Sunday, October 24, 2010

My Brain on Ashtanga

It's a funny thing, ashtanga. It seems to be both good and bad for me at the same time. Like, it makes me feel proud of my body for what it can do, strong, flexible and accomplished. But then, it stirs up my body issues, points out when I haven't treated myself absolutely perfectly, and often makes me feel bad about myself. It helps me treat myself better, as in, if I really want to enjoy my practice I might be more inspired to eat lightly at night, and not overindulge in treats and alcohol. But on the other hand, sometimes indulgence is a good thing, just part of life, and then if I do indulge, and get on the mat anyway, I might be so unhappy that the practice will be miserable, and maybe the entire day. Completely not yogic!

SO, having an injury like a broken foot, one that can't be "muscled through" is an interesting challenge, vacation, and a good time for a little self analysis and "noticing."

Lets start with the good! I am no Polyanna, and believe me I am still all upset about this, but because it can't be helped, I'll start on the positive side.

1. I get to sleep late! Since I have no deadlines, no practice or early teaching to get to, I can just let myself wake up whenever I wake up. Mostly this is about 7:30, but sometimes it's been 8 or 8:30, and really, is that so aweful? Yes, I have a harder time falling asleep when I wake up later and have less activity, but that brings me to point number 2...

2. I can go to bed whenever! This give me the leeway to eat a late meal with the husband, not worry about how it will affect my pashasana or purnamatseyandrasana or lift ups or what have you. And also, if I'm going to bed later, I can eat later and still not have digestion ruin my sleep. My husband loves this! He's a night owl. So just as a side effect, breaking my foot has given me more quality time with the husband. And yes, watching movies on netflix can qualify as "quality time" if normally you'd be snapping at him to turn down the volume so you can sleep. This is better husband time than that.

3. Taking a break from the norm gives me a chance to look at things from a distance. I can see how much I miss it and love it, while also noticing that I am slightly easier on myself when I'm not a slave to the dogma of the practice (as in, I judge myself pretty harshly if I can't do karandavasana, and if I ate too much the night before, I would surely blame it on the celebratory meal with my husband, but if I don't have to do karandavasana at all, who's to judge whether I had too much fun, or whether I was just reasonable?).

4. I have to focus on other parts of the practice. This is a biggie. The breath! The little practice I do is all about the breath. And, without vinyasa to warm me up, I have to really work my ujayii. And bandhas. And gaze. I have to be so so focused and steady just to make it feel like practice at all! This will be great to use when I get back to the regular routine.

5. And finally, it helps me focus on what I CAN do. Every time I get on the mat I think "What can I actually do today?" Rather than, "I'm no good at this. I can't do that. This teacher won't let me...." It starts the practice on a positive note, even though in general I feel bad I can't do the "regular". I am so happy to be beyond the first couple of weeks' trauma and be able to do ANY yoga.

Whoa, I think I just forgot the cons. I guess that'll have to be a separate post. Maybe I'll turn into a Polyanna after all?


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