On the Tenuousness of Peace


The last two weeks or so, I’ve deliberately pursued other yoga practices besides the habitual Ashtanga. Despite my best intentions, the sheer familiarity of the Ashtanga sequence, coupled with the lack of supervision in solitary practice, has made it impossible for me to silence the increasingly tumultuous cacophony in my head. I’ve needed the receptive frame of mind required to follow an instruction— the precious two to three seconds of simply waiting for what the instructor has to say—to create any kind of mental space.

This has had a consequence. Every time I’ve deviated from Ashtanga, a curious insomnia haunts me at nights. No matter how exhausting Hatha, Jivamukti or Vinyasa sequences can be, they don’t drain (or perhaps channel) my excess energies with the same effectiveness as Ashtanga.

So I lie awake at night in that semi-lucid state of awareness that usually falls on me during Savasana, the one good thing being that although I’m not quite asleep, the voices in my head are relatively quiet. This is sleep in non-binary mode: rest occuring in varying degrees of repose, awareness shuttling back and forth between waking and dreaming and all the other states in between. As one can probably imagine, it’s not the most restful kind of sleep: I wake up wan, drained, enervated and pale.

So as much as I’ve begun enjoying practicing other forms of yoga, today (today at least) I’m returning to Ashtanga. Although the voices will likely come back full force during the practice, at least I can count on seven solid hours of peace later tonight with no shades of gray. We must choose which forms of peace we can attain. Today, I choose the most pedestrian kind.

G’night.

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