I've been getting on my mat nearly every day in the past week and a half while I've been away. Granted, because of my crazy work hours, these were super short sessions ranging from 1 downward dog, to a 15-minute short form incorporating some standing and some seated forward bends, to a 1-hr impromptu session... And I was feeling relatively good about my practice.
Y'know... the feeling of "at least I got on my mat!" And it also felt like I was keeping up some strength and flexibility and not totally losing that altogether.
So imagine my surprise yesterday morning when I got on my mat to finally get a "proper" practice of full Primary going.
I had lost pretty much ALL stamina and could only manage up to half-Primary (I cheated a bit after Navasana and went to Kurmasana and Supta Kurmasana, just to check that I could still bind it, which I could. Phew.)
Wow. Ashtanga is HARD.
That session back on the mat was a big struggle with my Ego. I had to stop myself at the point where I observed this part was tight or that part wasn't so open or how it didn't take much to get me panting... and the struggle was to just leave it at that and to stop myself from feeling dismayed or attached to where my practice had been to where it is now. I know I will get it back, that it is what it is. This week, I will work on getting back my Primary practice. Maybe then I'll see about getting Intermediate back next week.
Interestingly, while the past week was a great challenge and very fulfilling professionally... it's made me stop and wonder what a hit my health has taken.
The stress levels were so immense, that I actually went back to smoking again (Sorry Mum, I'm just being honest.) After quitting for about 4 years, I went back to picking up a cigarette again (I suppose every time I wanted a smoke, I should've just sat down in lotus position and started meditating or doing some Pranayama. But that would possibly have looked a little odd in the middle of a film set).
Old patterns are hard to let go of, I suppose. And I slipped back into it again. I'm glad to say that since I've been back from Barca and recuperating at home, I've not craved a single cigarette nor had one. So I know this reaction is completely work stress-related.
Food-wise, it is impossible to be vegan in Spain. Of the 15 items on the hotel menu (and don't forget we pretty much spent every waking hour there if we weren't on the location set), there was only 1 item I could eat: Nicoise Salad (And even then... with no tuna nor egg, please). So in order to try and have a healthier rotation of lunch and dinner, I'd also throw in a mozzarella & tomato sandwich (so I ate quite a bit of cheese). Or get the stir fried beef noodles with no beef. So on set, I'd just end up eating junk too - chips and cookies. Blech. I ate a lot of junk.
And I suppose this stamina-loss in my practice is probably smoking and bad diet-related too. Every single forward bend I had, my nose got all snotty... Purging all that ick from my system. Feels like it's time to go on another detox fast!
I just have to keep reminding myself that everything goes in cycles. I just have to work my way back to that part of the cycle where I so desperately want to be at now: being strong and fit, mentally and physically.
The one thing I'm looking forward to is being back in London again next week. We'll be editing there for a couple weeks, which means I can finally get back to a shala and be supported by the energy of a group practice. Kelly will also be there for a few days next week, YAY! He'll be there for another memorial for his dad, organized by the London office of where his dad used to work.
Like Hank, I could do with a cuddle now.