My body is not meant to sit still for very long. I know this about my body. I’ve spent years in my experiential college setting learning this. I spent many hours in 15 passenger vans bound for educational speeches given by different outdoor experts at different outdoor locations. Days of relative little movement by the body, but significant travel of the body via motor, are uncomfortable and unwanted.
Yesterday, I agreed to take a jeep tour of Anza Borrego State Park and the surrounding area. The tour was nine hours in the jeep, and the weather was cold and rainy, making exploring during our short stops undesirable. We saw beautiful things – ocitilla readying to bloom, beautiful barrel cactus and extraordinary feats of geology. It’s truly an amazing place.
But the fact remains that my body is meant to be in movement for a good portion of the day. When the tour was over and I stood outside on solid ground, I still felt like the earth was moving beneath me, giving me the feeling of being on a boat. This is how my body reacts to all long car or plane rides, and it’s not pleasant. The evening was cold, and through the night, my body stiffened up even more. By this morning, I couldn’t wait to get on my mat and stretch out my stiff muscles.
I felt completely antsy by the end of the day, but what is amazing to me is how so many people are completely accustomed to being sedentary. How stiff they must feel without even consciously realizing it! How the body must must cry out in agony! I wonder if, after a while, the body gives up trying to give signals of its unhappiness and disintegrating health. Or maybe we’re all built a little differently, and some of us need to move more than others.
Regardless, my practice was much needed today. I even craved back bends, which, if you know me very well at all, you know I almost never crave. I was tired, however – I had several very emotionally draining events occur this week, and so my practice wasn’t necessarily rigorous. I worked deep into my hips and stiff hamstrings, as well as into my thoracic spine, opening up the heart with Urdva Danurasana and Ustrasana. It was beautiful, as was the much needed svasana at the end, when I was able to let go of the events of the week.
Movement of the body combined with stillness of the mind is a glorious thing.