First day back on the mat. Just me in my bedroom here in Manila--a far cry from the unbeatable energy of the shala. I miss the wave that carries me through my practice, powered by others deeply focused on their own sadhana. I miss the inconspicuous watchfulness of Sharath and the blessings of the lineage, hundreds of hours of teaching, and of practice, of innumerable cycles of breathing with sound. Oh God! I really, really miss it.
Today's practice was like pushing an ox cart in a muddy field, heavy, leaden, no ox in sight. Just me attempting to barrel through standing and second series. My goal today after a 4-day break, in fairness I also had Lady's, was to just get through it. It was hard to sustain the energy on my own. It was hard to create momentum by one's lonesome.
Still, this is precisely why I know I must do it. This is the real test of my dedication to the practice. Not how well I perform when Sharath is there to see me, but how well I perform when there is no one else in the room but me. How much am I capable of when I am my sole witness.
In many ways, ashtanga is designed to be a solitary practice. You rely on your own wits, your understanding of the sequence, your drishti, your breath. The practice is a gift that we grow to own ourselves--and bringing it home is the real opportunity to own it. To make it ours. To integrate it into our lives--because we do have lives outside of Mysore...
So as I struggle these first days away from the yoga bubble, I am also trying to call upon its spirit--because that is something we can take with us. Mysore is also a state of mind, I remind myself. It's something that we learn along with the practice in the shala. And that, at least, takes no additional room in the luggage.