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In which the empirically easy becomes hard

September 3, 2011

So I’m two weeks into the new job and still very much in So Far So Good status. The new place has its own special challenges, as all the places with people in them do, but I have fairly interesting stuff to do and really nice people around me.  I haven’t been yelled at during the work day in over a fortnight now, and the cut back to 40 hour weeks is doing wonders for my crow’s feet.  My new schedule even enables me to attend evening yoga classes, a few of which I’ve really missed.

On the down side (which is where I typically reside), morning practice is a near-impossibility now, reduced to 30-45 minutes at – nay, before – the buttcrack of dawn, and just when the studio finally has a decent Mysore schedule during the week that Old Crappy Job would’ve allowed me to enjoy. This was such a huge part of my life for so long, and I’m really missing it.

Then there’s the whole osteoarthritis thing, which is apparently what my clicky neck and stiff SI joint have been all about. At 34, this is abnormal to say the least, and I didn’t much care for the look of concern my doctor gave me when she saw my x-ray report, given that she actually has no concern for me at all under typical circumstances. I’m trapped between this urge to keep a positive attitude and stiff upper lip (to go with my stiff upper sacrum), and the equal but opposing urge to mourn the death of my progression through the Intermediate series. I have yet to find someone who knows enough about both OA and Ashtanga to tell me ifwhenhow to approach LBH or deep backbends. All I have to go on for the moment is that I’m done headstanding, and based on how they feel, I think I may also be done with full expressions of buja pida or setu bandha.

(If this hadn’t been captured on film, I’d say it was psychosomatic. A pitta will do anything to get out of putting weight on her crown.)

But back on the up side, my physical therapy is giving me killer abdominals (shrouded in a thin, but distinctly present cushion of brie and curried cashews). Spending 20-30 long breaths a day in various forms of plank and vasistasana is making everything that’s not impaired by my rusty cartilage really, really strong. Like wackadoo-arm-balance strong. Balancing-in-handstand strong. Almost lifting-into-handstand strong. And maybe if I keep at it, I-can-live-with-a-practice-I-can’t-put-a-name-to strong.

We’ll see.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 9, 2011 12:30 pm

    Liska, I was so sorry to read this! But you know, we’ve been there (cave yogi and glaucoma) the practice isn’t really about being able to do all the asanas anyway. There is a very vocal crowd out there right now that are to my mind ashtangi fundamentalists (also clueless about the human condition but don’t get me started). But there are also people like my teacher — a student of Gurujis — who recognize that bodies are bodies and things happen and things need to be adapted and hell, we’re all getting older everyday and in the end, the practice is just practice no matter if all you can do is sit there. Take care of yourself and just do what you is good for your body.

    with kind thoughts, Loo

    • September 13, 2011 7:46 pm

      Thanks, Loo. You’re right, of course. And I’m lucky to practice in a supportive environment where no one is being too pushy about “right” or “wrong” in the practice. I guess the real obstacle is in my head… you know, where the most stubborn of them always seem to be found!

      I miss you and (and corgi yogi) blogging ~ the cybershala just ain’t the same…

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