Submit to a daily practice. Your loyalty to that is a ring at the door. Keep knocking, and eventually the joy inside will look out to see who is there.
Days 15 and 16 of 40 days of yoga.
Unsurprisingly, I have been very aware of my body over the past 16 days. I think it’s safe to say that while my body has always been my friend, it needs lots of love and care, which I have not always provided.
Some people can treat their body carelessly and get away with it (for a while anyway) – they can eat bad food, stay up all night, take lots of drugs, smoke cigarettes, and flog it mercilessly day after day. Me? I have never been able to do those things. Oh, I have tried, don’t get me wrong, but my body just doesn’t put up with such treatment. It goes on strike, freezes up, leaves me stranded with an empty tank in the middle of nowhere and generally makes it clear that it will not be treated with such disrespect.
My health and vitality has actually improved as I have gotten older – as a child I had asthma and caught every cold and flu that went around. When I recovered from that, I had ovarian cysts for a couple of years as a teenager, as well as postural problems. My mother is a Homeopath and she used homeopathy to treat the asthma and the cysts, with the result that I no longer suffer from any weaknesses in these areas.
My posture is another story – with kyphosis and scoliosis, body pain is what brings me back again and again to yoga. I love how I benefit mentally, emotionally and spiritually from a regular yoga practice – but the physical benefits (and pain and stiffness if I don’t do yoga) keep me practicing and bring me back when I stop.
So, what’s going on in my body with a daily yoga practice?
- I feel stronger. A friend brushed past my arm the other day when I was carrying bags of shopping into the house and remarked on how muscular my arms were. Is that all that yoga you’ve been doing Sara? Muscular? Me? It must be all those sun salutations and downward dogs :).
- I feel more balanced. My hips, sacrum and pelvis area have been stretched, opened and balanced. When I walk, I have the most peculiar feeling, like my hips and pelvis are brand new and very delicate. Sometimes there is a wonderful spacious, swivelling feel, and other times a feeling of weakness and lack of support.
- I am more flexible. This is really important to me, because lack of physical, intellectual and emotional flexibility is what brought me back to yoga as an adult. Every day I can stretch and reach that little bit further; every day I can sink and relax into postures that little bit more.
- My energy is more stable. I seem to have a much more constant flow of energy without the peaks and troughs throughout the day, especially if I start the day with yoga, rather than doing it later. In addition, I am eating less and making better food choices.
- My upper back is complaining. My thoracic area, shoulders and neck are where I hold a lot of tension, aggravation and frustration. It is all stirred up and resisting any change to the status quo – but I know it’s just part of the letting go process. I think I will spend some time each day releasing tension from my upper back and neck!
Sometimes I make poor choices when it comes to what yoga routines to do. This morning I did yoga as soon as I woke up (my new favourite yoga time!), and even though my sacrum felt delicate like a new born baby, I chose a yoga sequence with lots of back bends (camel, bow, locust and cobra). In hindsight that was probably not the most appropriate choice (!) but I guess in walking that fine line between nurturing my body and challenging myself, sometimes I make mistakes. I didn’t hurt myself, but I didn’t have that completed feeling I normally have after doing yoga. In wanting to push myself out of complacency, I must make sure to pay attention to what my body is telling me.
First month paining, second month tired, third month flying. ~ Sharath Jois
If you have been following my journey through 40 days of yoga, pop over to Rufina’s blog, where she is doing her own 40 days of yoga! Believe me you will adore her, just like I do 🙂
To be the first to know when 40 Days of Yoga – Breaking Down the Barriers to a Home Practice will be released – and to go into the draw to win a free copy, click here to register.