Day 11 – sushumna breath

This morning I am just not in the mood. It is the last morning I get with my niece and nephew before I go away for about five months, so they take priority this morning. I can’t help but feel a little bit sad when I know I won’t see my brothers and their families for a while. Their kids are between three and six and grow up so quickly, I miss huge chunks while I am away. In the shower, I cry a little bit but I am not sure why so I laugh at myself.

I spend a blissful morning watching the kids harass a family of frogs in the swimming pool, then harass me to bounce them on the trampoline. I slowly tear myself away to begin the long drive back to the city. I shuffle my iPhone between Krishna Das and Alanis Morisette and briefly consider stopping somewhere in the National Park to meditate, but decide it is way too hot so I just head to the organic markets and buy some cheese. This seems like a really random thing to do, but I love going to markets. I go to markets any chance I get in any place I go to, from the muddy and hot markets in Padang, Sumatra, to the shaded organic markets of Fox Studios, Sydney, where I empty my pockets on a bag of plums and a couple of pieces of cheese. It is really good cheese. I can never remember the name of it so I just say, “There is a cheese… It’s really soft and has holes…” Until they interrupt me with an unpronounceable name that may start with the letter A.

I arrive home hungry and decide it is pointless to meditate on an empty stomach unless I want to spend twenty minutes thinking about food, so I make some toast (organic spelt sourdough, of course) with the delicious creamy goat’s cheese and fresh herbs from my brother’s garden. (I think I am the only one in the family who skipped the green thumb- his lettuce is luscious and huge and green and I… can kill a cactus…) I sit and eat my food quietly while I brew a pot of Chai on the stove and still, I just don’t feel like meditating. I am worried this is becoming a bit of a chore so I read a page from Meditations from the Mat, knowing that it will have just the right message for me. Day 11 in this book has a section on Abhyasa, practice. It mentions that even when you don’t want to be doing it, if your practice takes a priority, then you always have a better chance of returning to the “middle road”, where everything flows and becomes that little bit easier. “Our practice is a shelter we build for our spiritual selves. The winds of life constantly wear away at this shelter, but if we stick to our tools, the shelter will hold.”

It is really windy today. Literally. I set up my cushion, burn some camphor resin and some meditation incense and decide to wear my feathered head piece. Hey, it’s just one of those days. I sit down and take a few deep breaths. Today, my pranayama practice is the spinal or Sushumna breath. As my exhales extend and slow down, I start to visualise a long stream of pure white light. It begins at the base of my pelvis and travels up my spine to my crown on the inhale and then slowly streams down my spine on the exhale. I visualise this thread of light weaving and sweeping its way around the spine, dancing and twirling as it ascends, then flowing down slowly like a waterfall. It doesn’t take long before I am feeling the beautiful calm of this practice. My mind wonders and I gently bring it back. It wonders again and again and for a moment I am asking myself if this is ever going to get easier. I am wondering if one day I am just going to sit down and something will click and my mind will stay totally focused and centred without needing to drag it back from the myriad tangents it loves to run away with. I gently pull it away from this thought and back to the stream of light. But that’s just it. It’s yoga practice, not yoga perfect. I am practicing. It is, after all, only day 11 and I need to be more forgiving. I’m sure Beethoven didn’t compose any symphonies on his 11th piano lesson.

I get up and notice that the wind has been beating the blinds back and forth really noisily and cars have been driving up and down the street. I haven’t noticed any of it. My foot is numb again but this time I didn’t even notice. I have a hair in my mouth, which would normally drive me crazy, but I didn’t notice it. I may have needed to bring my mind back from its wondering a few times, but there is no doubt that I have been sitting in deep meditation for twenty two minutes. Even with the wind beating at my shelter, it is stronger than I think.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Day 65- guided morning meditation, mung bean curry and oil pulling « 365 Days in Bliss

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