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Ardha Matsyendrāsana

I realize I’ve become a creature of habit in the way that I practice yoga. I like my neighborhood studio so much that I find going to another studio is almost painful for me. The Grant Street Studio where I practice is like a home away from home, really. I typically haul ass in my Chevy Impala to get there, driving 80 mph to, hopefully, beat early rush-hour traffic, park in the studio parking garage mere blocks from my house, stroll into the studio with only minutes to spare to change my clothes, tie back my hair, fill my water bottle and grab one of the few remaining spaces left in the room and roll out my mat. I’m such a creature of habit that before the start of each class that I take, I do a Ardha Matsyendrasana SEATED TWIST to the right first, inhaling for length and exhaling to twist. Repeat process till I can twist no more on the right side, then repeat process on the left side. In SEATED TWIST, my left lower back usually cracks and so if it doesn’t, I roll onto my back and do a Supta Matsyendrasana SUPINE SPINAL TWIST, guiding my knees first to the left and looking right, and then letting my knees fall right, looking left, to balance out my sides. These are the few moments I have to settle in and let go of the hecticness that is the end of my workday, before that five o’clock class starts and I get my ass handed to me in power Vinyasa flow.

 

This process, from start to finish, brings me so much joy. But can I be joyful when the process doesn’t unfold in the way that I am comfortable with? Can I find the joy in breaking patterns rather than the joy I have created in this pattern over the last few years? Can I find Drishti without the familiar, almost cross-eyed gaze of my reflection in the mirror? Can I find Ujjayi breath without feeling the energy from or hearing my neighbors’? Can I turn inward without the heated room and sweat that I have grown so accustomed to and even dependent on for focus?

In order to test myself tonight, to see if I can find joy in making a simple change, I decided to try a little something new. It may not sound like such a big deal, but, really, it is for me. My good, good friend Kimi Marin lives in Portland, OR. She’s been teaching a class called Prana Yoga Fit for the last few months and I have watched all of her online classes, but I have never actually practiced alongside her as she guides the online classes. So, tonight, in order to break some habits, I went for it, I practiced with her.

Practicing with Kimi gave me freedom to play around. I took a “basic” flow class with her and found a depth in poses that was honestly quite shocking to me. I had my legs stretched out long in CRESCENT, sitting forward, deeply into my hips, and my step broad in WARRIOR TWO. I could just barely see my cut-off torso reflected in my balcony window (and didn’t shift to get a better glimpse), in EXTENDED SIDE ANGLE—I could feel length in my side body in the pose that seemed to emanate from the depth of my lunge in WARRIOR TWO.

Aside from all this, I loved watching Kimi’s grace as she got into a pose. But what I enjoyed most about practicing with Kimi was the joy that I could see on her face when she spoke, the happiness I could hear in her voice when she talked about this practice she loves, the glimmer in her eyes as she related a lesson in her own words, the passion that I could hear behind what she was saying because I know this woman very well and I know how true her heart is.

So, will I continue to seek out joy in breaking habits rather than urging them along? I’m definitely intent on making my 6 p.m. class tomorrow at my neighborhood studio…old habits die hard…

http://earth2world.com/prana-yoga-fit-yoga-basics-102

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