I was listening to an episode of the Chitheads podcast with Krishna Das this morning - they were discussing KD's path to becoming a leader of devotional music, Kirtan. It got me thinking about some of the life experiences I have had, and how my yoga practises help me counter a 'melancholic constitution' and enjoy living a full, yet better balanced human life....
Pictured below, I am sitting in padmasana (lotus pose) with my right hand over anahata (the heart centre) and left hand over manipura (centre of digestive fire). There is a feeling of balanced awareness we can cultivate here, as the RIGHT
fiery, solar side of the body (Ha/Pingala nadi) connects with the LEFT softer, cooler heart centre...while the LEFT cooler, lunar side (Tha/Ida nadi) connects with the fiery energy of the belly. You can choose to redirect your attention to breath moving the torso, and feel re-connected to 'just being' with the deepest centre of your self. Not identifying with thoughts of what you did /said, what someone else did/said, what should or shouldn't be done, just coming back to the balanced centre of your soul. Closing the loop of awareness into a peaceful, deeply connected sense of reality. It's not escaping, or denying feelings, just observing that these come and go, and what remains at the ongoing centre is beautiful and good.
Back to the podcast....as Krishna Das says - "It's very simple, you sing and when you notice you're not paying attention, you come back to singing..." he describes cultivating the ability to let go of afflicting thoughts, to come back to your own true nature, soul, just being...For KD chanting mantra has been the tool to do this.
I believe using whatever ever practises you are drawn to (maybe running, swimming, chanting, playing an instrument) can enable a state of true presence...to release thoughts and emotions....and over time, to spend less time thinking about ourselves, and just be ourselves... for those of us with a 'melancholic constitution', this is healing :)
The methods in ashtanga vinyasa yoga have been a valuable tool for me. I have practised with many teachers and for now, settled into a practise community where I feel safe, challenged to face what I need to face through my body, and most of all, able to connect back to the centre of my being. As time goes on, this practise has supported me to function with less 'moping' and more 'being'.