Walk, don’t run!

As a child I ran everywhere. And if I wasn’t running, I was skipping. Not with a rope, just the basic hopping-twice-on-each-foot bouncing form of forward motion that you can only do un-selfconsciously until you’re about ten years old. (Probably much earlier, in these more sophisticated days)

I can still vividly recall the physical impatience I felt to get everywhere. Anywhere. Although when I was indoors I would curl up for hours with a book perfectly contented and absorbed, when I was outside I was always on the move. I wanted to run faster, kick a football further, and fight harder than anyone — and that definitely included the boys as well as other girls.

At school I was always being told to slow down, and I remember frequently being caught running in the corridor and being sent back to the far end to walk the full length at a more sedate pace under the watchful eye of my headmaster. Sooo frustrating!

When I was a teenager and I was diagnosed with ME I slowed down. A lot. And I convinced myself for many, many years that I was too cool for crazy running. Or too intellectual. And because I was ordinarily mobile enough, the years passed and this was the new me…. until I discovered yoga, and found I was actually well enough to practice and gradually increase my stamina. Then all those early years of springing about madly came back to me. I pretty quickly had to learn some discipline for my own safety as well as those around me: I’m still blushing about the time I kicked another yogini in the face, and the time I caused a fantastic domino of headstanding yoginis plus a table lamp…

Now that I’ve stopped practising asana in order to let my hamstring heal, I am getting really physically itchy. It’s been a month of NO practice (bar one try-out, that was definitely a mistake).

So now I’m feeling like the child-me, bursting with energy and excitement, wanting to skip, throw handstands against a wall, roll dizzyingly down a grassy hillside, or run through the rain. Instead I’m being super-careful and am painfully aware of ongoing twinges. To the adult me, no yoga asana feels like some imposed celibacy. The memories haunt me and the absence of it hurts. And like anyone who’s just been dumped and sees loved-up couples at every turn, I feel a pang everytime I see someone walking down the street with a yoga mat tucked under their arm. I envy them and my body craves movement, length, and stretch.

I am still the impatient child, but I’m trying to cultivate some inner stillness to go with my imposed outer stillness. I’m currently practising the discipline of yoga through physio exercises and meditation. It so much doesn’t seem like fun that it just has to be good for me. And I want to just walk the school corridor/physio rehab once, not keep getting sent back to the beginning because I moved too quickly.

Wish me luck with my next physio appointment!

2 thoughts on “Walk, don’t run!

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  1. When a knee injury had me reorganizing my asana practice, I started to discover how to develop core strength… and when one of my groins became overworked from all the core work, I rediscovered backbends… and so it goes. Trying, falling, readjusting, trying again (hopefully with enhanced alignment) – wobbling – finding ways of letting the body access its own intelligence. That’s the practice : )

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    1. Thank you – I felt really encouraged by this comment! First yoga injury for me so it all just feels bewildering and a bit overwhelming. Since I’ve been trying to find ways of continuing my yoga practice without asana for a while, and now (as you say) reorganizing my practice (with a bit of help from my physio and a bunch of anatomy books) I can see how to find new ways to practice. I did feel totally stopped in my tracks, but as you say the falling down, failing, and learning how to get up again IS the practice. It’s just not what I expected… but there’s a lesson! thanks so much for stopping by my blog and sharing your thoughts and experience. x

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