Days 15 and 16…a story of my body

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!
yoga
Now that is upper back and shoulder flexibility! (Photo credit: GO INTERACTIVE WELLNESS)

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.

8 comments

  1. So inspiring! You will have to post pictures later… you should have done before and after- that would really get some of us on the mat! 😉 I can’t believe how stiff and unflexible my knee is after surgery… having been able to do pigeon, easily, for years- there is no way right now. I’ll need to make it a new year’s goal to get back to good health. Nice posts.

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    • Gawd – before and after photos! I hadn’t even thought about that 🙂 The pigeon is one of those poses I have hardly ever done – not sure why – but I would like to start including it in my sequences. I definitely wouldn’t be doing it after knee surgery!

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  2. This reminds me of why I started doing yoga again after I started working full time. My body, like yours, is pretty sensitive when it’s not being taken care of and I was developing lower back aches from sitting all day (and I’d only been working for 3 months). Once I started yoga, it all went away.

    On a tangent, I was at the bookstore yesterday when I picked up a book (in Chinese too!) that talked about the doshas in our bodies and I immediately thought of you and your blog. It’s so great how our online lives can find its way into our “real” lives! 🙂

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    • yes, I am positive I am not alone. And I wonder, now that I think about it, if everyone’s bodies need extra care – but some people just don’t notice the messages! I for one don’t like to live in discomfort, so maybe that’s why I notice :). I love that my words are resonating with you across the world in a bookshop!

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  3. Great list of yoga benefits! It’s often the way that having a reason for practicing yoga – some kind of suffering we’re looking to relieve – makes us more dedicated on the path. I’m sure if I hadn’t had back issues, I wouldn’t have been so diligent about practice!

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    • I think it’s all abut relieving some kind of suffering at first; and there is so much suffering on so many levels in this world. And then it becomes about prolonging those feelings of wellbeing you feel on the mat into the rest of your life, or at least that’s how I am experiencing it!

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  4. Just wanted to let you know that my extremely “fit and proud of it ” husband is amazed at the soreness he is now feeling after just one yoga session – aha!! He is surprised at how much he enjoyed doing yoga. I wanted to warn him to be careful not to hurt himself by pushing too hard, but you know how that goes. I will let him explore at his own pace and learn. Meanwhile, I still look forward to Shavasana, every single session. My neck and shoulders are usually very tense, and I have noticed a big improvement since I started a more consistent practice. Yay!

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    • I thought your husband looked very fit :). It’s one thing to be fit, and another thing to be flexible though isn’t it? Wish him luck for me on his yoga journey. I have been focusing on my upper back, shoulders and neck for the last few days. It makes such a difference (der!) 🙂

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