I have been in India for a week. In that time I have consumed 7 fresh coconuts, juice and flesh – eaten about 5 kilos of rice – sweated about 10 buckets of sweat – not sure how many chai’s have been drunk…don’t want to count those – and don’t want to think about how many distracting thoughts I’ve had while I am meant to be doing my practice.
Being Friday, in Ashtanga yoga, Friday is the traditional day to do the primary series in a Led class. A normal practice day is to do self practice otherwise known as Mysore practice – named after the traditional home of Ashtanga yoga in Mysore, India.
Personally I find a led class very different to always doing my ‘mysore’ self practice. The class is counted through every breath in sanskrit. This morning I realised that I wasn’t able to keep my focus on my inhale and exhale and so my practice was distracted by thoughts from the beginning of the first sun salutation right through until the end of savasana. In yoga this is sometimes called the ‘monkey mind’ as the mind just jumps around from one thought to the other and can be fairly tiring if you are just wanting to focus on your breath. I liken it to madness when your thoughts control you…
I was also moved to the very first row of the class so every time I was in downward facing dog my mind was totally distracted by the 70 people I could see behind me. It was a long long practice with so many distracting thoughts but the beauty of yoga is that it is always revealing to us what we need to keep working on. It doesn’t really matter how many years you have been practicing, how many courses you’ve done, how many fancy postures you think it’s important to achieve – the one basic point it comes back to is the breath and being able to keep your focus there. Back to the drawing board for me!
However, being Friday – tomorrow is rest day and that means that Friday night is the night to eat what you want without being concerned that a 3 course meal at 8pm will definitely make a difference to your practice in the morning. We’re off to eat and watch the sunset overlooking the beach.
I have spent the afternoon drinking more chai and going to the tailor’s to pick up my newly made clothes as well as discuss getting some mat bags made to bring back for students. But now the important decisions need to be made as to what is on the menu for me tonight.