Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Buckling knees & prayer beads

Yesterday morning, my knee all but went completely out. Ashtanga practice and injury is not a new topic. I've been trying to adjust my practice all week to accommodate some warning twinges, but this was something else — I had to modify a lot of my practice (padmasana all but went out the window), in tears, nearly ready to change my airplane ticket home.  The day didn't get that much brighter. After practice, as I limped around, I heard of a friend's cancer diagnosis, the death of another friend's father, and another friend's trip to the hospital. Everything and everyone is, and very much felt, fragile, and my knee wasn't letting me forget it.
I remembered something I read in the book of interviews with advanced students of Sri Pattahbi Jois in the book Guruji. Pain is nothing but acute awareness, one of the interviewees opined. Awareness is better than ignorance, but I still went to sleep a little disconsolate, feeling exceedingly far from loved ones. I wondered if I'd even make it to practice. You really appreciate your practice — and miss it sorely — when you've traveled around the world for it.
Most days, before dawn, a sound of wailing can be heard from one of the local mosques, even though it's more than a mile away from where I'm staying. In other homes all over the city, Indian perform japa, the meditative repeat of mantra. Before yoga practice I chant the lotus sutra before walking down to the studio. All of these are different forms of prayers of transformation, and at least in the case of the latter, from suffering to happiness.
 So this morning, I'm up, I hear the wailing, and I say my own prayers for myself and my friends. I rubbed my knee and drank my tea, wondering what practice was going to be like, and walked gingerly to the shala.
Inside, I go very slowly, I pay attention to what I'm doing to my knee in every pose. I take my time bending ... and you know what? There's a little pain, but I actually can tell what I've been doing wrong. I actually enjoy my practice that much more. I realize how much is in it, even if I'm not doing intermediate series. How amazing to even do standing poses! All sort of new found appreciation bubbles up and I think, oh, this is part of the breakthrough, the transformation, I'm after here.

1 comment:

chief gabril said...

Frequent use of prayer beads, often referred to as the Buddhist rosary, prayer beads and the number of changes in different forms of Buddhism. Beads chain is known as Mala Tang, and the word literally means spicy wreaths or trapped.

islamic prayer beads