One of my goals this fall is to develop a daily yoga practice. This is something I’ve struggled with for the past 30 years due to the conflicting time demands of school and work.
This first week has been humbling. Doing yoga every day vs. two or three days a week is very physically challenging. The reality of my 50 year-old body is very different from the younger body image in my mind.
The sticking point is my hips – specifically my illiotibial bands. They are very tight, particularly the outer part high up on my quads. Doing hip openers day after day has made this more apparent because I can’t muscle my way through a series like I can when I take a class periodically. I’m just too tired from the previous day and need to back off and do an easier pose. Strength, flexibility and endurance will come in due time, but I need to accept and be content with the now and avoid injury.
I see that my practice is going to be a long journey and I need to exercise self-compassion. On the days when it goes well I can celebrate. One the days when I encounter a blockage, I need to accept it, and still celebrate the fact that I am on a journey.
Yoga is no different from the other journeys of my life including my marriage, career, backpacking and meditation. Those too have had their breakthroughs and their setbacks. I have experienced anger, frustration, fear, injuries, and failure, working thru them, a little bit at a time.
This past week I have been taking basic and intermediate classes at the O2 yoga center in Davis Sq (Somerville, MA) with several different teachers. Their style is very athletically demanding. I’m not sure I like it. What I really want is a style of yoga that stresses the breath and where you hold poses for a long time, not rapid repetitive motion.
This autumn I plan on taking classes as many different studios to sample as many different schools of yoga and teaching styles as possible. I like experimenting like this.
It’s also an economic way to take classes if you buy a new student pass that lets you take an unlimited number of classes for two weeks. The cost of these passes is $25-$40 dollars and it’s a good deal, considering that classes cost between $10-$15 dollars each on a walk-in basis.
This weekend my hips and downward dogs are taking a break and going backpacking. They need a rest.