Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Day 2: Finding Daily Routine

Day 2 Yoga Teacher Training
Today was a harder day for me. I woke up tired and I don't mean the sleepy kind of tired, I mean the fatigue kind of tired where my eyelids felt glued to my eyeballs and my muscles all go limp and my entire skeleton feels like a tremendous weight that is fighting the magnetic pull of gravity just to sit up. Before cancer I do not believe I ever experienced this type of fatigue where you have to move in slow motion when you move at all. In my typical post-cancer, mid-depression life this drooping malaise comes predictably when I have over exerted myself or pushed a little harder than before but it can also sneak up on me on a delayed timer after I have followed my pacing and taken breaks and incorporated rest to sink me deep into my bed for hours.
Fatigue will be one of my toughest opponents throughout this month of teacher training. Fatigue means I stay in bed a bit longer in the morning, take more child poses during asana practice and take a nap for most of the two hour mid-day break instead of trailing my fellow students to the beach. Fatigue means withdrawing from fascinating post-dinner conversations to settle down into bed earlier than I would like - meaning 8 pm rather than 9.
Our mornings start early as the jungle calls for the rising of the sun - monkeys howl a ferocious cry, birds sing their greetings and the sounds of other students rising into their morning routines to gather for pre-asana fruit, yogurt, coffee, juice or tea in the kitchen area, just below the open decking of room clusters separated in the evening by curtains drawn around double and triple bed rooms. The energy of the morning rises from the shift change of insects buzzing from the ground, smells of bread baking, garlic and onions simmering waft up the stairs as the sun sneaks its rays between the trees and through the open railings into the beds.
By 7 am we have gathered on the yoga deck a short walk across the property and over a bridge that likely spans a running river in the rainy season. Like the lodge the yoga deck is a planked decking of a gleaming wood with a railing separating it from the jungle it inhabits. We are led through our asana practice and finish sweaty and hungry to wander back to the kitchen for the real breakfast. The breakfast of rice and beans and homemade yogurt with fresh picked fruit. The breakfast with a surprise of perfectly cooked oatmeal sprinkled with aromatic cinnamon. The breakfast of a tortilla topped with an egg and mushrooms. A breakfast that fills and satisfies.
Immediately after breakfast (by 930) we return to the yoga deck for morning lecture until noon. Lunch is another abundance served at 1 pm with more rice and beans mixed with avocado, fresh salsas and we eat as if we haven't been fed twice already!
By 2 pm we are back on our mats for the longer lecture of the day until the sun deprives us of light and the spider monkeys have crept close enough to be a distraction swinging branch to branch just outside the studio even before the howlers have started their ferocious calling of dusk. By 5 we are as restless as the animals and are released back to our own time to shower, swim, write or rest before dinner at 630. Once again, I am surprised at my appetite and the freshness of the food.
Today's afternoon lecture on pranayama (the lengthening or directing of the breath) struck me deeply. As I have flailed about for help and support from doctors and therapists and various specialists on how to pull myself out of the depths of depression my hormone therapy has left me in, harnessing of the breath has been a consistent message and ultimately (with the right medications), has helped me cope with and soothe so many lingering side effects from chemotherapy and the various hormone and antidepressant medications I am taking. I am sure I will write more about this but for now I will just say that more than anything, pranayama is why I am here - to understand this practice and use it for my benefit so I might be qualified to share it with others.
But for now, the salsa music from the deck below me and the sounds of dinner approaching and my growling stomach, leave me to put that topic for another day.

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