Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Opposite of Yoga

Yeah, it happens sometimes. I could take the misery and turn it into true yoga. But instead, I stay at home sulking.

I had a horrible night's sleep last night, having fallen asleep on the sofa at some point while watching television. I woke up at 2 a.m. on my belly, with my lumbar spine in deep contraction, realizing that I couldn't straighten out my back at all. I slowly turned over, slowly pulled my knees into my chest and wound up in the fetal position where I stayed until my back unstiffened. This happens to me sometimes - if I sleep on my belly on a soft surface, I wake up in a deep salabasana variation, unable to straighten out. Most of the time, this seems to be not so abnormal for someone who is taking medication that causes joint pain (Arimidex) and another medication that causes bone pain (Zometa). But in the middle of the night, something scary occurred to me: I have osteoporosis in my lower spine. What if one night I wake up with a fractured vertebrae? Or what if this belly-sleeping problem is a SYMPTOM of a fractured vertebrae? Oh, my prematurely aging bones....

And of course, thoughts like those always spill off into thoughts like these: what if it has something to do with cancer? I know I am not being very precise here, but that is all that I can muster the courage to write. Words. How much power do they have? I guess in my mind, a lot.

Then there is the matter of my quadriceps, which are stiff and sore and aching and burning from an overabundance of backbending. This wouldn't bother me nearly as much as it does except for the fact that I have HUGE bruises on the outsides of my thighs. I believe the bruising is from carrying a messenger bag that hits right where the bruises are. And there could be some relationship between the bruising and Marichyasana B, because the bruising is EXACTLY where I bind around my bent leg in that pose. But again...what if? I am rubbing my legs with Tiger Balm and using hot compresses to disperse the pooled blood. And feeling cranky and sleepy and annoyed and grumpy, and all of that is smoke and mirrors...because what I really feel is SADNESS. I feel sorry for myself.

Yep, I feel sorry for myself. And I don't feel like rallying and going to practice only to completely FLAIL and FAIL at Supta K and then rush off to teach a lunchtime class at Yoga Sutra. It feels like much more than I can handle in a day. What I really need is to call my chiropractor and see if she can set something right in my FUCKED UP back and even get things moving along energetically so that my damn bruises heal faster.

When I swear, you know it's bad.

And as I said before, this is the anniversary of my discovery of the vicious beast that was living in the garden of eden that was my body, being fruitful and multiplying, sending out its evil spawn to do damage before I nuclear bombed the area with a potent cocktail that looked like cranberry juice that was "applied directly" to my vein: "Adriamycin, PUSH" as they might say on one of those medical shows. It's not a good time of year for me because of this anniversary. It never is. Surprising, no?

Instead of raising the cry of the victorious warrior, I wimper the moan of the shell-shocked refugee. Even when I pretend it's otherwise...the reality is still there. I hate this time of year. I hate being reminded. I have never had an anniversary party. I have always refused it when asked. This is why.

OK, let's see, what else is on my mind today? Well, there's the crisis of heart I am having with regard to the teaching method employed by my teachers, which requires me to "get" Supta K before moving onto the rest of Primary. So WHAT if I can't do Supta K? It's not like I am ready for Second yet, so Yoga Nidrasana is not looming. I just want to do Primary. Julie and I had a long email communication about this last night, and if you're reading this, J, I hope you are not frustrated....I know that it's not "all that" to finish Primary. But I feel frustrated. I feel incomplete. My back wants to roll. My back wants to play at backbends with Setu Bhanda. My monkey mind wants to have all of the benefits of the Yoga Chikitsa, including the two additional Chakrasanas that come in the last third of the Series and the eight additional Vinyasas. I could use those. I could also use Supta Hasta Padangusthasana and Baddha Konasana. I want to be smooshed in Baddha K.

But here, I think, is the rub: I feel like I would be able to bind in Supta K if it weren't for my fucking breast cancer surgery and ultra shitty reconstuction. And so, not only did I suffer with breast cancer, recovery from surgery, chemo, weight gain, menopause, blah blah blah, but now I am being punished all over again by a body that still won't cooperate. And my teacher is complicit in that punishment. And I am complicit by letting it continue without addressing it. I am depressed by my inaction. I am not practicing today (at least not yet) because I am overcome by inaction.

I think that what I must do is wait until Sir is back in the Shala and have a discussion with him about the rest of Primary and what purpose it serves to keep me from practicing it when I may never be able to do an adequate Supta K, at least until I have more surgery....

Wah. I feel like crying. And what makes it worse is that I am not practicing yoga. At all. This isn't yoga. This is the OPPOSITE of yoga.



Anonymous said...

your yoga is not about getting through the rest of primary.....
you are not being punished though you might feel that way--its all in your head honestly.

be happy where you are, thats where the lesson is for you in more areas than just your yoga practice i think.

stay positive!

Caroline said...

I feel sad that you're in this crumby predicament, and I'm wondering if 'Sir' is fully aware of your situation. I hope that your plan to meet with him goes well.

boodiba said...

Oh I hope you feel better soon. You've had a raw deal.

Personally I don't believe much in the holding people back. If I hadn't started practicing 2nd up to kapo, I would NEVER have opened up my back enough to stand from back bends.

Not to be an instigator, but maybe you should check out other forms of yoga here and there and other studios, if you don't already. I look at other practices as "play" and sometimes it helps me snap out of being overly serious, striving too much etc.

Kathy said...

Hey Lauren,

You're not practicing the opposite of yoga. You're observing your own thoughts and while they might drive you nuts at times, they are what they are. Don't be so hard on yourself. So you want the rest of primary. It's not a crime against humanity. You'll stop wanting it when you get it most likely but probably not until then. I want up to kapotasana. There are days when I want it more than others and there are days when I could care less but the average between them all is that I want it. New poses are fun. It all will come eventually and if it doesn't I'm sure he won't hold you back forever cause you can't bind supta k (maybe for a year or two though ; )) but if it's driving you crazy, talk to Guy about it when he's back. I went through the same thing when I was practicing with him. I did all of primary actually but I think that's only because I didn't start with him and I was practicing with Greg so he couldn't exactly take poses away from me when a teacher there had given them to me. I wasn't binding in Supta K when he gave me second though and that was only after I talked to him about it. My excuse... I wanted to open up my chest and upper back more. And so a few weeks later, he gave me pasasana and I remember the first day of pasasana, he adjusted me and I got this awesome release in my upper back. Of course I blew my hamstring a week or two later as well so maybe that was my karma for being too eager but whatever. We live. We learn. So talk to him. Maybe he'll say no. Maybe not. Either way you'll get some peace from it I'm sure. From October 2004: http://www.katstan.net/mt/archives/000793.html

And it's okay to sulk now and then if that's all you feel like doing. But tomorrow, go to practice. It will make you feel better.

Hope you're feeling better soon.

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

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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.


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