My body is teaching me some hard lessons this week, mostly concerning the consumption of beer and ice cream.  In spite of my inability to get my nutrition back on track after spending the Thanksgiving holiday with family, I had hoped to jump right back into Intermediate on Sunday.  But after an honest evaluation of Saturday's Primary performance, moving forward seemed unwise.

I took it one pose at a time and practiced full 1st plus 2nd to Ardha Matsyendrasana.  It was the longest practice I've done in a while, but I badly needed every bit of it.  The backbends weren't as hard as I had feared, but jump backs are still completely AWOL and I haven't bound Marichy D in a week.  I don't have a scale, so I can't be sure, but I feel like I'm carrying an extra seven pounds and all of it in the belly.

Ever since the drive back from Wisconsin, my mind has felt much better but my body is falling apart.  In addition to the expanded waistline, the right side of my back is flaring up from an old injury and both shoulders are threatening revolt.  My neck is tense, my hips are tight, and somehow I've got what feels like a shin splint on the left side.  It's a mystery.  Or not.  I've been dealing with some extra stress and the short days of the season make me anxious.  We've had cold, dark rain in Austin for the past few days which compels us all to stay inside.  On top of that, the practice has been relatively sparse and since I am not yet teaching yoga anywhere, I am spending a lot more time writing at my less-than-ergonomic desk.  All these things are weighing in and I really feel unwell.

Yesterday I didn't practice, and since I don't have to justify myself to you, I won't.  But I got back on the horse today and tackled Intermediate... sort of.  It was hard.  Really hard.  I probably shouldn't have bothered.  Pasasana was bound on neither side.  Krounchasana was an eyebrow raiser and Kapotasana a struggle as I clawed my way to my pinkie toes and hung on for dear life.  By this point in the practice, the urge to purge was ever present.   I didn't even attempt the actual the LBH postures, instead opting for exclusively reclining variations for fear my spine would snap under the pressure.  Even the bind in Tittibhasana was accomplished only with the aid of a towel.  Pincha took at least 5 attempts with just as many tumbles.  I'm in rare form, friends.  Rare form, indeed.

But you know what?  It was one of the best Savasanas I've had in a while.  I lingered.  I focused and felt real release.  Of course, I'm glad I practiced.  But tomorrow, it's Primary --  at least the first half -- before jumping into any Intermediate.


  1. You're doing great, just by doing. Keep it up. Love hearing your struggles, it's inspiring. Thanks...:)

  2. And I'm beating myself up for blowing off my favorite Level 2 class last night! Truth be told, I was suffering from a bit of a physical malady too. I had consumed a second helping (small one) of 15 bean soup and was living in mortal fear of going to class with other people. So I stayed home, listened to kirtan and read some back issues of Yoga Journal.

  3. Anon - Thanks for the encouragement.

    Mo - Hahahaha, I know the post-bean yoga fear well. ;)

  4. Megan, your poor body sounds like it's the perfect candidate for a good, long, relaxing massage. (Hey, that's what I would do.) At least you're still practicing; I'm still stalled. Remember, don't let yoga ruin your life (though it will probably ruin it anyway). Take care of yourself.

  5. Jason has a great post that I've found encouraging during/after/before a hard practice: http://leapinglanka.blogspot.com/2006/11/ashtanga-vinyasa-yoga-practice-being.html

    The quote:

    "It also forced me to take a long view of things, because once you start practicing every day, the body's more minute and heretofore unnoticed tics and nuances suddenly become readily apparent, and this, in turn, is when the practice becomes a true practice; that is, when you've abandoned accomplishment in order to get through it. A bad physical day — a day of physical discomfort and unease — will quickly wipe out the novelty factor of yoga. The novelty factor: "Look Ma, I'm a yogini! I'm wearing my yoga capri pants, I have my yoga mat bag, and I have my mat! Wow, I just put my leg behind my head!" Injuries also have the same effect, but that's a whole different post."

    The practice is there, whether I'm flexible or stiff or enthused or tired or uninspired or happy or angry or focused or distracted.

    And to me, the beauty of a daily morning practice means there are fewer opportunities for my mind to fuck with me. When the alarm goes off, I get up, drink coffee, walk the dog, and go practice. Every day. If it weren't every day, it would be so tempting to make excuses: today will be a rest day. Or, I'll practice tonight. The routine and the fixed series zeroes out the brain. Five Surya A, five Surya B, everything is rote, blanked out, fixed.