I am experiencing something pretty interesting, and I thought I would write about it here a bit. In my past, I have had some very, deeply serious emotional/psychological issues that in point of fact were totally hamstringing my entire life. I knew I had serious problems, and have tried just about everything under the sun to treat myself. And my attempts have run teh gamut from drugs to Jesus, and everything inbetween. Those of you who read my material when I first started blogging here came into contact with just a bare modicum of my neurosis....and you saw it in the form of some seriously headstrong stubborness.
So as I have shared here, I began both drinking Ayahuasca, and practicing Zen....both a little over four years ago. I had tinkered with yoga before that, but around the time I was blogging here before is when I was starting to get serious about yoga. So anyway, I drank ayahuasca solo for quite some time. And then about a year ago I was able to get invovled with a formal medicine/healing circle where ayahuasca is the sacrament. I still have not been able to get properly involved with the Zen temple here in Denver yet. I have to finish my mathematics education to free up enough time to do that.
But the long story short is that after about twenty years of really hard searching to find healing for my troubles, Zen and aya have been the miracles I needed to finally begin to open the doors to the prison I lived in for so long. I am finally becoming free. And to write that I am "finally becoming free" brings me almost to the point of tears to even type it.
The last few months have seen a huge culmination of a hell of a lot of really, really hard Zen work. And drinking ayahuasca in a more formalized environment has been awesome.....truly awesome.
So the interesting thing I want to get to is the following: I didn't practice yoga very much for maybe a year or two. I don't really know what the internal was. But that time interval saw that big culmination of all that hard work. And now, asana is coming so much easier. It is really amazing. When I used to be pathologically headstrong/stubborn, I would work endlessly...for hours at a time on some asana. Then I would often time erupt in a spasm of self loathing and self hatred because I couldn't do whatever it was that I wanted to do.
I also got injuries. You guys remember those tendon injuries I got on both knees. I also gave myself some good solid nerve damage in the quadriceps of one of my legs while working on hanumanasana before I was ready for it. Another time I seriously buggered up a hamstring pushing myself waaaaaaaaay to hard into forward bends. And there were other more minor injuries. I must be really fortunate to not have any of those injuries anymore. I count my blessings every time I practice now.
So now I'm doing much better as I progress with my healing and continue my morning Zen work, and drink ayahuasca every chance that I can. And practicing yoga is the most amazing thing now. By no means do I feel I have achieved the goal and have 'made it' or anything. But when I practice now, I have a strong sense of there being a lot less 'blockage' when I practice asana. That is the only way I can explain it. Compared to a while ago, as I descend into a forward bend for example, my ability to breath into it, and sort of 'fall into the pose' comes so much more easily.
Before I would sit there and grunt and sweat, trying to force my body and spirit to do something, and then sometimes getting physically hurt, and almost always getting psychologicalyl hurt as I would condemn the very day I was born for not being able to do something after so many hours of practice. I practice a lot less to by the way, and stuff just comes so much easier. Here is one that I used to work on all the time, and I could get kind of deep into it, but it would just never come. This time around, I put my mind around to working on this asana and it came to me in just a couple of weeks. I couldn't even believe it.
There are others like this also. I don't know the name of the posture, but it is the one where you do side splits and then lean forward so that you whole belly and torso is laying flat on the ground. I have always wanted to do that, but have been pretty inflexible in the 'stuff' in the inside of my thighs. So I figured it would take a year or two to get all that stuff opened up, and I was happy with that.
The different thing that I did was to ditch my side splitting machine. I used to get into this damn machine and crank the thing as far as I possibly could. Then, I would there breathing like a freakin' telephone stalker and just wishing the next few minutes of my life would hurry up and get over with. Then, I would find that I was somehow not any more flexible than when I started. Months of doing that got me nowhere!
So instead, I just worked without the machine and let myself breath deeply like I do in Zen, and slowly 'fall into the posture'. It blew my mind when by the second day I got probably 75% into the posture.I honestly couldn't believe it. I was so excited and felt soooo good!
So I'm not here to blow my own horn or anything. But I just wanted to reflect on how vital good emotional/psychological health seems to this practice. I don't know if it is my imagination or not, but my inside just seems to have a lot less 'blockage'. And asana is coming so much faster now. If it stops coming faster, that is fine. I am happy practicing yoga and being fit, practicing Zen and drinking ayahuasca. If yoga makes me upset, then what is the point?
So that is my reflection on yoga and psychological health. Thanks to anyone who read this entire rant. I hope everyone is having as wonderful a 2011 as I am! Peace everybody!