It comes and goes

What’s your motivation? Like most people I vacillate between various states, I’d say there are really just two underlying everything, love and fear. When love is in charge, all is good, even when it’s not, because there is empathy, compassion, clarity, understanding, among other positive points, however, fear, though at times helpful, brings out worry, anger, irrational thoughts, impulsive choices, and stress. Firefighters are helpful when needed but they break doors and windows to get the job done…in other words you don’t need to pull out the cannons to get rid of the anthill, keep perspective! 

About three weeks ago, I started noticing a new pain in the top of my hands. It came on suddenly one morning, so badly I couldn’t put any weight into them, especially the right. I couldn’t do a sun salutation at all, and I panicked. I knew aging and my Rheumotoid arthritis could alter my practice, but I never thought I’d lose a basic down dog. It scared me, badly. I mean, seriously, yoga helped me through my worst, first starting out, what could I do without being able to put any weight in my hands? I freaked out inside because if a flare could take away this, I just wanted to give up…..( fear negating rational and compassionate thought!) 

I went into denial on the outside. I wrapped my right hand for support, went back to practice and teaching the next day popping a couple of Advil. But I wasn’t ok, I was afraid. Afraid of losing control, and as a recovering control freak, this was unpleasant at best. I haven’t always been so kind to myself, everyone is their own worst critic usually, and I can admit, my self loathing had been a consistent piece of who I was, until I found peace on the mat and forgiveness in my failures. I clearly remember the first moment that sensation of compassion filled my heart, ( yet even as I write that statement, I hear Arnold Schwarzenegger in my head from The Terminator talking about skynet becoming self aware..lol) it was overwhelming in the best way…yet as a human being, I forgot to remember it’s ok to still fail at times in things we don’t usually fail. Oh the joys of a monkey brain! 

The most remarkable part of this is I didn’t figure out why I was being such a crazed impatient psycho until I was quietly suffering from a massive panic attack during intense turbulence on a flight down to the Caribbean for a family vacation last week. I was breathing through it, knowing the competence of the pilot, knowing the logic of the safety of air travel, when it dawned on me, I wasn’t in control of the plane, just like I felt I wasn’t in control of my illness.  I had forgotten to have faith because I had let fear be my motivator for the past few weeks in just about everything, instead of love. 

What’s funny is about a month prior I had reached out to anatomy guru, David Keil, for insight on how to keep my grips with a crappy pincher grasp due to this on going flare, his response was awesome, but at the time I wanted something more concrete: 

I think you know the answer to your own questions. But just in case you need to hear it from someone else…. Modify as necessary when you’re flaring. More importantly, work on the inner judge who is having a problem with the modifications when they’re necessary. Look at the frustration, which of course is anger. Be compassionate to yourself.

The asanas themselves are not that important, but how you relate to doing them is critical for growth.

Om shanti,

David

Yes, how I relate to doing them. In other words, motivation through love of trying not fear of failing. Thank you David! 

The week away of vitamin D did me well to soothe my soul, relax and let go of the fear…the view didn’t hurt either!  

 

As for practice on vacation? Everyday, nice and smooth, I’m happy to say, with the toughest part in picking where…the tile floor of the hotel room or the “sanctuary” room off the gym, that had the uncanny ability to blast Party Rock Anthem while attempting kapotasana:) I went for the music distractions over the cement floor. 

 

Let it go and surrender.

 

 

The first time I ever did a full led primary, I can’t say I enjoyed it. Alas, I was proficient at that point up to navasana but admittedly the next few asana fell in the you’ve got to be kidding me category. I mean seriously, my legs and arms just balked at the places they were supposed to end up and I think I may have had tears in my eyes at my feeble attempt at suptakormasana, which in turn made me angry with myself for even having an ego about it at all. I didn’t yet own yoga clothes and practiced mostly in my pajama bottoms and a tank top. I also thought lululemon was pronounced lulumon…my daughters still make fun of me for that one. I was a rebel without a clue. My research had been about philosophy versus spandex. ( I still have my favorite rainbow striped pants that I break out for home practice some days when I really need it:)) I can openly say if someone told me the next sentence would be truths at some future point, I would not have believed them. I not only love led primary but as well, went through a morning process when I switched over to a daily intermediate practice. In all honesty, to the point I could have sabotaged any further progress and reverted back. 

Time and dedication change many things. Those next few poses in primary have become enjoyable places of stillness. I still am waiting to enjoy kapotasana, I respect it, I’m stabile in it and do it as part of my daily, but the love hasn’t fully developed yet..I still hoping for it! A sense of humor helps. I can even breathe well in it about half the time, and I’m finally past the hump of all the leg behind the head asana messing with my backbend…Yet, led day of primary has everything I covet about practice, it’s dynamic, sweaty, intense, yet soul soothing and such a profound meditative movement,  at least when my mind cooperates! This piece is what I’m hoping to regain in intermediate series if my body and mind allow it. 

The fluidity of the asana becomes ingrained to allow surrender to where ever I am.  Letting go of trying for more breaths, deeper bends, a tighter bind, or confident balance and just finding the tipping point past effort to experiencing calm and ease. Yes it exists in some places. Even in my most challenging asana, on some days during intermediate it exists, and in that I know, it can eventually become the norm instead of the occasional experience but alas not yet, just like that first led primary.