Thursday, September 10, 2015

Yoga Heals

I am feeling so inspired and in awe of my practice, I just finished up and am now writing from my mat.

I haven't been doing much of anything good-for-me-wise for months, as such last post clearly depicted. With such shenanigans came no proper yoga practice of any kind. I have casually stretched here and there, did a couple of headstands and handstands for kicks (I can FINALLY do a hand stand unassisted and away from a wall - yay me!) but proper, meditative, centering, good release, zen yoga - no way Jose.

I am not sure why of all recent days, today was a day where my mat was calling me. It isn't particularly nice out (I love practicing outside when the weather permits), it actually looks like heavens are about to open up and downpour, it is kinda muggy and I was getting chewed by bugs (hence why I moved inside), but I needed yoga today. My body and mind ached for it. Do you ever get that?

My body has been stiff and tight beyond belief the last week. I thought maybe it was sympathy aches for A because his sciatica is flared up right now (and try as I might I can't get him to do yoga), but when it was more than my temperamental sciatica, I knew it was more than just ghost pain. (Side note: my sciatica is completely nonexistent when I practice regularly, in fact yoga is the ONLY thing that has ever made it go away completely for long periods of time.)

It is funny psychologically for me, muscle pain is good, I have always been a glutton for punishment when it comes to exercise. I love the burn, the lactic acid build up and the muscle ache for days - it makes me feel like a hard-ass, bad-ass. But my most recent aches are not good aches, my tendinitis is flaring up, my wrist aches, my neck aches, my sciatica just feels icky and irritated, my shoulders get tight (and no I am not an 80 year old woman with arthritis, even though it may sounds like it). I know when I am ohh, ahh, ugh - yoga is needed. Yoga heals all. I think everyone and anyone can and should do yoga. I am amazed by how little aches and pains I have when I practice regularly and similarly how quickly the aches and pains dissipate as soon as I spend a few minutes on my mat.

Sure I want to push through, push harder, do the difficult poses, well at least my hard-ass, competitive brain does, but no, I consciously chose a lighter practice, especially when I haven't been on my mat in over a month. I did the poses I wanted to do and some of those that brought the ache to the forefront. At first I was tight all over, my toes, my neck, my wrists, back, hips, but slowly and surely, everything loosened up and started to feel amazing. That lingering, subtle ache that has been threatening to get worse for days disappeared. I could feel each body part, muscle and tendon loosen up. The trick is not to overdo it. We think oh this must be good, so more should be better. That is not the case. There is such a thing as overstretching a muscle and that could lead to serious injury. So know when to ease up and even stop your practice.

I know I have to consciously ease back in and turn off my self judgement and doubt - to expect to get back on your mat after months of no association and whip out flying pigeon is just setting yourself up for failure and probably injury. Be easy on yourself. Practice where you are at, not where you "think you should be," you silly goose you haven't done yoga regularly for months (that is to me, not you (unless you are like me, then - please be kind to yourself and your practice)).

(The funny thing is I did a headstand at the end of my practice and my legs literally floated up over my body so quickly and effortlessly it startled me, I was prepared for a little struggle and some major core engagement, I almost lost my balance as my legs flailed around, haha, like riding a bike I guess ;) )

Yoga truly blows my mind. I am perpetually challenged and humbled by my practice. How I try to avoid it and yet my body and mind crave it. And how I keep brushing it off like "eh, I don't need no stinkin' yoga" and yet as soon as I surrender I feel all shiny and new again.

I can't wait for my practice tomorrow.