This past week, I got out of bed at 3:30 am as I have been doing every Wednesday for several weeks. The night prior, I had gone to bed early but also got up around midnight to help my boys out so that they could get to bed after a long work day. To be frank, I can’t sleep that well when they are going up and down the stairs anyway — so I figured it would benefit us all. Suffice to say that I was still quiet tired by the time the alarm sounded. Although I could have dropped my youngest at work (at 4 am) and returned home, I sat around for an hour and drove to the yoga studio hoping for a nice long take-your-sweet-time sort of practice.
With my choice of anywhere in the room, being the only one there, I choose the most isolated place in the room to roll out my mat for I already knew that I was not yet ready to socialize. My practice begun with a feeling of contentment, as I enjoyed a quiet similar to when wake before everyone else at home. About 10-15 minutes later, the next person arrived and rolled their mat out right beside mine. I whispered “Hi” but heard nothing in return. Perhaps she was feeling the same as me.
As the room slowly began to fill, I became more and more aware that my body just wasn’t waking up with my practice. In my periphery, I watched the other yogis flow past me in their practices while my tight muscles continued to ache. I kept on breathing and working through it, happy that the room remained dark, and hoping that nobody was watching the goings-on in my practice. And it was okay… until the lights abruptly came on as the assistant arrived. My body tensed up even more until, finally, I opted to end my practice early. I left the room about the time that my teacher arrived.
Today is yet another day where I have not been able to get my legs into lotus while in Sirsasana. It’s a little strange, yet also not strange at all. I wonder if I subconsciously created this struggle to get out of being officially given Karandavasana.
You see, just over a week ago, I was able to easily get my legs into lotus. On observing, Mojdeh (my teacher) commented that I might be ready to start working on it while in Pincha Mayurasana. In my mind, I thought “NO! I am definitely NOT READY.” The next time I practiced, I couldn’t do it.
It kind of makes you wonder:
- Do we subconsciously set ourselves up for failure out of fear of success that would require more out of us?
- If we have done so, how do we undo the mess we created?
It’s Wednesday (aka “hump day”). These days, hump day has a new significance. My youngest has now been given the 4-9:15 AM shift at our gym every Wednesday – and I drive him there. Often, I help him with his duties while I kill time until the mysore room at my yoga studio is open.
I don’t know when I became a morning person, but I seem to have adjusted to allow for a relatively easy wake up. Mid-day, however, the early rising tends to get to me and I will struggle to make it over the hump and through the end of my work day. Because of this, I was happy to have used the early morning to get in a quick upper body workout. This will allow me to get to bed early tonight as needed.
Contrary to what you might think, weight training and cardio workouts have actually been very good for me. While I am not as open and flexible, I find that these activities have helped to stabilize my joints and keep my muscles from getting too stretched out. Subsequently, I am in less pain and am now able to get my leg behind my head fairly comfortably. In talking with other yogini friends, the majority of them who have added strength training to their activities have found the same is true for them. Of course, my switch to adopting a ketogenic lifestyle has helped considerably as well.
Even so, over the last couple of days, my yoga practice has been rather uncomfortable. This past weekend, I did a rather strenuous 15 mile hike with my sweetheart and youngest son. And although I feel like I am in good hiking shape, with a 5 day backpacking trip just 1 month ago, my body did not go easily UP and DOWN and UP the mountain.
I suppose that if I were to compare today to the recent trek, I might consider getting over the “hump” a breeze.
There are days when you wake up feeling stiff, sore, and unmotivated. My Monday was like this. The advice following my morning HRV check was to proceed with caution. So….I dawdled a bit, contemplating skipping my Mysore Practice all together. Starting on Tuesday, my teacher was due to be away for a week and the following week I would be trekking through the backcountry. I was, therefore, compelled to at least “show up” and do my sun salutations.
Arriving much later than I usually do, I found the Mysore Room surprisingly busy. The rows of mats perfectly aligned in neat little rows like the twelve little girls in one of my favorite books from childhood. My teacher was making her way around the room, helping out when needed, while everyone independently worked through their given practice.
In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines
Lived twelve little girls in two straight lines
In two straight lines they broke their bread
And brushed their teeth and went to bed.
They left the house at half past nine
In two straight lines in rain or shine-
The smallest one was Madeline.”
– Ludwig Bemelmans, Madeline
After someone moved to the back of the room to complete their closing sequence, I rolled out my mat in their place in the second row and got busy.
For many months now, I have failed to journal, and/or blog, following my yoga practice. Keeping a practice journal has been a companion practice which I took up 6+ years ago. Letting it fall to the wayside, was not intentional, yet I did nothing to rectify it until now — even though I acknowledge the benefit of keeping it up.
“The habit of writing for my eye is good practice. It loosens the ligaments.” ― Virginia Woolf
Perhaps it’s because my yoga practice is lacking that I held off for so long to reawaken the effort. If it’s not recorded, there will be no evidence of how pathetic my practice has become. Yeah? There will also be no way of knowing when my ankle started hurting.
The truth of the matter is that I have been a little overwhelmed with the tugs from the various aspects of my life, the unexpected expenses, costly yet essential home repairs, and [whatnot]. Continuing to come to my mat, whether it be at home or in the mysore room, has been a godsend.
Although one might think that the training I have been doing for the Spartan Races would pose an additional demand, it has probably done more in the way of alleviating stress than adding to it. Additionally, if it weren’t for my continued training coupled with plans for an upcoming backpacking trip, I might have continued to ignore the ankle pain that’s been plaguing me for God-only-knows-how-long.
““If I waited for perfection… I would never write a word.”
All this to say that I am writing again (here and in my little book). I can’t promise it will be anything of significance but it could be — so stay connected.