Beyond the mat

Beyond the mat2.jpg

THANKS to my school that makes me grow, mature, know and leave the "boundaries" of a practice that too often is limited to the edges of a mat.

Marco was clear from the first day, no yoga class during the detox. First thought ? What a shame! Practicing with Marco is always an experience. Second thought? Whatever! I still do yoga every day. 
Then the detox begins ...

... it begins with the attention, the patience and presence of Manu who cooks for us, explaining a thousand times what ingredients she put in that dish, which fruits for that smoothie .. She lovingly cares about our well-being, she wonderfully executes the vibrational baths, "pretends" to be distracted when counting the minutes of the ice-cold baths ... And the detox continues ... with the training and attention of Marco who, despite the impending pulmonary emphysema, "suggests" ninety seconds of "breaking bones", with attention to the breath, listening to how the body behaves when it receives less food (but maybe it gets more nourishment?).

He continues with his encouragement during our run (7 km in the rain, feet soaking wet, endless mental insult to Mark and Hari Om), with his thumb raised when you arrive in the practice room battered as ever, and in response he makes you do thirty minutes of sit-ups and why not? Let's start with your kicking the punch-bag. The days end each evening at the table, like a group of friends in the brewery (minus the beer) and chat, you have fun. Everything becomes light and you laugh ... in the farmhouse you always have a laugh. Perhaps because of the exhaustion mixed with the pride of having gotten through a day that you are sure you will remember, perhaps for the good company, perhaps for the happiness of sharing an experience.

There is always this atmosphere of deep serenity and completeness that overwhelms you, that makes you feel good, at home. So no, I did not do any surya namaskar, but for dinner, after a day of training with Marco, you find a freshly squeezed vegetable juice (very good) and test your resistance: NOT so much about the abstinence from food, rather the complaint; ... you find yourself having to enter a pool of ice water, hand in hand with your adventure companions’ and you really understand what it means to be able to control the breath and, to your amazement, you discover the pleasure of sharing; ... on the fourth round of circuit on a liquid diet (in the back of the mind always the endless insult), the day after fasting, you're there with yourself and, guess what? You try to understand how to use the body, the breath and the mind.

So no, I did not learn to hold the headstand for one more breath and I did not increase my back flexibility, but I was GLUED to the present, an infinite present, every SECOND of my retreat. What is this if not yoga?

THANKS to my school that makes me grow, mature, know and leave the "boundaries" of a practice that too often is limited to the edges of a mat.

Paola Franzoni