Let it be known that 2014 was the year that I made bhuja pindasana my bitch.
Do I land it every time? No. But something clicked and the thing that was so effortful and difficult suddenly became a thing of ease and joy. I have no idea why and I suppose the why of it hardly matters. One of the key components of śraddhā (loosely translated as faith) is smrti (loosely translated as memory). When one has the experience of the challenging thing becoming an easeful thing, it is not forgotten. The memory of that experience can be drawn upon at the next challenge. We create these experiences in our asana practice, which is a small thing, so we can remember them in the rest of our life, which is a big thing.
So, what's up for 2015? I think I will let go of any asana goals this year. Instead, I am resolving to take up running again. There was a time when I ran long distance - marathons even. It was not a happy time or a healthy time, even as I could run 10-12 miles/day, seven days/week. In fact, as I look back, it might have been the most unhappy time of my life. Running that crazy amount was my attempt to wrestle some control over all the things that felt so unhappy. Instead, I ended up being addicted to exercise and having eating disorder issues. Fortunately (and it was fortunate), I got injured to the point where I could not run through the pain (and believe me, I tried!). I had to take my obsessions elsewhere (hello, Ashtanga yoga!).
Despite all that history, I love running. Still, it has been tinged with this bit of toxic residue and I haven't dared to try it again - fearful that I would fall down the rabbit hole of crazy. In December, I was talking with one of my yoga teachers about engaging in other physical activities and I told her my running story. She said, "Running wasn't the problem - you bring your mind to whatever you are doing." For whatever reason, I actually heard what she was saying. Just like how bhuja pindasana suddenly felt not just possible but easy, I realized that the problem was never that running was bad or evil or would "make me" become an obsessed anorexic. I did that. To myself. And that it is possible to enjoy running just to enjoy running.
So, later today, I will take a little jog around the neighborhood. Just for fun.