Seven Things You Might Not Know About Yoga

Yes, I'm laughing as  I come out of my imperfect triangle with my imperfect body.  But, oh, what fun!

Yes, I’m laughing as I come out of my imperfect triangle with my imperfect body. But, oh, what fun!

Yes, seven.  Though I did not number them, as numbering implies prioritizing and I did not want to do that.  So there.  And so here, in no particular order, seven things:

  • Yogis come in all shapes and sizes.

Yes, despite what you see in Yoga Journal, or in commercials, or modeling yoga clothes, yogis vary.  A lot.  And the “perfect” body may not always indicate the “perfect” practice.  Someday, I hope advertisers and editorial staff (I’m talking to you, Yoga Journal) figure this out and start using photos of real bodies having real fun.

So, that first bullet leads directly to my second (though, still, you know, no particular order…)

  •  It’s as much mental as it is physical.

Okay, you probably did know this, at least if you practice yoga.  But it bears repeating.  It’s easy to spend your class practicing the physical postures, without remembering you’re also there for the mental practice.

  •  Breathing is hard.

Right now, you’re probably laughing.  “Breathing’s not hard.  After all, we all do it without thinking about it!”  But it is hard.  Hard to keep your breathing calm, and to use it correctly, while you’re once again falling over just.as.your.head.touches.your.knee. (DAMN IT!) or when the frustrations of your daily life interrupt your concentration and the “fight or flight” kicks in during Rabbit… or even during Savasana.

  • Savasana is even harder than breathing.

I’ll just point you at this post…because you know, this is hard for me.

  • Not all yogis are “earthy crunchy”.

Not that there is anything wrong with being an organic vegan tree-hugger… No, but seriously, the idea that in order to practice yoga, I had to give up, to offer just one example, booze, kept me away from it for a long time.  I don’t mean to say that I think those who choose to be what I call, for lack of a better phrase, “earthy crunchy”, are wrong.  It’s just not me.  And I’ve discovered over my years of practice, that it’s not a lot of us.

  • Teachers have bad days too.

Yes, we all have bad days.  And sometimes, your teacher may not be able to hide the fact that she’s having one of those… so cut her a break.  How many times have you come into the studio grumpy, and used her positive energy to help change your mood?  Return the favor!

  • Yes, it is all about you.

Your yoga practice may be the one thing in your life that is only and solely about YOU.  What YOU want, what YOU need, what makes YOU better (whatever better means for YOU).  Glory in it.  And you’ll soon find that letting it be all about you ends in it being all about those around you.

 

 

Advertisements

Fear

There’s been a lot going on in my life lately.  Some things have been ironed out – yay! – and are back on track.  But some medical issues are just going on… and on… and on…

I’m a good patient usually.  I come in with all the needed information; I am always on time for my appointments; I follow up appropriately; and I’m really, really, really nice to the staff.  But recently, the colossal incompetence of a particular radiology department has sent me over the edge.  Back story:  after a check-up, my doctor advised me to see a neurologist.  In order to rule out some very scary things – like, oh, cancer or a brain tumor – I then had an MRI.  So far, so good.  No cancer.  No brain tumor.  But not normal.   Okay…time for further MRIs.  Sure, I’ll go.  To make this long story short, I never had the tests.  I tried.  Twice.

So now what?  Well, it took several years for me to get a correct diagnosis for my Sjogren’s, given poor diagnostic skills at the major teaching hospital where I went to grad school.  It took a full year and every test known (it seemed) for the best gastroenterologist in New York to diagnose the cause of a severe abdominal pain.  Clearly, I’m stubborn enough to do the work that it will apparently take to find out what is going on now.1044343-Royalty-Free-RF-Clip-Art-Illustration-Of-A-Cartoon-Scared-Woman-Curled-Up-In-A-Fetal-Position

But in the meantime…I’m scared.  I don’t like uncertainty.  I am not bothered so much by change, but not knowing makes me crazy.  I just want to curl up under the covers with the cats and not come out until I have answers.  But we all know life is not like that.  There’s work to be done, cats to be entertained, yoga classes to attend, and drinks to drink.  Plus I’m just far too stubborn (yes, I said it again) to allow fear to immobilize me.  And stubborn will beat incompetent every. damn. time.

Small Cages Of Joy

I’m lucky.   Despite the whining and complaining I sometimes let spill out about my kennels of irritation, I actually do know I’m really, really lucky.

So this morning during my Bikram class, a random thought floated through my brain (as often happens):  “What’s the opposite of ‘kennels of irritation’?”  And the phrase “small cages of joy” drifted to the surface… 

Okay, okay, it’s weird.  But somehow, it works.  It works perfectly. 

What exactly are “small cages of joy”, you ask?  Well, “it’s the little things”… a few examples: 

1)  My friend who thought to send flowers to my apartment the day I had a biopsy (yes, it was benign!  And that’s a big cage of joy!).  And on that note, the genuine pleasure about those results I felt from the small number of my friends who knew.

2) My Bikram breakthroughs of late…no drinking during class, for one.  For two, seeing my right foot over my head in Standing Bow – finally – for the first time in almost seven years.  (The left foot has always been the more cooperative one.  Hmph.)  For three – wait, can you say “for three”?  should I be saying “too” or “also”? – oh, the hell with it – for three, the minute movement my foot is making toward my calf in Eagle.  And I do mean minute.  But I saw it.  It happened.

3) The text I got thanking me for my help on something – when I had been convinced my help had been taken for granted.

4) The unabashedly excited welcome my cats give me every time I come home.   Even if I just went to take out the garbage.

5)  The silly, yet utterly necessary, emails that my sisters and I send back and forth all day while we’re all at our separate jobs, in separate states. 

6) Wine. 

7) Bourbon.

8)  And especially…rye.

%d bloggers like this: