If you think about it philosophically, each moment presents us with a possible “never-been-here-before” view. This, of course, is the basis of meditation.
However, in our human condition, we don’t often have the experience of life being new, fresh. And, when we do have that experience, just because it is unusual, it can be disconcerting.
This morning as I entered the Yoga Shed to practice, I realised I had no idea what to do. Last Thursday, after having put myself in a small box with nothing but physio exercises to do for 6 weeks, my surgeon gave me the all-clear: throw away the compression stockings, sleep on either side instead of on your back, cycle, swim…and do yoga.
It’s fascinating to me that in less than 45 days I’d managed to create new neuronal pathways that encouraged some behaviours and completed inhibited others. While I was terribly uncomfortable sleeping on my back for weeks, I felt safer that way. So now I had to will myself to change this pattern over a several nights.
I had stuck firmly to the advice of the surgeon to not flex my hips more than 90 degrees, all the while experiencing something like uttanasana-envy watching anyone bend over with aplomb. Even now, months after the ban has been lifted, forward stretching poses seem somewhat inimical to my formerly bendy body.
So what did I do on this morning? Pranayama to start, an auspicious addition to my practice since the hip surgery, and a practice with no need to rely on barres or walls.
Then, I got down to floor work. Such an easy thing to say, but I hadn’t been Down There for 7 weeks and my trajectory from vertical to horizontal was anything but seamless. I re-discovered some great old friends: supta padangusthasana 1 & 2, setu bandhasana (vinyasa variation), salabhasana….
The best thing about this morning is that I’ve never done a practice like the one I did. I had to be inventive, watchful and completely present. I have a strong feeling that tomorrow I will have never been there before too.