Just recently, I was bought a book about one woman’s journey with yoga. Now straight off the bat, I will admit that yoga speaks to me as a form of exercise. And, yeah, OK, I like the hippie, hippie free, free aspect of it. I first started doing yoga 9 years ago when I was at TAFE studying a Certificate III course. One morning it was mentioned by a classmate that one of the free to air channels in Australia had a yoga show on really early in the morning. How early?? Really early!! Even the sparrows weren’t awake yet and it was still dark out – though this could also have been because it was coming in to winter and it’s always dark at 6 o’clock in winter.
So, anyway….I started doing the classes that were on the show. I felt great. I went out and bought some yoga videos to supplement the classes on the weekend because at this stage I didn’t know too much about what yoga was on offer in my town. Anyway, I was happy in my little solo yoga bubble. I was feeling energetic and relaxed. Nothing was too big of an issue because I was able to deal with it.
Then I went back to work. At first, i was still getting up really early to do the yoga, but then the show was taken off the air – good thing I still had the videos to yoga by! I was using the videos every morning and on weekends. Then I started working nights after changing jobs. That was still no problem – I just yoga-ed in the morning when I got home before getting everyone else up. Then we moved. Admittedly it was only a couple of suburbs over, but with riding a bicycle to work on the other side of town, I didn’t have enough left in the tank to yoga. slowly, my yoga practice tapered off. I still craved the feeling of serenity that yoga had given me, but couldn’t make it work without time with the family being sacrificed. I changed jobs again, was still riding to work but not as far away. I was ecstatic! This meant that i could start up again. Oh joy!!! Sadly, reality was that I was getting up early to get ready for work and getting home in time to make dinner and spend time with family. I did try to squeeze in a quick routine that would help to unkink me from being bent over the bike, but even that eventually fell by the wayside.
The last time I put in any serious effort with yoga was 5 years ago. That got stopped pretty quickly when i was diagnosed with cancer. There was a limit to what i could do exercise-wise. I asked about being able to continue, but was advised that I had to be careful not to bend too far forward or lay on my stomach. This vetoed any forward bend work or any inversions. Had i really thought about it, I could have done strength work using poses like Warrior or Triangle, but I was too demoralised to think it through fully.
So between now and then, i toyed with yoga. I would say to my partner that I should start again and he would offer the encouragement, but i wouldn’t stick with it because it got too hard. I had stored all my feelings from that time in my lower back and hips and everytime I worked these, i would want to curl up into a ball and cry.
The question now is….what’s changed? I think after reading the book that i mentioned, I felt that I needed to do this so that I can deal with all the crap stored in these areas. I totally believe that you store the negativity in areas of the body. Before i got sick, I never had any back problems. It seems that the longer i stay away from yoga and confronting all that I have been through, the more I have back issues. It’s not like I have pinched the sciatic nerve or anything, I just don’t have the mobility that i once did. Yeah, I know this happens as we get older, but not like this. Besides I’m not even 40 yet!! It seems that now i am mentally ready to do this and with the kids at school all day and my partner at work, if i find i can’t get up off the floor because I’m overwhelmed with emotion, then, it’s OK because i can lay there and let it roll over me and be dealt with.
The name of the book that i was reading is POSER – My life in twenty-three yoga poses by Claire Dederer. I got the book on a Friday morning, started it that afternoon and finished by the Sunday night. Normally, i don’t read like this unless it’s a really good book, so I think that speaks for itself. The last book that I read like that was a Sci-Fi story. There were parts in this book that i totally identified with and it seemed like the author was talking directly about me. I know that’s not the case, but I identified that strongly.
In the book Claire says that she didn’t go to yoga with friends because she didn’t want to share it with them. This is why i never bothered to find a class near me because I didn’t want to be there with everyone else. I like the solitary practice of being at home. The ridiculous thing about it is that I would improve in my practice by having a teacher correct my poses, but I just can’t bring myself to going to a class. It feels too much like going to a gym to me, even though everybody is there for the same thing.
Anyway, yesterday was my first day back doing yoga seriously again. I was so proud of myself for getting through the full sun salute that was on the DVD that I used. Last time i tried, i stopped after the first round. This time all the way through, even doing it with mostly push downs to get into cobra from plank – i only used my knees twice out of the 6 rounds. Then i got through the moon salutes that followed. So proud of myself!! This morning I got up at 5.45 and did the warm up and then the strength poses of Warrior and Triangle with balance poses of Tree and Eagle. I got through that as well and didn’t feel as out of shape has i had before. There wasn’t much struggle this time either. My shoulders are sore from the push down into Cobra from yesterday, but i can live with that because it reminds me that i did it.
I plan on keeping this going until i get to the point where i hit the wall and am able to deal with everything that i have suppressed into my back and hips. I’m not looking forward to doing any of the inversions, but i think that i will wait until I feel more confident with the sun and moon salutes and the strength postures before i confront my lack of confidence with Wheel. Everytime that i think about Wheel, I remember that I used to be able to do it and that the last time i tried, I couldn’t do it as easily because the confidence that i use to have isn’t there. Once i get that back, watch out Wheel, you will be conquered.
Anyone who has done yoga and then given it away, should read the book i mentioned. I think that there is a lot of everyone’s own journey in there and hopefully it will make you feel like reacquainting yourself with a non-judgmental friend who will help you to face your problems and deal with them.