My Break Up
Original Piece by Avani | August 2013
Technology and I broke up.
Well, if I’m to be 100% honest, even though the truth hurts, technology dumped me. And not in the nice “it’s not you, it’s me” type of way. Technology left me stranded on the side of the road, in the middle of the night and then laid rubber on its way out of my life. It sped off into the distance threatening to burn all of my possessions. It hurt. Technology told me to F* off and then kicked me while I was down. It was swift; a stinging kind of short and sweet.
Although I’m now clearly transferring this post from pen and paper onto a suitable document for passage along the Ether, don’t let the typed font fool you! I had to learn to write again. Yes, pen and paper style. I was appalled at my hand-writing; the lack of stamina in the fine bones and muscles of my right hand. I felt like a third grader moving painstakingly through the cursive alphabet. Oh…wait, that’s right…now third graders learn keyboarding not penmanship…
But anyway, back to the break-up: here we are in Costa Rica’s mini peak season. The hostel is full, the yoga, massage and surf class enquiries are flooding in and…the mold is eating my hard drive. Or ate, rather. Past tense. Chewed, swallowed, digested.
Here I am, present moment, pen in hand, learning all over again to let it go, to practice the art of surrender, even though my blood wants to boil and my tears want to fall. I’ve noticed I have more free time than I can handle. I’m reading like a nerd at the library before mid-terms. My yoga practice has fast tracked to new heights. Meanwhile, enquiries stack up, my dependence on others deepens, my events get post-poned and my friends and family wonder if I’m alive or if some jungle cat got to me in my sleep. I have a constant over whelming sense that I’m letting everyone down.
I can’t decide whether I love it or I hate it.
Goodbye research. Goodbye constant fact checking and article reading. Goodbye “googling it” just to “make sure”. No more YOUtube-ing yoga videos for hours on end. No more inefficient trips to Facebookland. In the span of two days both my and my husband’s computers died and due to some unknown complication with the local telecommunications agency our phone bit the dust, too. My temporary replacement computer went on the fritz after the charger put on a fireworks display. To add salt to the wound; in all of my new found free time I went overboard in asana and now nurse a hip injury.
The downward spiral ensued.
How will I respond to clients? How will I stay in touch with the world? My family? How can I possibly administrate a business? How will I explain to those following our events and our blog? How will I avoid letting friends down? What will I DO with myself? How will I fill my time? How will I teach? HOW WILL I SURVIVE!? I miss my flow.
Whoa. Deep breath. Slow Down.
I need yoga. In some way, shape or form. It may not seem like what I’ve grown accustomed to love all these years; my current yoga is a bird of a different color.
Pratikriyasana. I discovered this term in my expansive excess of time, and specifically since my yogic injury. Everything started to make sense. Mark Stephens explains “neutralizing practice (prati meaning ‘against’ and kr, meaning ‘action’)” as an act to “integrate prior actions in a way that prepares students to move forward into the next asana, sequence, class or later activity free of tension and as balanced and blissful as possible.” (Teaching Yoga p. 280-281)
I had to read that about 10 times; good thing I’ve got a lot of extra time on my hands. All of a sudden I discovered where I’m at. I’m in a forced state of pratikriyasana. Forced because I refused to take the time to arrive here of my own free will. I’m owning it. I’m going “against action”. Look at me go. Ugh. It sure is hard.
Yet again I had returned in a blissful state from my most recent stint at the Pavones Yoga Center. Once more within this newfound ease and balance I vowed to myself enthusiastically: “I will delegate tasks!” “I will not be the bottleneck!” “I will take time for me!” “I won’t be a slave to technology!” “I won’t sacrifice joy in the name of self-imposed administrative restraints!” “I am worth it!”
I was really awesome at all of this…for about two weeks. And then, time slipped by and at some point I lurched back into my old patterns.
Many people may translate pratikriyasana loosely as “opposite pose” but this can be and often is misleading for many people, instructors included. Under this definition, as Stephens explains, you may pop out of a headstand and jump up directly into standing tadasana…maybe from there quickly transitioning into a ball on the floor nursing a dizzy spell. Not ideal. Pratikriyasana might be better translated as “neutralizing pose”, one that helps us to ease into the next phase as opposed to jumping headlong in the opposite direction. Jumping from one extreme to the other has a tendency to be shocking to the system.
I needed time to neutralize. I needed time to integrate into my practice and develop the new skills I had learned. My borderline workaholism, and an obsession with efficiency coupled with my overall replenished excitement for my profession had led me to crash and burn. Jumping from the stillness and deep study of retreat directly and deeply into work-mode: the running around, the long hours on the computer, the administrative garble: it was the experience of an “opposite” rather than a “neutralizing” practice. Coming off of a week of receiving bodywork and private yoga sessions, of heaven sent Integrative Healing Yoga Therapy directly into the grind of client emails, hostess with the mostess, being landlord, boss and somehow trying to find time to also be a wife and a friend, too? I fell to the floor in a crumpled ball nursing a dizzy spell.
Much like in yoga, between sets of back-bends you may come to the mat, take some spinal twists, or simply stay still and breath. Often times in asana you may come back for a second or third round of your heart opener of choice. However, going balls to the wall all day everyday is not sustainable. Not in a yoga practice and certainly not in our practice off of the mat either. You would not do 15 sets of wheel with no neutralizing pose for support in between. You would not rip vigorously back and forth between wheel and forward folding. At least, you would not if you are sane and care about your spinal cord. You would not jump into tadanasana from a headstand unless you like the sinking feeling of dizziness and disorientation.
So thank you, technology. Thank you for spitting in my face and and peace-ing out of my life. It hurt bad, it came so abruptly, but now I see that it was a necessary separation; time for me to neutralize. I think maybe we were bordering on codependency. Sometimes I even catch myself thinking I’m better off without you. We needed some space. And besides, the sunshine and the beach are calling me. I was growing weary of the office. You did me a favor. Really. Don’t worry, it’s not you, Technology, it’s me. But, can we can still be friends?