09 February, 2012

Deeply asleep yet fully awake. Say what?

Last Friday I did an hour and a half yoga nidra practice at the studio where I've been taking gentle yoga. First we did about 40 minutes of gentle yoga, then 45 minutes of yoga nidra, which is sort of guided meditation. It encourages you to deeply relax your body while remaining awake and yogically awake - it means being deeply asleep and awake at the same time. Which sounds contradictory and sort of wack, but I enjoyed the practice.

For the time we were listening to the yoga nidra instructions I felt NO PAIN anywhere in my body. To understand how amazing and unexpected that was, you have to know that every minute of the day, waking and sleeping, I am in some kind of low-grade discomfort. Back pain, knee pain,  tension in my shoulders and neck. Aching feet or painful joints in my hands, there is always some twinge shouting angrily, "HEY! Pay attention to this!" Immediately after the practice I was aware of how bad my right hand hurt and that my knees were sore, but for much of the meditation, I had no sense of pain in my body. Didn't expect that, or the sense of joy that I felt several times while I imagined floating over the ocean, looking at sunlight on the waves.

After we finished, the general discussion was that people had fallen asleep or felt sort of relaxed and groggy, but I felt alert and happy.

This was all very unexpected to me, because I ordinarily find it hard to let go of my monkey mind and just meditate. Once I tried to be hypnotized, complete and utter waste of time. I read once that it was hard for, let's say, LESS SMART people to be hypnotized, and I've wondered if I might be LESS SMART, because I absolutely could not listen to the hypnotist and let go. It was like there was Me listening, another Me saying, "Well, this is never going to work," and a third Me standing by observing all this going on, and wondering idly why I was bothering. I felt like a complete pratt during the whole thing.

It was a good weekend. We had dinner with several friends on Friday and Saturday, and Sunday I did a home visit for some people who are thrilled about getting a dog. Funnily enough, turns out the woman I did the home visit for is a friend of my neighbor. Small world!

I finished Alice Hoffman's The Dovekeepers this week. So good! Highly recommend it. It's the story of Masada, as told by five women living in the fort. Very different from most of Alice Hoffman's work (disclosure: I think she is The Bomb, love her books) that I have read. Historical fiction, based on a true story. Not magical realism, though there is magic of a sort.The last couple of her books I have read are filled with more pain and sadness than earlier works. I wonder if she has had something painful and sad happen to her that is making its way into the stories?

I'm working on some blocks for a small group from quilt guild that is making  quilts for the War of 1812 Quilt Trail. I feel like a complete dope because I cut a bunch (and I do mean a bunch) of the fabric into squares that are too small. I am salvaging some pieces that work, but it is taking me a lot of time. At least not all of it will be wasted. Maybe the person who is doing the final border can use my too-small blocks.

1 comment:

  1. I must remember to read Alice Hoffman. You've told me time and time again how much you like her and I just never get round to it. I'm adding her to my amazon list as we speak/write/blogger on...