Yoga Trance: The Art of Unlocking.
Personal power. Itching to begin, buzzing, vibrating, shuddering pulsation of energy.
A short burst, a frightening temptation to leave the ground. The whole body becomes energy. Cannot sustain this and yet want to keep the momentum…
The body’s undoing.
The energetic flow of current is all that remains. Like an empty glass under a running tap. Crystal clear energy tumbling in and out all at the same time.
Cat-Cow to Child and back. Cat-Cow to Cobra and back. Undo the back, the shoulders, the arms and tummy. The breath. Feel the breath.
Perch on the toes and uncurl through softened forward bend to standing, feel lightheaded and strange. Two soft sun salutes, waiting at different points… Knee to the ground with aching neck on the left side, then a downward dog of wiry, hot tension, patiently waiting for softness.
Return to forward bend, feel the bowl of the pelvis, the movement of the hips inwards as the body folds, slowly bending the legs and enveloping into a ball with sit bones and feet on the floor, arms encircling the legs and head on the knees, curled, protecting and tense.
Breath is ragged and exhale is strong here. Feeling wounded. Recollecting all the times that I have ever wanted to curl up into this ball and hide. Begin to take care to hold the body, to touch it, caress it, look after it and feel its emotions. Slow. Breathe. Feel.
Slowly uncurl to my back, lowering my weight to the floor, feet planted. Understanding my connection with the floor. Learning my holding patterns. Letting them ease off.
Lifting into bridge by playing with the feet and pelvic connection, I will lift as a matter of course. Feeling the belly, the guts, as they move position. Noticing the heaviness, blockages, pain or discomfort.
Lowering to feel the safety of the floor again, take the weight off. Repeat twice more. Touching my warm thighs with cool hands, I slide them up to my knees, hold on and draw my body up.
Coming back to head on knees, feet on floor, curled up — do I feel different? Coming forward to all fours, I crawl — animal-like — towards my sheepskin by the wall to begin a half-headstand.
Surprised by the ease at which I can lift one leg and then the other to the wall, despite the aches in my neck, shoulders and back — there is relief as I fly upwards.
I rest my feet on the wall and feel the weight of my body upside down. I shift and adjust and comfort myself as I might do when standing for a long time in a queue. Breath is strong and sure.
Tentatively, feet leave the wall and as I thought, it is the wrong time to attempt to be self-supported (unsupported?…) in this pose. I allow each foot to softly bump to the floor in turn. Child’s pose, with forearms either side of my head. A breath in uncurls me to kneeling and I smile.
Moving on my knees and back to my mat I place my palms behind me with fingers facing towards my toes. I feel the twinge of my median nerve in my left arm all the way from my middle fingers up to my shoulder and remember I must make an allowance for this weak spot.
As I strengthen my arms and open and soften my breasts, ribcage, heart, I am able to lift my face upwards and drop my head behind until my pelvis wants to lift and I push down into the ground from my knees to my feet and feel my body open up as my hips are raised. Two breaths here is all that is needed.
I leave my head hanging back as I release my bottom back onto my feet and use the strength of my back, tummy and legs to bring my torso upright and fold straight into Child with arms by the feet this time, shoulders rounded, palms, faced up. Unsure of this transition.
I feel the need for Janu Sirsasana and am aware of the vulnerability of my sexual organs as I remove the flesh of my thighs and bottom out of the way. The floor is hard and cold even through my mat.
Folding forward takes time and breath. An effort to be slow, to relax to undo and release. After 10 breaths I have folded so that my lips touch my knee… I kiss it and smooth my hands from ankle all the way up the leg to my inner and outer thigh, one hand on each, to say thank you to my body. I repeat this on the other side, it feels even more difficult.
It’s so quiet this morning, I can hear the birds and the distant swish of the traffic on the wet roads.
I pull my sheepskin rug up behind me on top of my mat and lay back onto the warm, pale fluffiness for Savasana. I have to hug my shins to me and rock a little from left to right to make my sacrum click, then I carefully bring my legs to the floor and spread open my arms and hands.
I’m immediately aware of a big ache around my lower back, pelvis and low belly. I’m reminded of the cystitis that has been persistent over the past few days and feel that my insides might be hot and raw and in need of something.
I know that time and space for myself has been lacking recently and this is the outcome, I’m kind of pissed off about it and my body’s answer is to create a situation where I have no choice but to stay home and be quiet, warm and drink chamomile tea…the startling obviousness of this is comical.
As I begin to focus on the space between my eyebrows, the pain/ache disappears from my consciousness and I feel an opening of energy. I get these strange, shaking shudders on the out breath that I know I can make happen ( but don’t know quite how) and I enjoy their power and weirdness for a few breaths before I settle and my thoughts return to the baby.
Warm, sleeping baby in my arms, in my dream, as I watched a screen, the beginning of a film, a huge country house sweeping into view — Oh, a period drama, I said to the woman sat behind me who had told me I should watch this channel. I am now sure that the baby I was comforting and caring for and allowing to sleep was myself. Sense out of nonsense.
I enjoy the relaxation, the soft rug behind me, under my body. I consciously relax my whole body in turn from toes all the way up to my hips and I stop there as I am filled with warmth, tingling, aliveness.
I know I am unlocking something when I practice Yoga. I know it has cost me dearly having not practiced for almost a month. Flitting back on thoughts of family, feelings of treating them unfairly…heightened stress, misplaced anger, unusual difficulty in reaching orgasm in recent weeks. As if all the love coursing through me becomes locked in and begins to boil, a peculiar, twisted reverse alchemy where the end product is so unappealing — crossness, irritability, sadness.
I know I need my yoga practice. I know that life is better and easier in every way with it.
The question of how I will make space now for a daily practice, will linger with me and I will answer it soon, when I have percolated, mused and slept. I know I will.
I turn to my side then sit up in comfort, feeling more open, taller and easier. The rumble of the recycling lorry stops outside my window and I am able to Aum quietly without waking the girls. I bring my hands together and place my thumbs on my forehead, my heart and then palms to the floor — grounded. So ready to start afresh. Then I reach for my book and pen…
Jemima House is a yogini and writer who experiences regular bouts of unbearable lightness and needs to be upside down a lot. Walking the tightrope between angelically mellow and devilishly stubborn, she is a wandering star with a big heart. Also the owner of Positive Living UK, a unique network supporting and inspiring people in living their passion.