Well, hello aching muscles! You haven’t been around for a while!

surprise speech bubbleI totally surprised Hubby the other day (and I mean surprised to the point of speechlessness) when I ventured that I don’t really think of myself as ‘sick’ anymore, more as someone pretty well, but just being careful. [If not you’re not a regular reader, I was diagnosed with ME (aka Chronic Fatigue Syndrome more years ago than I care to count, and have been getting increasingly well over the last few years].

I don’t think this was a hubristic thing to say. Maybe a little over-confident, at the very worst. But I think it’s realistic, despite Hubby’s surprise. So I just have to deal with it when I then have a less good day. Like today.

bolster and blocksSo my yoga practice today was more of the ‘rolling around on a bolster with socks on’ type, rather than the ‘sweaty dynamic’ type. But, as always, I learned so much from this quiet exploration that it makes me blush to think how reliant I am in class on the teacher telling me what to do and how to feel. I guess it’s just a different way of learning, and actually I know
without that led practice with abundant alignment cues as well as rich commentary on the bigger value of what we’re practicing I wouldn’t have these quiet in-between experiences, these tiny tiny eureka moments. I can only have my yoga because my teacher has his yoga, and shares something of that in his classes.

I’m full of doubt at the moment about fast classes and whether they’re a good thing or just an addictively nice thing. But what I am certain of is that practicing only one way (just fast classes) isn’t what I need. Although those classes leave me feeling physically released and full of endorphins and stuff, the foundation that makes this possible is arguably in the space between, the times at home when it’s just me practicing in silence, figuring out how to move, what feels right, how long I want to hold, how my breath is leading me.

Today my muscles are very, very sore, even at rest. Perhaps especially at rest? So that’s where my exploration began, with the question of whether stretching would make them feel more or less uncomfortable. I’ve learned over the last few years that it does usually help, but it takes a while for me to relax through the discomfort and into the good part of a stretch.

light bulb momentWith muscles so sensitive, I could feel sensations in my body that I’m not usually so aware of. Not necessarily nice to experience, but since I’m trying to understand more about how the body works anatomically and what this might mean for the way I work in asana practice, or any particular asana, it was actually quite helpful! Lessons come in surprising disguises.

small eureka moment #1: I could really feel the difference the tilt of the pelvis made in engaging my hamstrings. I noticed this most easily kneeling on all fours and doing straight leg raises. The more I engaged my core to bring the pelvis parallel with the floor, the more the hamstring worked (or complained, as was the case today!). Duh, I’m sure my physio explained this to me, but not in this particular movement, so a new realisation of something I theoretically understood

small eureka moment #2: in plank if I try to extend my heels backwards I can’t help lock my knees — which doesn’t seem a good thing. Perhaps there’s an in-between action I’ll eventually find… I think I have the same experience in Tadasana as well, which figures.

small eureka moment #3: because I’m lacking in energy today I found it helpful to turn some poses around 90 degrees so that I could practice lying down instead of sitting up. So for example I could practice a more relaxed shape like seated Paschimottanasana using a strap round my feet, lying on my back, gently exploring the relationship between my lower back as I extended my spine along the mat and angled my legs.

small eureka moment #4: My meditation teacher often used the expression ‘friendly awareness’ to encourage me to confront physical and mental discomfort. I think I’m just starting to understand something about how I might practice this in my yoga.

So not a bad day really.

Plus I found that modifications can apply to more in life that making asanas more comfortable: I just discovered that if I put a mixing bowl on top of the kitchen stool rather than the somewhat higher workbench, it’s loads less tiring on my arms to make cake batter!

The things yoga helps with, eh?

And now I reckon it’s nap time.

5 thoughts on “Well, hello aching muscles! You haven’t been around for a while!

  1. Sthira sukham asanam – it’s all about balance. I had an idea that to practise astanga yoga I needed to do full primary or secondary every day. This lead to an injury that definitely slowed things down. Now I see the wisdom in varying my practice day to day, depending upon what’s going on in my bodymind.
    You have such an inspiring attitude to practice and to life, babycrow, and you enrich other lives by sharing it. Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Similar lessons for me too. I learnt the hard way that all I need to do is not listen to my mind but very attentively to my body.
    Modifications from asana have translated into my life off the mat as well. Mostly sit cross legged while working, am barefeet all day except when I step out of home (contemplating running barefeet too but guess it will be a while). I’m thoroughly fascinated by the human body and end up observing similarities and differences between different bodies.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad to hear our experiences are similar. I came across a quote once “the mind yells, the heart whispers’ which is very true for me. But now my body has started communicating at a volume somewhere between the two. so much to listen to! but it’s all good! 🙂
      On barefoot running, have you tried barefoot running shoes as a way to start (but they too need cautious use)?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Walked barefoot a few times but haven’t quite gotten over the inhibition to run on the roads without any shoes! Some day…
        It’s been over half a year since I got rid of my slippers at home and my feet feel more stronger. I’ve found arches developing, no twisting of my ankles and open soles.

        Like

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