- Scrying can be a useful tool for reflection and self-discovery. Whoever knows herself, knows and takes careful heed of her God, His Grace and Justice upon all beings.
- Scrying can lessen our dependence on note-taking and gadgets (and those gadgets’ chargers). We would just need to close our eyes to find the general direction to serve our purpose.
- Scrying also lessens the complications of socializing, especially if on member of such society is inconveniently dead or yet-to-be born.
- Between the living, scrying allows access to physical sensations. The scryer can take away some pain, and offer her own stock of wellness in its place. On the other hand, the same process is applicable with negative sensations. This leads us to the importance of grounding.
- We came from earth, we live on earth, we eat from earth, and in death we return there too. The same rules apply to illnesses and emotions. Grounding is the act of directing illness and imbalance back to earth. Grounding is also a process of taking from earth the restorative energy to recalibrate our inner balance.
- Both scyring and grounding begin and end with meditation, but you need to eat properly to meditate properly. Yalla think about that.
When my fat obstructed my hands from reaching behind my back, this new teacher sat behind me and guided my breath. When my mind chattered, he stood by my head and asked, "What are you thinking about?" - Not expecting an answer, but reminding me to leave the world and return to the mat. And when our breaths softened, he said, "I don't hear anything," to remind us of our Ujayyi breaths.
I've been practicing Yoga for a gajillion years, but it was only with this teacher I found the confidence to practice an unsupported headstand in a classroom: The one who didn't take himself or his practice personally. The one who facilitated our growth, instead of judging it.
A Kind of Hell
Nothing beats the fun and ease and concentration of practicing yoga together in a classroom.
That said, ideally, the practice should remain with us wherever we may be. The reason why I chose to stick with this Yogic path is for its convenience. I don't need weights, shoes, or too much room to practice. I can practice yoga even if there is no driver to take me to the gym/classroom. With a teacher around or none, with a sparring partner or none.
And there is no competition in Yoga, not with others, nor with yourself. There is no judgement, nobody's asana is better than another. There is only the practice: The body recites the sequence's mantra, the breath is the mind's anchor for stillness. Since there is no winning or losing in Yoga, there is no material reward, no compliments or criticism. You practice for the sake of the practice.
Which can be very hard on someone who was raised to compete. Which can be very hard when your society expects you to impress. Which can be ridiculous when your face and legs are flat on the mat and there is nothing but your breath as sole company, day in and day out.
This is a kind of hell, I tell myself on the 123rd breath into the practice. And that is when I usually quit. I usually blame the exhaustion or lack of focus for quitting early.
But I can't get away with those excuses anymore. Not after I've had so many teachers. Not while practicing on the best mat in the market. Not after half-a-dozen 10-Day Vipassana courses. Meditation and strength and flexibility are not my weaknesses.
Truth is, I can't bear the thoughts that come forth when I practice alone.
If we react to what arises through the practice with aggression, injuries or physical and mental exhaustion may result. If we try to avoid or run away from the difficult postures by breaking the rules and skipping poses or practice, we will fall into the opposite extreme: laziness or inertia. Finding the middle path is usually what we all learn in Ashtanga, discovering our mental, physical and psychological behavior and getting to a place of acceptance and loving kindness towards ourselves and the world around us.
From Ashtanga: Maintain Focus by Alexia Bauer
- The body we have today is nothing but the accumulation of our past thoughts, emotions and actions.
- Asana is the method that releases us from past conditioning, stored in the body, to arrive in the present moment.
From Ashtanga Yoga: Practice and Philosophy, by Gregor Maehle
- Practicing forcefully will only superimpose a new layer of subconscious imprints based on suffering and pain.
Few days ago, I did the entire Ashtanga Primary Series. The whole thing. With Vinyasas between the forward bending sequences, and continuous Ujjayi breathing. From Aleph until Khatam. Even did a long, unsupported headstand.
Then hell broke loose and my hemorrhoids went crazy.
In the Ashtanga book by Gregor Maehle, there is something about anger being stored in the hamstrings and grief in the chest. During that last practice, I had managed to disregard all the feelings that came forth through the asanas. (I don't know how. I still have to figure out the right combination of eucalyptus balm and sleep to regain that kind of unflinching and continuos focus.)
And the universe just couldn't let too much of a good thing going. Maintaining focus for that long and disregarding the emotional influx backfired on my ass, literally.
The good side of having an inflamed bottom is the sudden concentration on liquified high-fiber diet. I never thought it's possible, but easy pooping is not a myth, you hear?! It's possible with just enough papayas and apple vinegar! I may never get to do the Primary series ever again, but I CAN POOP!
I had a hard practice this morning. I knew everything I needed to do to keep at it. I just couldn't. By the end of the forward-bends, I couldn't pick myself up anymore. No asana is too easy once the thoughts set in and take over.
To make things worse, I took it hard on myself. I had to cuddle up with my master and succumb to defeat.
What should I do?
He patted my head. "Keep at it. Try again tomorrow. It'll get easier with time. Everything does."
So it does.
Yazan Made of Wonders
Booze of Wonder
There was this domestic action movie going on yesterday afternoon. First my cleaning mood got so jacked up that I couldn't stop scrubbing and sweeping (oddly enough, the mood didn't go as far as the dishes, dammit).
The cleaning demon possession got so bad that I wanted to scrub the rarely-used washroom. And I did. And I closed the door behind me. FORGETTING THAT THE DOOR HAS NO KNOB OR HANDLE WHATSOEVER AND I WAS STUCK IN THAT WASHROOM.
I said, “Heck, lemmie think about it while I scrub the washroom, the reason that got me into this jam”. BUT THEN LADY DISASTER COULDN'T HELP HERSELF! And she sent Topeng over, who commenced calling my phone (which was in the bedroom) and knocking on the front door AT THE SAME TIME.
I thought, "Okay, maybe that's my chance to be saved. I could yell from in the washroom. Or climb up the roof and Topeng can invite himself in and open the washroom door and be a hero for a change." EXCEPT THAT THE FRONT DOOR WAS LOCKED WITH THE KEY IN THE KEYHOLE AND THERE IS NO WAY THAT HE OR ANYBODY COULD HEAR ME, DAMSEL IN DISTRESS MY DAYS!
The other option was to wait for a few weeks until somebody figured out that something wrong was going on based on the stench my house was omitting. IF A CADAVER COULD STINK THAT FAR AND NOT BE CONFUSED AS REGULAR JAKARTA SMELL.
And there was the last option, which was to break the window nearest from the washrooms keyhole, where we got to open and close the washroom door without a door knob or handle. AN INFALLIBLE SYSTEM PROVEN TO HAVE WORKED FINE FOR YEARS!
It sunk in miserably. I had to break a window. There are a few ways to do that without an uninvited crew of rascals and their choice of accidentally wayward ball. First, there was the traditional Kung Fu way. A foolproof plan because it has been proven to work and didn't require many tools. The last time I did it, all I needed was an elbow, a trip to the ER, three stitches down my forearm and my brothers laughing at me for all eternity.
Then there was the untested procedure: The wimpy witch/housekeeper's method. It only works in rooms with plenty of brooms, and this method requires a sturdy set of core and arm muscles. And a broom desperate for a break.
I had to swing twice. THANK YOU, ENDLESS BOUTS OF PLANK POSITION. The sound of 5mm glass shattering ran cold down my spine, along with the humbling ecstasy of regaining one's freedom from such an idiotic situation.
My maintenance man only needed 10 seconds of my rambling to figure out the entire story, and an additional hour to fix the damage in the next morning AND INSTALL A DOOR HANDLE ON BOTH FREAKING SIDES OF THAT WASHROOM DOOR. Free of charge.