Abhyasa is a new word to me. It means practice in Sanskrit I encountered this word in Rolf Gates’ Meditations from the Mat which I have been dipping in and out of since the beginning of the year. As I began looking for more on the term “abhyasa” it seems to be far more complex than just practice. I found explanations that included repeated practice, habit, and detachment.
Encountering this term caused me to consider why I am practicing yoga and how it relates to the other exercise I do. I’ve written a bit about why I practice already. Part of what I considered today was that I am more in tune with my body. I can sense and feel changes, subtle shifts in how my body aligns and how I feel. As I spread my toes and anchor my toe mounds and heels into the floor, I feel grounded. I am feeling other subtle shifts as I work with Kim and hear the familiar directions to move my thighs back, my tail bone down and rotate my arms out. Just like in swimming, it is often easier if I don’t think too much. There are already small improvements though. I can jump and twist a bit deeper than I could when I returned to yoga last fall.
I feel the work on my yoga mat in the pool as well. Alignment is coming easier. I asked Sam about rotating my arms and how that applied to swimming. We talked about how it would and would not help.
The work is interchangeable. I feel the work of alignment from the mat to the pool. I feel the way I extend my body and lengthen my spine on the mat and in the pool. I feel the strength I have gained in the weight room in both practices.
This also caused me to consider the tools and resources that I am gathering and drawing. It made me think about the priorities I set for the year and how things are progressing. I feel discouraged when things do not progress at a faster pace but then I realize that there is a right time for everything and that I am preparing for my next step.
I also came across this quote this morning:
“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” Francis of Assisi
I’m counting on that.