Power of Suggestion

Practice was all about breath this morning. The harnessing of the breath during the standing poses. That’s par for the course. Always a bumpy ride, but one I don’t fuss about, because I know by the time I get to the end of the standing poses, the breath will be back on board with the whole project. Some days it starts off like a cranky horse — running off, stopping and starting, shying, being just plain wacky and recalcitrant.

By the time I got to primary poses this morning, the breath was nice and relaxed. Very expansive. The kind of breathing where it seems like minutes are passing between each inhale and exhale. I love when time stretches like that. And best of all, the pauses. It happens in zazen, and I always wonder if it is the seed of rechaka: at the end of the exhale there is a sparkling moment or two of utter stillness. No breath, no desire for breath. Timelessness.

And then I do my intermediate poses and am all about thinking and trying to coordinate and trying to absorb my own anxieties. That’s slowly starting to smooth out: today I could relax enough to really feel the breath in these poses. It’s a challenge: the very thought of some day being as relaxed breathing in a deep backbend as I am when breathing in a forward bend makes my head spin. Maybe it’s not even possible, I think. But maybe it is.

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