Tuesday, October 5, 2010


While I was in yoga class today attempting to "relax" into a side bending, squatting, stretching pose (don't ask me the name cause I don't have a clue) I had a revelation.  I don't think it was the big  "Enlightenment" but rather a small "enlightenment" that made me realize I need to be much gentler with myself.   Let me explain.

Over the years I have engaged in numerous sporting events.  Basketball and softball throughout high school and volleyball all through college.  I attempted rugby at one point and considered playing football (American) during these times as well.  The list of injuries I accumulated is a never-ending one: concussion (I mean who slides into a brick wall instead of home plate?), sprained ankles, dislocated fingers, busted nose, strained shoulder, and one broke back and dead leg.  But I always thought, well I seem to heal fast so what the hell - just keep going.

Then somewhere in the back of my mind I realized that maybe team sports were not the way to go.  College volleyball wore me out, mentally and physically, and the thought of having to be on one more team with one more bitchy coach left a bad taste in my mouth. So I turned to running.

Running.  A sport of individuality that can be done in a group but you compete on your own. No fancy equipment really needed, just some decent shoes and breathable clothes, open space and on you go. But, that back injury and dead leg thing from my college days stayed with me throughout my running.  Once that was somewhat under control I then developed...fuckin sciatica!  So now I can put that to the list of injuries along with a tight IT band on my left side and a pinch nerve in my right shoulder (who in the hell pinches a shoulder nerve in running?  I do) and tense neck muscles.  Essentially I am verging (or am I already there) on being a HOT...ASS...MESS.

Today in yoga as my body protested with every upward dog, downward dog, side bend, back bend, kneeing and sitting posture it hit me that I need to be more gentle with myself.   Gentle is a word I don't use when describing my relationship with myself.  I go hard or go home - not use to any other way of understanding how to do things.  I powered through my education, never stopping on the quest to a PhD and I am making my deadline of finishing before 30.  I powered through grief of loosing my dad and of trying to loose all the weight it took me years to put on.  Now I am fully aware that my body just can't power through another damn run or gym session when it is obviously telling me to slow (or sit) the fuck down and chill out.  I think it is time to listen this time around.

So I am re-evaluating my physical activity goals and giving myself a bit more flexibility in my time frame for all those competitions I want to do.  I am keeping up this yoga thing cause "everyone" tells me it is good for my body and mind.  Even though I wanted to throw up and sit down at the same time while in class today I have to agree.  Come on, where else would I learn that I not only have tight hamstrings, tight hips, tight groin muscles but ALSO tight ankles (to the degree where me and child's pose are not even associates yet) and then LEARN how to "breathe" into the tightness to loosen it up?  

I could easily say F it and go back to what I know - pounding the roads and hitting the weights hard but...I really don't want to.  And that is a good thing I think.  Self-realization is a bitch, but when you actually start listening to your body the things it tells you are amazing.  So simple, yet so true.  That simplicity is what I forget sometimes.  Of course it makes more sense for me to take a few months and focus on my flexibility and hit the pool and bike to take the stress off my joints and nerves.  Of course it makes more sense for me NOT to train for my first marathon and run it while I am are also writing and scheduled to defend my dissertation so I can graduate after 12 years of higher education.  Of course it makes sense to practice activities that calm my mind so I can handle the current and impending stress.  But as my dad use to say...not all sense is common and not all people have sense. 

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