Sunday, 21 October 2012

Are you using your fingertips to their full potential?

Fingertips? I hear you say? Really? Yes! Who knew?!

I recently realised that I when in downward dog, in jumping forward and jumping back, bhujapidasana,   tittibhasana, I wasn't using my fingertips!! It's sounds like a really minor point here, but I have double jointed fingers, the tips at least...when I thought I had my hands planted firmly on the floor, roots of the index finger firmly planted on the mat, they actually weren't... my fingertips were off the floor!

When I actually realised that they weren't planted, I started to concentrate on pressing them down onto to mat...and what a revelation!!! Seriously! If your fingertips aren't engaged then your balance and grounding won't be there either. What seems such a minor point actually makes such a difference to your practice.

It's taken me 5 years to realise this, by the way. All the little things....

You can say the same thing about your toes in all the standing forward bends. Taking your weight into the toes, the roots of the big toe especially will allow a much deeper and controlled forward bend. It will take a few practices, maybe a few stumbles forward, but it makes all the difference. Especially in prasarita padottanasana C, it will enable you to take your hands to the floor!

I guess it all comes back down to Samasthitih. Equal grounding. Equinimity. Being aware that your foundations are the most important part of your practice. A house is only as stable as the foundations it is built upon, after all.

Observe this in your next practice, tell me if you see a difference, would love to hear your comments! <3

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Dropping back, Ego and the Importance of Drishti

Unless assisted by a teacher in dropping back in class, I never do it. I never drop back on my own. I've been thinking about this, about my reasons for not dropping back on my a class situation. I've come to the conclusion, which is embarrassing really, that the reason I do not drop back on my own in class is due to the fear of failing, of falling badly, head hitting the floor, but essentially, because I DON'T WANT TO LOOK STUPID.


I understand that the ego is important in some aspects of our lives - it drives us, but in others it holds us back, preventing us from realising our true selves and achieving true happiness. My ego has been preventing me from dropping back in class. Jesus, I can drop back. I've been dropping back for almost a year now, on my own, not in class, but at home, on my own, where no-one can see me make a fool out of myself if something goes wrong. (Wonder whether anyone has ever made a movie of that - when drop-backs go wrong!)?? Anyway, No-one can see me fall over, not that I've ever fallen over dropping back mind you, but the fear is there! But the reasoning is really stupid.

Wednesday's Mysore class was quite busy. D was busy assisting other classmates, when it came to my dropping back bit. I sat for a moment and thought about what I should do. I couldn't wait too long and didn't want to interrupt, I had a class of my own I had to go teach, so I thought, I have to do it, I have to show intention, no messing around, I just have to drop back on my own. In front of these people. So I got to it. I hung back for a bit. I was in front of the back door, there was a guy standing outside staring in, looking at me as I hung upside down. I just hung there and I thought it was hilarious, thinking about what he must've been thinking seeing my little red, swetty face, upside down, looking at him through the door!! he kept moving out of my vision and then back in, out then in! Hilarious.

My drishti wasn't there, my focus was on the man outside. I began to panic, then I thought 'NO!' I took my drishti to my nose and gently, with control dropped back. I'd done it. I didn't even make that much of a thump. I was THAT conscious of making a scene that I'd brought more control to the process. I was elated. I got up, I hung back and dropped again, again with the drishti on my nose, again another triumph. I got up, hung back and did my last one, just as controlled as the first. Result.

Focussing on what other people may think of you will hinder your practice. Practice alone. MAKE MISTAKES. Make mistakes in the comfort of your own sitting room / living room / bedroom or wherever you lay your mat at home. Be at one with your mistakes or shortcomings. You will grow from it. I dropped back 3 times yesterday in front of these people. Why did I even think like this? These people are my friends, they won't judge me, they will support me, they will be there when I fall.

But now I'm there again. COMING UP TO STAND. I won't come up to stand on my own in class. In fear of falling on my butt. I HAVE FALLEN ON MY BUTT. At home. Quite a few times. I now put one of my sofa cushions between my feet and hands just in case I fall so I don't hurt my coccyx (I broke it once, I don't want it to happen again, ouch!) I can come up to stand on my own, but the fear is still there and it's there too much to show in class. The ego is back. Damn it!!

I struggle with drishti. There, I've said it. I'm trying really hard though. Maybe drishti isn't 'a gazing point', 'looking place' or 'a direction of energy', maybe it's just there to help stop the ego from taking over?

Sunday, 7 October 2012

When I find my self hating something...

...I slow my breath down and bring myself right into the moment. Like hanging out the washing. I used to hate hanging out the washing. But I slowed the process of hanging it out right down, until I become like the Bionic woman, slow motion, I bring awareness to the moment, awareness to the breath and awareness to every movement I make, making sure that that one hanging washing out experience is the best hanging out washing experience I have ever experienced!! It then became one of the nicest experiences.

I also do the same with washing up. I used to rush it, hating washing every single piece of it and used to get angry about having to do it, but I slowed it down and now take pleasure in the whole process and the overall outcome of nice clean washed stuff. Try it, it works!