After a few years of regular pranayama practices, I have learned to listen to my body and to be aware of how I feel every single day. Just like everything else in life, our practice changes everyday. Nothing is permanent, nothing is fix, nothing should be expected. A lack of sleep, change in diet, a disturbing dream from the night before, all will affect the practice in one way of another. On a good day the breath will flow freely, allowing for that feeling of lightness and suspension in the air, as if the body floats and everything else disappear in the background leaving you with your breath and only the breath. On the next day, it could be totally the opposite. The breathing is uncomfortable, the legs are cramping, the mind is breeding little monkeys, and the sound of the clock ticking annoys the h*ll out of you. But that is just how it is.
Everyday I learn from the process of doing, while trying my best to be consistent with it. To get up every morning and do the practice without doubt and hesitation, to fight the mind and its fickleness, to do, to ask question, and to understand. To develop trust and commitment, to appreciate a good day and to learn from a bad day.
On my good day, it usually means that I can do all my pranayama practices effortlessly. The inhale, retention and exhale flow nicely and comfortably without running out of breath. The air that fills the lungs feel fresh and cool, and the nostrils are equally open. I can sit for hours without getting cramps, the lower abdomen is secured tightly to support the seating, the spine is perfectly straight and the body is completely relaxed. Everything feels easy, light and comfortable, leaving a me with a very pleasant feeling that lasted the whole day.
On a not so good day, however, it is one of those time where I have to learn to really be present with every breath. To fight the mind and to stay seated while the body struggles and the mind keeps wanting me to stop the practice and go to savasana. It is the time to analyze why the body is behaving this way and why the mind is trying to fight for control. It is one of those days where you have to face your own demon, your own expectation and disappointment, of wanting to progress yet having to accept that today is just not your day. That today is a day to sit back and observe the thoughts, observe the body, observe your awareness. To accept and to let go as much as you want to embrace the practice. To become one with the practice regardless of the state of each day and to realize that there is nothing to expect, and there is nothing to be disappointed about.
I have learned to like my bad day as much as I love my good day. For me, the bad day brings so much emotions to the surface that it gives you that rare connection to the deepest valley of your heart, your dream, your desire. A demon is never really a demon, you see. They are just images from the subconscious that reminds you that you are your own greatest obstacles until the day you can embrace your self and let everything else go.
And as my teacher always say, “In yoga, there is no competition. The main goal is to grow. Results will take a long time, but it will come. Your practice though, is most important”. – OP Tiwari –
Koh Samui, Thailand – 27 July 2017