The Unloved Poses

Here’s my friend J-, dropping back.  Still needs work (my drawing, not his drop-back) but I was pretty satisfied to squeeze in some drawing time yesterday, along with a full practice in the early afternoon that felt delicioso.

I haven’t been writing as much lately, and what I have written I’ve been hoarding, the idea being to edit and hone until it was worthy of publication.  That notion has slowed me down quite a bit, so today I thought I’d be more spontaneous.

I’m coming to see that it’s all practice:  breathing, eating, relating to others, unrolling my mat at home or at a class, walking with my dog.  Lately I’m consciously trying to bring as much attention to the practice off the mat as I do to the practice on the mat.  Like how I make breakfast for my children, how we segue from the house to the car with a time limit.  How I handle it when life throws me an extra ball or two, like a sick husband or a special project for school or a child who is going through one of those challenging periods of emotional growth that tax everyone’s patience.  This last month of school, in particular, is challenging because there are so many extra activities.  I think my middle daughter’s elementary school is hosting 4 separate fundraisers.  So I have to exercise that “no” muscle.  I don’t like it, but I don’t like certain yoga poses either and still I do them, trying to bring as much attention and grace as I can muster.

What are those unloved poses?  They are different for everyone, and they change.  Today’s challenge is tomorrow’s joy.  Lately it’s nakrasana, that crocodile jumping thing is just cruel and unusual punishment.    Basically you start in chauturanga dandasana, or low push-up, on the balls of your feet and your hands, core muscles firmly engaged.  Then you hop forward 5 times, then back 5 times.  And that is the cruel sick joke, because I cannot lift my hands off the mat.  So I just jump my feet up and down 10 times until I feel exhausted and ridiculous.  And Setu bandhasana, the one where you feel like your poor neck is not going to hold up this time.  These are the unloved poses, along with the ones in daily life, like when your children defy you in public and you have to decide if this is when you put your foot down, or not.

Breathe.  Breathe again.  Breathe some more.

Or more likely:  forget to breathe.  Remember later.  Chastise self.  Swear to remember next time.

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2 thoughts on “The Unloved Poses

  1. I abhor utkatasana. It feels so unnatural and reminds me how inflexible my shoulders seem to be. But why would they be flexible, there is no reason for a long-time runner to have flexible shoulders. I need to read about the benefits of the pose so I can focus on that instead of the discomfort.

    I really like the drawing, and not just because of who it is. You really captured him and the movement.

    Lately I have been thinking that each day I am planting seeds, and not just in the garden. Each of my actions and words plant seeds for the future. I often think of the lyrics by Seth Bernard and May Erlewine, “better start to love the seeds I’m sowing, because even if I don’t, they’re gonna keep on growing.” And every time I deal with a challenging situation in a less than graceful manner, I think about the planted seed that represents. And then I do exactly what you describe in your last line!

    1. My shoulders are pretty tight too. This will get better in time with utkatasana, prasarita padottanasana C (which I often hold for 10 breaths in home practice, it’s helping), and work towards thighs parallel to the ground.

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