A Slow Practice

by Claire Berghorst

This morning I woke up with a piece of sandpaper lodged in the back of my throat. It had been threatening to settle for a few days, but I was sticking my head in the sand hoping it would go away. It didn’t.

What’s an Ashtangi to do when you feel like rubbish? Well I do believe that part and parcel of this practice is showing up each and every day irrespective of how your feel and therefore what your practice looks like. So I rolled out my mat and like a good Ashtangi started practising. I considered sticking to Primary series, but then decided it was Monday and therefore I would stick to the rules (yes, really…) and go straight to Third…. Hmmm, maybe not the best idea I hear you say? Nope.

It was slow and steady and my breath was there, but halfway through I had to make the hardest decision of the day. To stop. Ahimsa – to not injure myself, to be kind to my body and listen to my needs – a slow practice. Ouch – but why is that so very hard? So much harder than getting onto my mat in the first place!

But I did show up, and that’s what counts. I lay on my back and took an extra long Viparita Karani, followed by an extra Savasana. Some days that’s all we need. Showing up doesn’t just mean asana. It’s about intention. About just being present, and following your breath.

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