Return to the mat

After two days off, I finally managed a practice this fine Saturday morning – which was an accomplishment since my wife and I were supposed to leave home for a engagement at 8:00 am. I got up without an alarm this morning at around 6:00 and started my practice 10 minutes later. It was a rough one. On Thursday night I did some lower body strength training and I was still pretty sore and tight. It was my first lower body workout in two weeks and my hamstrings took some time to wind out into the Padangusthanas and I felt some lower back pain in Kurmasana. Apart from that it was a good one. I was just happy to be back on the mat after a two day lay-off. The break was caused by the sheer pace of my schedule this past week – both at home and at work. My practices fell off the schedule for Thursday and Friday because I ran out of time each of those mornings. I prefer the prescribed early morning practice and if I practice on the odd evening, I wouldn’t get enough time to rest as I’d be back on the mat next morning.

On the work front I cleared a major issue on Friday that had been hampering a project that’s otherwise virtually complete. I left that particular client back in April and had wanted to move on to another opportunity. The only way I could buy myself out was to agree with the project executive that I would stick-handle my remaining projects to completion…rather than hand them off to others. Philosophically, I agree with this – constant handovers are a customer satisfaction nightmare. And besides, I don’t like to receive anyone elses projects and issues and I’d much rather see my own project through to the end. This is the last of those residual projects; I wrap this up and I can concentrate on my current engagement.

I do a pretty good job of managing the stress that comes with my job and I don’t really feel that I’m affected too much by the crises and issues of projects – Yoga has helped me in this by enhancing my sense of perspective. Nevertheless I was delighted that the issue was solved and felt the weight really lift off.

Coming back to Yoga, a couple of days ago I borrowed my brother’s copy of John Scott’s Ashtanga Yoga: The Definitive Step-by-Step Guide to Dynamic Yoga. I recommend it. I have used David Swenson’s manual and find this one on the whole neither better nor worse, but it is a fine book for a home practicing Ashtangi and it’s worth having both in your library as different perspectives add depth to one’s understanding. The asanas do receive a more thorough narrative and illustration in Scott’s book. His example is also a huge encouragement to me as he came to Yoga at about the same age as I did – 27 (rather than Swenson’s 13) and has progressed in such a short time to become a senior yogi. It shows what can be done if one is singleminded about making the mat a daily aspect of life.

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