Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Union... With Pain?

As my boss instructed, I've been going to yoga this week. And I've noticed something interesting I hadn't noticed before.

After a month of on-and-off flakey practice, without any semblance of even the full Primary series at any one point in time... Getting back on the mat again was of course going to be brutal. Apart from the obvious muscle atrophy - OK, that's a bit dramatic but you know what I mean with the loss of strength and flexibility... I also started to notice how out of alignment I'd become - that weird scoliosis in my tailbone that's twisting my pelvis hadn't been noticeable in the last month, but in the last week since I've been back on the mat, my pelvis and back have started to feel out of whack again. The knots in my shoulders and neck which hadn't been noticeable in the past month have suddenly flared up again and are screaming out for help. So I've booked an appointment with my Osteopath.

With the amount of bodywork I've had over the years, I know that these chronic issues didn't just "suddenly flare up". They've always been there, I just haven't been tuned in enough to feel them. Which makes me wonder... I've tended to "blame the yoga" for some of these muscle knots and aches that I've had. It's easy to think this way especially since I'm starting to feel them again now that I've started up my practice again.

Now I'm realizing that it's not actually the physical yoga that's causing these knots and aches. My body issues are there and have been there... The yoga's just helped me tune into them. In the past couple of years, I've learnt that most of my issues are simply posture and ergonomics when I sit at my desk, coupled with the effects of the scoliosis. I can't believe that a month without practice had made me so out of tune with my body - to the point where it didn't feel like I had anything wrong. Actually, I don't know if that's a good or bad thing. Coz now that I'm more in tune and feeling these aches and pains, I've gotta spend more money to do something about it!

Yoga as "Union" - a blessing and a curse at the same time. HA!

So it's back to the Osteo tomorrow for a bit of a tune-up.

In other practice news, I've still been working on standing back up from dropbacks. It's touch and go: sometimes I get it, sometimes I don't. Today, teacher M said something so many teachers before her have told me "You're thinking too much about it. Don't think, just do." She told me to stop rocking back and forth so many times before standing up, coz she can see me starting to analyze the move the more I rock. HAHA! (I think I usually take about 4 rocks before hurling myself up?) So I cut it down to about 2 (I think? I dunno, I wasn't counting. See? I stopped thinking about it!) And her advice worked! Somehow when there's a teacher's eagle-eye on you too, you're just able to channel something from within and just do it. Weird.

Also, since my practice at the shala has been sporadic, I've only mostly been practicing the Primary series while I've been there. I've started to add back my Intermediate poses again and today teacher M asked "You're not doing Kapotasana?" I replied my last pose given was Laghuvajrasana. And she dangled the carrot in front of me by saying "Oh, I think you're ready for Kapo, but let's see you practice through Laghu a few times more first if that's been your last pose."

Holy shit! OK, I know you're not supposed to want poses and to be honest, I'd given up hope already having been stuck at Laghuvajrasana for 1.5 years now. HAHAHA! So this is kind of exciting. There is some kind of method to this madness of being given poses... Right now, I'm finding it's injected a renewed enthusiasm for my practice. I could've mail-ordered a pair of Lululemons for a similar effect, but somehow this feels more satisfying. And smug. ;) I'm allowing my ego some room here even though I'm TOTALLY counting my chickens before they hatch (which never bodes well, so the ego will be properly put back in place in no time...) :p



  1. First of all, hahahaha about the lulus! I've used that strategy many times.

    I so understand/identify with the blame-the-yoga temptation, but in the end I have to I agree: practice tends to uhh illuminate anything I've been hiding from myself, on any level: physical emotional or mental. Somehow it all gets outed on the mat. And while I may curse that fact from time to time, it is one of the many reasons I am grateful for the practice.

  2. Re: bodywork: I started to tune into my neck pains from bad posture sitting in front of computer for years after starting yoga + deep massage work. Non-yoga friends wonder if I'm over-using my body, or why else would I want so much more bodywork. Being tuned out of body = less pain now, but I think when we all turn 70, I'll be the one with a straighter back than all of my no-yoga / no-exercise friends! (or at least I hope)

  3. Fran - you're right. Sometimes the emotional/ mental can be quite subtle. But there's no denying the yoga does bring things to the surface.

    Yyogini - I'm with you on that hope! Glad to know I'm not the only one who seems to be stuck on bodywork! ;)

  4. Hmmm... kapotasana... yeahhh!, good that you are back on the mat S! :-) and now I am tempted to have some body work too, I need a massage my back is taking wayyy tooooo loooong to open!

  5. Claudia - do it! I've just come back from the Osteo... Bliss... :)

  6. I think it's a good thing that yoga brings your attention back to your aches, bad posture and scoliosis. So yeah, you needed a treatment, but it's an investment in your body, right? ;) AND you feel good! Solution = do more yoga, just like the boss ordered :P

    Also. Envy. Where do you get your Lululemons? Import tax for stuff outside the EU is murderous!

  7. Chinois - I haven't actually ordered them since I've been in NL, I stocked up just before I left Sydney so I'm probably good for a while. LOL!

  8. The most important benefit of yoga is physical and mental therapy. Meditation is especially effective in the reduction of stress as it works to manage both the physical indicators and emotional strain of stress.
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