Thursday, September 17, 2015

Once I could do it...

Another practice, this time at 530am thanks to my husband's alarm and a nice juicy thunderstorm.

It was pretty good.  Oops, no judgement.  It was time on my mat.  The chatter in my head was a little quieter, perhaps because I was there earlier and there were fewer people in the shala.

Well, I'm working on my back bending, my drop backs, and my get back ups.  I need my teacher A LOT.  She practically pulls me back up to standing.  I feel bad for her...what a work out she's getting!

I used to be able to do this drop back/stand up thing.

That was about 5 years ago (ignore the 80's music, please!) before I injured both shoulders in a yoga/crossfit hybrid class, before I had a total hysterectomy, before I started working as an hospice nurse.

Can I do it again?  I'm not so sure.  I'm over 50 now and spend a good part of my days hunched over patients or charts.  

I want to do it again.  But after my surgery, back bending felt weird.  I mean really weird, inside, like things were pulling in ways that they shouldn't.  I didn't even attempt any sort of back bend until I was 6 months post-op, but when I, things had changed.  After a couple of months of gentle passive bends over balls, pillows and such, I attempted my first urhva dhanurasana it felt awful.  I mean really bad, tight, weak, awful.  But I persevered and slowly, slowly it started to feel strong again.  But still kinda tight.

Then I started my mysore-style practice. I discussed my 'medical' history with my new teacher and she was understanding and said patience, perseverance were in order.  She watched me for a few weeks or so then asked "Are you ready to try dropping back?"  I said, yes!  And we did.  And it was great.  And then I started to really concentrate on deepening my back bends.  Then I got a back spasm which dissipated quickly.  Now we were back to assisted drop backs.  She assists with half drop backs X3, then to the floor, walk in, hold 5 breaths, and come up.  That is intense, but good intense. 

So will I ever be able to do what I did 5 years ago?  Don't know.

But I think the bigger question is: should I want to?  Should I be striving for that?  Trying for that 'goal'?  Isn't that exactly what we are not supposed to do?  Aren't we supposed to just do the practice and 'all is coming', no goals, no aims, it's not about the results, it's about the journey?

I think, for me there is a sweet spot between the aspirational aspects of the practice: the working towards/wanting to do a certain asana, like drop backs and the surrender to the process, the experience of the journey without a clear or specific end place.  It's a razors edge for one side can lead to injury, frustration, pain, discouragement.  The other, ennui, passivity, complacency.  

I think that one day I will be able to drop back and stand up on my own...that is my goal, but in the mean time, I'm going to work really hard at staying in the present and enjoy the process of re-learning that asana.


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