It is very cold out there, almost too cold for mid October, when the leaves on trees are starting to turn yellow and normally, it is possible to still feel the nice warmth of the sun. But NOT today, today was a shocker, 4.5 Degree Celcius!! C-O-L-D!
Luckily this morning I had the strength to get up at 6AM put my thick jumper on and climb up to the roof and started my practice. I looked like a sleepy bear, over dressed, a bit clumsy but mostly stiff from a night of sleep. I must admit I was happy to be there but it took me few sun salutations before I could reconnect with my body, let alone my mind.
I had this thought playing with my mind: "how can I keep my practice consistent in the winter? when the only thing I want to do is to snuggle in bed?"
I understood that I don't have a set mode "early morning practice" to click and simply move on with my life without caring.
I cannot just think "I will practice every morning at 6AM" and expect that it will simply happen.
As for many things in my life, I have to make a conscious decision every day. Every evening, every time I decided to go to bed too late, I know it will be harder to practice at 6AM. Every time I decide to eat too much, or drink, I know it will have an effect on my morning practice. It's a choice. A conscious choice that I will have to make every single night and every single day. I am responsible for that choice.
Hence feeling guilty is pretty useless, on the contrary when I think I have let myself down, I feel I can still do something before the day is over to wipe off that sense of guilt for having skipped my practice. Or I can always redetermine for the day after. My Indian teacher once told me that if I don't have time for asana it is enough to make time for myself. To sit, be quite, observe the nature or simply observe my breath. That is yoga too. That is practice too.
When I make time for Asana, there is a little magic that happens... I start my Surya Namaskara (sun salutation) in a state of total confusion, I am stiff and I want to walk away.
But the first thing I do is Urdhvasana (stretch my arms up) and this gives me hope, then I move into Uttanasana or Hastapadasana, (forward bending), I open and stretch my hamstrings and stretch my spine. When I step back into Eka Padasana (one leg back) I feel my hips and my front hip flexor waking up. When I step back into Dvipadasana (plank) I feel the strength running into my whole body, my arms and shoulder wake up as they have to support me, my abs get more firm.
When I lower down into Sashtanga the lower back is arched to counter balance the first forward bending, and it's a joy. Then I inhale and lift myself up into Bujanghasana (cobra) sucking the belly in, stretching my elbows pushing the shoulder back my whole upper body wakes up. Then Addho Mukka Svanasana (down dog) the full stretch of the legs, knees. The spine is lengthen the arms and shoulder are active alive and strong, the hands are pushing down and weight is distributed on the whole surface of the palm and fingers. When I get here I close my eyes and I think "Now I can relax". At this point I know I am okay.
My first Sun Salutation is slow, very slow, I want to feel my whole body, I-want-to-feel-my-whole-body and connect with it. Then I do 6 quicker rounds and then add the other postures, still in a slow mode, trying to bring my consciousness into every movement and every posture.
No guilt feeling, it's enough to act upon the guilt, make the choice, connect body and mind and breath.