2009 – the Year in Poses

I overstated the badness of 2009 yesterday. After all it was replete with opportunities for spiritual progress (or I’ve been reading too much Eckhart Tolle). As far as my physical practice is concerned, it was a year of extremes. I practiced 217 times last year. I know this because I have a log (more on that in some other time – it’s not as lame an idea as it sounds). That’s 10 fewer times than in 2008. But the quality of my practices made up for that.

Last summer, I hit a peak which I now sometimes think might represent the all time height of my physical practice in my life. I practiced 28 times in May. These were the days I tell you. I glided seamlessly from one pose to another, slipped my legs behind my head with nonchalant ease, lifted into the deep arching back-bends that girls do all the time, and casually clocked up 2.5 hour practices that went well into the second series.

Once after practice my teacher said to me ‘you probably don’t realize it Ash, but you’re on the verge of big changes’ (It was a bit cryptic and I have no idea if he was actually talking about my practice). These were the days when Doug Swenson, was sufficiently convinced by my practice to invite me to demo Ashtanga on the Toronto Yoga Conference main stage with him. These were the days when I picked up Mark Hyman’s ‘The UltraMind Solution’ and went caffeine, sugar, alcohol, gluten, dairy trans-sat fat free for six weeks. 10 lbs fell off me like a belt-less pair of 32s as I went to a 28 waist. I starting supplementing with Omega 3, B12, B6, D3, Folic Acid, Calcium, Magnesium, plus the usual multivitamin. People asked me what I was taking – it was that obvious that I was now operating in a new gear.

But it went pear shaped big-style come Fall. By September it was 12 practices and then in October a paltry 8. My wife broke her right knee-cap in September and I came face-to-face with understanding and letting go of my attachment to the physical practice. I had to yield. I had to step into bigger responsibilities than mastery of ‘Pigeon’. I think I’ve been pretty good at the 50/50 parent gig, but now I had to be 80 or 90 as my wife lost the ability to walk (never mind carry, bathe, rock an 8-month old around). And, being me, I added ‘small’ projects like finishing the basement (myself) and getting a Geothermal heating and cooling system put in. Something had to give and it was my physical practice.

But in a way it was good for my bigger practice to step off the mat and come to terms with the lopsidedness of my Yoga. Equanimity and acceptance, responsibility and non-attachment is what I picked up in Fall (either that or I’m reading too much Eckhart Tolle).

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