Thursday, June 15, 2006

Worst practice ever

Or close to it. Physically, I felt drained. Mentally, my mind was racing. At least it wasn't racing out of the room. But it was in full swing within the room, alternately hating on and pitying myself in a big big way. Stiff joints, painful joints, fear of stiff and painful joints, who could say what it was, which it was at any given moment or which came first?

I do know that I went in with a good attitude. But somewhere around my first chatturanga, where my wrists ached, or perhaps my first down dog, where there was no room in my shoulders for my usual stretching of my chest towards my thighs in order to open up my sorry armpits, I got an inkling of what was going to be a disappointing and alienating 90 minutes. Of course, just yesterday I had been high-fiving myself for generally being very focused during practice and NOT wanting to run screaming from the room no matter what happens on the mat. Of course.

I don't things really began to disintegrate (literally and figuratively) until Uttita Parsvakonasana. I usually find a welcome stretch in my side body and feel my twist beginning to blossom. But today, I just felt scrunched. I tried to calm myself down despite further troubles in Parivritta Parsvakonasana, trying to drown out the chant in my mind that went something like this: "As goes Parivritta Parsvakonasana, so goes Marichyasana" with kinder, less condemning words that went something like this: "It's alright, just let it go."

But when I couldn't touch my pinkies down in Prasarita Padotannasana C, my entire practice collapsed around me. Imploded. Poof. Any semblance of focus was gone. I lost count in PP D, I barely even bothered in Parsvotanasana, I practically collapsed onto Xtina as she held me up in Uttitha Hasta Padangusthasana and I was sure my standing right knee was going to give out as I folded over in, shit, I can't even remember the name of the next pose - you know, the one where you're standing and balancing and you bind one lotus leg and fold over? I am a mess!

By the time I got to the seated postures, I was so far behind where I usually am that I pretty much gave up on getting any sort of adjustments. But somehow, and I have no idea how because I certainly wasn't rushing, couldn't even have rushed if I wanted to, I ended up in Marichyasana A with 15 minutes left of teacher presence. I am sure I don't need to tell you that all four of the Marichyasanas were miserable, awful, painful, achey and left me feeling like I had been hobbled. And then there was my uneventful Supta K after which I folded over into child's pose and moped for about 10 minutes.

Somehow I managed to pull out six Urdvha Dhanurasanas and some nice lotus sitting at the end. But no inversions at all. In Savasana, I was not a peaceful corpse. I was an agitated, angry yogini ghost.

The source of my discomfort? I want to blame a lack of sleep, and I want to blame my lack of sleep on a combination of having too much end-of-the-school-year stuff on my plate (the Museum Mile was just one of the almost-daily physically exhausting activities on the calendar), coupled with the government's regulation of controlled substances, which means that I can't renew my presciption for my "mother's little helper" until a hard copy shows up in the mail. Yeah, for those who enhance their sense of well-being with herbal remedies such as St. John's Wort, Melatonin and the like, allow me to explain: there is such thing as "renewing" a prescription for the pharmaceutal version of valerian, whose name also starts with a V.

Yeah, okay, I know what you're thinking. Like Rush Limbaugh and Matthew Perry, my use of my drug of choice began with a specific medical purpose. In my case, it was prescribed for me as an anti-nausea drug while on chemo. And then it just became one of the pills in my daily repertoire. But my drug of choice does not produce the debilitating withdrawal effects of prescription analgesics like percoset, oxycodone and the like. On the other hand, while it's not like I have the shakes when I let my prescription run out before I have another one in hand, I do feel somewhat "off" when I have to go without.

Am I suffering a bit as I wait for today's mail? A bit. Did it ruin my practice today? Perhaps.
So, am I an addict? Nah.

I am sure that this will not sit well with some out there. But it's the truth, and I don't think it's fair of me to lead anyone out there to believe that my calm demeanor is attributable in its entirety to all the yoga I practice. So, there you have it. Shoot me.



jody said...

buck up your better than that!

samasthiti said...

I know where you are coming from.
It will be better tomorrow.
Mine is better today...

Tiffersll said...

UGH, I know what you mean - I've had so many practices where I wanted to leave right after I said the opening prayer. Give yourself some credit, you went to class and did something. I didn't even practice today...and I go to the studio to check people in. I wish I had, I'm in an even worse mood because of it.

Words of advice from a fellow ashtangi:

Too much thinking, don't think about it.

Sergio said...

Sending you positive energies...
I wasn't there today, either. Wait, I HAVEN'T PRACTISED AT ALL TODAY!
I, too, have used valerian more than once. That's not supposed to be bad. And if someone thinks it what?

j said...

addicted? maybe not. dependant? maybe. neither one is a good thing. for what purpose do you take this medicine other than that you used too?

j said...

interesting, i wouldn't have supposed you to be a person who had a calm demeanor

Anonymous said...

Bravo! For SO LONG I felt like a total failure for needing meds when I had an ashtanga practice - I felt like I was failing at life, at yoga - at all of it. So I stopped taking the meds...Ha - no practice, no life, no getting out of bed! So yeah, some of us (if yu live in New York, ALL of us) need a little "help"). I'd LOVE to know the vitamins that Tom Cruise and others swear by for depression as an alternative to meds - I've searched high and low and no one can tell me what vitamins they are. Until they do, its meds for me!
Now - about your practice - I still maintain that you way over analyze every little thing. Its a life-long practice - some days good, others not. Why dwell. Just do it. Sir says your practice is a mirror of your life...something to think about.

nobodhi said...

Hi Lauren

changing the subject...I enjoyed your post about the dead birds so much I'm wondering if I could ask your permission to reprint it along with the image in the next edition of the 'Artdate' newsletter which I put together bi-monthly for Adelaide Central School of Art.
Check out past copies at

thank you

Anonymous said...

Vioxx, Valium or Viagra?

Sue said...

Sergio, I think Yoga Chickie means a prescription helper V, not the herbal helper valerian, I'm sure you'll get it, you're a med student after all right?

Yoga Chickie, I don't know your full situation, but it's possible that you are dependent on the V. It's not something you should suddenly stop taking, you'll end up feeling some pretty bad effects. If you're ever looking to come off it, do it slowly, don't just stop it out of the blue.

No judgement. Best wishes for a better practice tomorrow!

yoga chickie said...

Emailed you, Nobodhi! Thanks!


Emily said...

Hope you are feeling better today. You always seem very cheerful and sometimes it's good to give oneself a break from always having to project a cheery and positive facade to the world. Interesting what Anonymous said about urban dwellers all needing help. Sometimes the only way I can cope with bouts of feeling awful about life is to remind myself I always have the option of going to the docs for a prescription. Haven't got there yet but the idea it's there really helps. It probably beats self medicating with booze or illegal drugs, which most of my friends and myself have done in the past.

Anyway, hope life is feeling sunnier for you all.

Anonymous said...


Copyright 2005-2007 Lauren Cahn, all rights reserved. Photos appearing on this blog may be subject to third party copyright ownership. You are free to link to this blog and portions hereof, but the use of any direct content requires the prior written consent of the author.

About Me

My photo
Northern Westchester, New York, United States
I live by a duck pond. I used to live by the East River. I don't work. I used to work a lot. Now, not so much. I used to teach a lot of yoga. Now not so much. I still practice a lot of yoga though. A LOT. I love my kids, being outdoors, taking photos, reading magazines, writing and stirring the pot. Enjoy responsibly.


Ashtanga Blogs

Thanks for reading Yoga Chickie!