Part of our homework for the Level 2 Stress & Vitality week was 40 days of Pittra kriya. It’s a 33-minute set that ‘completely eats up your stress’ (instructions at end). Practiced every day, it sloughs off years of stored anxiety/ frustration/ grrrrrness/ blood pressure spikes. Yogi B called it a precious gift that should be shouted from the rooftops and given to everyone, because it’s an antidote to the most sinister of diseases out there… stress lurks beneath many a chronic condition. And yes, it affects all of us, even the most earnest of yogis, and even you in outer Siberia.
I find living in the bright lights big city of London to be HECTIC! It takes a lot to remain centred in a tidal wae of thousands of hurrying, scurrying people. I do one-minute breath when I’m on the tube, and I try and keep my
walking pace nice and steady – which can be tough when those around me are galloping past to catch the next train/ beetle to work/ get home often tutting with frustration. It’s a challenge to not get caught up in that. But even armed with these mini coping tools, stress is still present for me, just as it is for everyone around me.
So pittra kriya.
Every day. Hmmm. For the first 20 days or so, I admit, I wasn’t feeling the love. It IS relaxing – afterwards you feel like you’re had the yogic version of a heroin hit. But apart from that, nothing much was happening. I was waving my right arm like a lucky cat, then flicking my fingers, then ouch ouching my way through the wrist crosses, 11 minutes each. It wasn’t the most exciting kriya I’ve ever done. And on repeat makes it even less exciting.
And THEN halfway through the magic started to happen.
I started to notice deeply ingrained subconscious patterns bubbling up from the depths. Stuff that used to be sewn into the subconscious fabric of my perspective started to show up in an objective way to be looked at and questioned. So whenever my stress levels started to rise, I’d notice the ingrained patterns that were pushing them up, and I’d be able to objectively look at the reasons behind them… and analyse their validity – pretty wowee stuff. And whenever any jagged thoughts rose up – always on the back of stress – I was able to notice them and question their value. The result? A deeper sense of connection with my surroundings and with the people around me – even the tube gallopers.
But a sense of connection and a deepening awareness of my subconscious stuff is all very well… Pittra is supposed to eat up your stress, and the proof is in the pudding. Well, dessert came on day 36, a Sunday. I was heading to teach a yoga class. When I got to the tube station – one that was further away from my home as there wer
e engineering works on the track – I realised I’d left my wallet and travel card at home. Now for me, being late – whether for a friend or for work – sends my stress levels through the roof and waaaaaay beyond into the stratosphere. My heart goes, my breathing goes, my ‘stress monster’ erupts in full force. Usually I’m able to avoid it by being stupidly early for everything, but this time even leaving half an hour early wasn’t going to cut it. Having to head back home, retrieve my wallet and start my journey again on the reduced weekend service trains was going to make me late.
Well, somehow, none of this panic set in. Yes, I ran home and ran back to the station as fast as my lil legs would carry me, but I wasn’t going berserk with anxiety as would have been my old pattern. My thoughts were focused, my breathing – apart from catching up after the run – was even. And I arrived at the class with three whole minutes to spare! Happy days. The class went smoothly, it was a good day.
So, thanks Pittra kriya! Since my initial cold shoulder, I’ve fallen in love with you a bit, and you’re now an honorary member in my morning yoga toolkit