Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Body and the Mind: A Chicken-Egg Thing

Most of us are familiar with the concept that blockages in the flow of emotional energy are associated with problems found within the body. We learn the notion in yoga (hips don't lie), at the chiropracter or on the massage table ("you seem tense"), in rolfing sessions (never had one, but I've heard....). Sometimes we hear anecdotes from friends that suggest the connection - a story about a woman who hated her legs and then got bone cancer in one of them, a story about how learning forgiveness led to improved backbends.

But as I was thinking about this just now, it occurred to me: which comes first, the body or the mind? Does having tight hips reveal that we are angry about something...OR...does having tight hips make us feel angry? If we have trouble opening up the front body - the heart center - does it mean we are closed off emotionally? OR does having tight pecs make us close off emotionally?

This is not a joke.

Back in college, I remember reading in Social Psychology textbook that forcing a smile can alter the mood favorably. Does cracking open the ribcage (so to speak) alter our ability to love favorably? Does it allow us to forgive more fully? Does releasing the tension in the hips make us feel less angry?

Meanwhile, today, my practice consisted of 5 A's and 5 B's. I just felt spent and didn't want to continue. This is a rare occurrence. Usually, once I get started, I am happy to continue. I think I still need to build up my stamina after my seven-week lay-off. Tomorrow, I will come back to it refreshed, hopefully, and then practice straight through to the moonday (next Wed).


I'm struggling right now. The cooped up-ness of the past month's non-stop sickness in this house, the cooped up-ness of having the kids home for vacation this week (they are loving staying pajamas all day, and in this day and age of go-go-go schedules for kids, who can blame them? And who would want to force activity on them when they would rather sack out?), the bad cold I just got over, the disappointment of realizing that my breasts will always be kind of dented and maybe even a bit lumpy at the corner where they meet my armpits and that my nose is not the perfect ski-slope that I feared ending up with but must have fantasized having. I'm tired. It's winter but it's not snowy. It's just dark and chilly. My dog has some serious behavior problems, which I am just now attending to (dominating behavior towards other dogs when he is on the leash) thanks to The Dog Whisperer, but it takes energy. Found out today that Brian needs braces, and Adam has yet another cavity (Brian inherited my big, healthy teeth that are too big for the mouth of their owner; Adam inherited the Husband's weak enamel but at least they are sized perfectly for his mouth). I feel irritable. I feel raw.

I want to do something with my life.

And I don't mean law. And I don't think that I really have the energy to teach yoga all day long.

I think they call this mid-life crisis.



Karen said...

Instead of struggling to find something to do, instead of trying to decide what to do next, why not just give yourself a year to see what manifests? I'll bet something will. And I'll bet supta k will be easy by then too.

You can just relax and see what happens. You deserve that.

Ursula said...

What to do with the life. I guess it is a life-long struggle/question.

boodiba said...

Time for a sports car and really young boyfriend!!

Just kidding.

I think teaching yoga takes a lot out of people, the energy used to give assists on top of that used to do your own practice? Plus if you're a small woman having to assist people larger than yourself all the time it makes it even harder. Is why I never tried going into teaching. I can sit at a desk and bill for 6 or 7 hours in a day. I'd never be able to bill for 6-7 hours of yoga instruction in one day.

Maybe sign up for a class at Cooper Union? Something creative?

Anonymous said...

I know this comment is five months after the posting but perhaps you will read it.

I feel the same way during the winter and I don't know if it has something to do with not getting as much sun as we should or the depression of not being able to get outside without freezing, but a Yogi once told me that gray days are for looking into ones self and that we should let ourselves do this without being critical of why we are feeling the way we are feeling. (Sounded better when they said it)

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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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