Today started off with my usual morning meditation with A on the roof. Things were dramatically less Zen with the recent wave of mosquitoes around here. We did our meditation and gratitude and quickly drew a card and that was it! Today's physical practice began with each of us leading the group in a sun salutation. Hatha sun salutations are different from what I'm used to but I was pretty confident in my ability to lead the group. So I went first. But then I forgot OM in the mantra (like who forgets OM? It is the mantra to end all mantras) and feeling rattled after that yogic faux pas, I forgot cobra pose. It was a bit of a disaster. But I shook it off and told myself that now everyone else would feel more comfortable after I made a mistake. It was another demanding physical practice, and as I mentioned earlier, I was tired. I wasn't able to get up into wheel, but I did feel like I made progress in my alignment in a lot of other poses. We also found out that we were responsible for teaching two positions on Sunday morning. I was holding out for something I was really good at, such as tree pose, but instead got prasarita padottanasana (seated forward bend) which is the Achilles' heel of my yoga practice. I was also assigned seated lateral bend which I am slightly better at. Lots of practice coming up this weekend I guess, but right now I'm too tired to care.
Today's theory component focused on examining the final 5 of the yoga ten commandments as well as the bad habits associated with the second chakra and the prana body. Once again I was able to take a leading role in bad habits. The encouraging part was that I've already made progress in this area since this spring. Just read this passage from our course materials, "Bad habits of the prana body include excess shopping and a desire for luxury at all times. This is caused by impurities of the prana body." Well since taking a leave of absence from my job, I've really curtailed my shopping. And, my trip to Trinidad and Tobago was the start of my adventure travel and the end of my 4 and 5 star accommodations. And I'm loving it and happier than ever. So at least I'm growing in this area. A healthy prana body basically encircles you like a protective bubble and helps you deal with discomfort. Michelle explained to us that every time you give in to a bad habit, you strengthen that bad habit. I was interested to learn that mantra (which I love) and pranayama (breathing) actually change thought patterns. So next time I'm tempted to online shop, mantra and breathing it is!
This afternoon we practiced pratyahara, which means introversion of the senses. It's kind of like yoga nidra (dynamic sleep) and serves as excellent preparation for meditation. We got to lay down, and worked to tune out all the information from our senses as we followed Michelle's voice. It was extremely relaxing. I tuned out so thoroughly that I had a fantastic 30 minute nap. That's not the purpose of it, but I enjoyed it just the same. We also had a new yoga teacher this afternoon. Her name is Becca and she hails from California. She now lives in Athens with her boyfriend, and completed this yoga teacher training and a vinyasa teacher training in the past couple of years. She led us in a 90 minute vinyasa flow class designed to support the second chakras, swadhisthana. It was a fun and playful class (although I was still dripping sweat). The highlight of my day was my shoulders have opened enough to get into a halfway decent camel pose and I also did a pretty solid crow pose.
Meals were extremely exciting affairs today. For lunch, Leonardo made mushroom lasagne with homemade noodles and béchamel sauce. It was a culinary masterpiece and I loved it so much that I ate two pieces! For supper, he made homemade pizza with his mama's tomato sauce, cream of broccoli soup with a smiley face to celebrate the conclusion of our first week, and salad. It was fantastic!
Gorgeous Lagonissi sunset to end the day!