, the bath and endo has worn me out, 1 point for endo and 0 for me!
This yoga malarkey is really making me think. Now I am the sort of person who has to tick off every little thing on her to do list before I can embark on the one big fat and normally important job at the top of the list staring at me. And I am feeling like yoga is brining the same trait out in me. The more I read, watch, scroll etc, the more I feel like its making me exorsise, get them out, review them, write them out and then squish them and wave them good buy. But all these little demons or little mini gremlins from different areas in my life just dont seem to stop showing up, one after the other, after the other. its like I am creating a giant personal tick list, before I can actually get my bloody feet on my mat. Its driving me crazy! and all I want to do,,, is just get my feet on the mat. I find myself in the morning making breakfast doing made up asanas using the chair and kitchen table, I cant tell that my body wants this and is screaming out for it, but my asmita (ego in Sanskrit) is just too loud and is having an affair with my anxieties.
So what does all this yoga reading advise me to do? There is something called ‘Tapas’ which is in our core text on the yoga foundation course. It means:
‘…by which we can keep ourselves healthy and cleanse ourselves inwardly. Tapas is often described as penance, mortification and strict diet. But its meaning in the Yoga Sutra is the practice of asanas and pranayama, that is, the physical and breathing exercises of yoga. These exercises help get rid of blocks and impurities in our system…By practicing asanas and pranayama we are able to influence our whole system.’ (Heart of Yoga, p.13)
Well who would of thought it, dyslexic me was approaching the whole yoga thing back to front! Trying to sort out all my little gremlins/asmita one by one, ticked off in an orderly fashion before I got rooted on my mat and started practicing my asanas and pranayama. I need to be doing it the other way round. leave the gremlins to get healed, made pure, un blocked and cleansed via the asanas and pranayama, they are what is going to keep me physically and mentally healthy not a personal tick list. Feet on the mat first, then everything will fall into place. This has been a massive awakening and education this evening. Thank you Heart of Yoga book, thank you universe, thank you dyslexia.
(Image by Edgar Degas, titled Women in Bath)