15 Aug 2011

Black mood, mat, humor

I arrived in England still, shall we say, emotionally sensitive, only to wake up to the shootings in Norway.....deary deary me, then the news that a good friend has terminal cancer, followed by my last few days in the UK watching riots on T.V. Last day out in the UK fell off my bike while avoiding, successfully I may add, crashing into a lovely dog . Left me a bit scabby, bruised and bent out of shape. But no harm, apart from a super pain in the neck and shoulder...crash landings on concrete, just not good for you.

Back in Yamagata watched an NHK documentary about an independent team of scientists measuring the radiation in the villages surrounding the nuclear power plant. just after the quake. Some with unbelievably high levels. Farmers in tears, saying all they wanted was to live naturally, farming and leading a quite life. All taken away from them. They feel such anger but have no outlet for this. Oh I feel like marching on the anti-nuclear path. Seriously people, we don't need it. So bit of a black mood.

But my first practice back home after being very bent out of shape on planes trains and automobiles was very nice. Back on my big black mat, in my light and airy tatami room. Sweltering heat, 30degrees at 6am. No complaints. Garbha Pindasana is still out, and cannot even attempt shoulder stand right now. But everything else was good, strong and balanced. Ahh….content smile, to breath and just be…ahh..

Last night a gathering of friends. What a bunch. Not sure if it's all Japanese people or just the one's I know but talk about black humor. Amongst us was a family who are in the process of evacuating from a radioactive town, and a good friend of everyone's who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and given a year to live. Laughter is the key in hard times. Of course there was serious talk but punctuated with jokes in truly bad taste, yet to laugh together is precious.

Home practice away

Since being back in the UK I've been here, I've been there, meeting people I haven't seen since last year, or ten years, or even ever, new  people hurray!  Busy, not work busy but still busy.

Was at a friend's house the other day watching their chilled out cat.  Total relaxation was underway, very impressive.  Cats always impress, I've more than once wished I was made of furrier stuff.  Cats have one pointed focus and concentration, when needed, they have a beautiful balance of strength, flexibility and balance, and boy do they know how to relax. There is no past no future.  Cats learn from experience but don't dwell, regret or worry.  They just are, here, now.  Independent, one could perhaps say selfish, doing what they need to do when it suits them.  Not getting in the way too much and doling out affection when appropriate.  I love to watch cats.

So this trip I have tried to strike a balance, to see people but not run myself ragged.  Have been keeping up my practice albeit mainly in a very very small room with just enough space to lay a mat diagonally. I knock things and have to shuffle around, keeping it quiet.  This is my stealth practice.  Waking before anyone else, silently practicing, quietly as possible.   Have practiced in a few other homes while away from my own.  Even shared with a friend who was very resistant.  I never push, or ask, or even encourage until I get a sign.  I jokingly mentioned we could practice yoga before breakfast and she took me up on my offer.  Wonderful.  She got it straight away and vowed to continue.  Great to see her face smiley face beaming after yoga, even her hangover was cleared away.  For me it's the constant in my life.  To practice anywhere immediately makes me feel at home. It's become a cliche but practice truly brings me home.

Whilst in London I had intended to join a mysore class, so many experienced teachers, but when faced with early morning expensive train tickets, class fees and the prospect of being ejected into the street after practice to search for an overpriced breakfast.  Not to mention having to explain my body's quirks to a new teacher....  I have a lot to work on from my three days with Tarik, also I am still healing and tweaking so I opted for home practice, my Uncle's home, converted loft, sky lights, lots of space not to mention a lovely breakfast with company to follow. Perfect set up for a venture into the city.  
Been good. Yoga hasn't been the centre of my life while here in the UK but rather has been a strong undercurrent. Perfect, shall continue cat like.