I’ve been feeling completely exhausted for the last couple of days. I guess maybe I hadn’t been sleeping well while my shoulder was hurting. (The pain has now reduced to a dull persistent ache, for which I’m very grateful.) Continuing on the basis of choosing my daily practice by really listening to what my body and mind need, I that I needed to inject some energy into both.
For Day 38’s practice, I started by browsing the videos on Ekhart Yoga and came across one called “Tiramisu”. I’ll admit that it was the name that initially drew me to it, as tiramisu is one of my absolute favourite desserts, but the description of a class that would “pick us up from sluggishness and laziness and make us bright and clear again” also appealed. Now there have been times throughout this project so far that I have wanted to give up during a practice, but I haven’t… until this one. It just didn’t click with me at all. The movements felt disjointed and I found myself getting more and more frustrated. I knew that I should be accepting that frustration and just working with it, but it got to a point where I felt that the adverse effects of the frustration and annoyance would outweigh any benefits. So, I stopped the video, refused to beat myself up about that, and moved on to another practice.
The replacement I chose was a Yoga With Adriene Shakti practice. In the Hindu tradition, “Shakti” is the word for divine, specifically female, energy. It is, apparently, the energy essential to living a healthy and vibrant life and is synonymous with empowerment, creativity and movement. I’m not sure about all that, although I will accept that there appear to be various different types of energy – that’s something that can be determined just by observing how the body feels in different situations – but which is not quite the same as seeing different energies as having distinct, maybe even divine, origins. That I can’t really get on board with, so I put all of that to one side and focused on just clearing out the sluggishness from my body and mind, which this practice did very nicely. The spinal flexes and side body stretches at the start felt amazing, as did opening up the hips with the hip circles and Lizard pose, while the flow aspects helped to shift some of the mental and physical cobwebs. I also loved that this practice incorporated Lion’s Breath, which is one of my favourite pranayama techniques. It feels childlike and a bit silly, but it really does provide a quick shot of energy.
On Day 39 I felt even more tired, to the point where I’d fallen asleep on the sofa for a couple of hours after lunch without even really realizing it. I needed a practice that involved minimal movement, but which would still perk me up a bit, so I chose an Ekhart Yoga Yin practice called “Connect to your Vital Energy”. I was intrigued as to how a Yin practice could really increase energy, but I certainly felt more energized afterwards. I liked Esther’s focus on just letting everything be, rather than resisting any thoughts or emotions that came up. That constant resistance to certain thoughts or feelings (or indeed to tiredness itself) can be exhausting, and just stopping that can free up that energy to be used elsewhere. One of the best aspects of Yin Yoga, or so I have found so far, is how it encourages slow, deep breathing and an intense focus on the breath. It’s easy to forget the connection between the breath and how we feel – it’s far more difficult to panic, for example, when the breath is slow and deep – and Yin encourages an awareness of that connection.
Without wanting to jinx things I’m feeling much more energetic today, and my body seems to be craving a more fast-moving, intense practice, so I’m going to try to fit one of those in before I head out for the day – the perfect way (hopefully!) to get my mind and body set up for a busy weekend.