Monday, September 29, 2008

Day 318

I'm back.

It's been a long recovery - far longer than I ever anticipated. I'm usually so strong and healthy, it was a tough adjustment suddenly being very ill and being required to take bed rest. Even then, I was stubbornly determined to get back to my daily activities when I got out of the hospital. During those first days, I tried to take the dog out for a long walk but returned home after a few minutes, absolutely exhausted. I unrolled my mat but was too exhausted to even sit for very long. I slept a lot but had little appetite for food. I lost a lot of weight. I've gained some of it back, but my diet has been terrible.

I only had a few more weeks left at my contract, so I decided to focus all my energies on finishing it up (I was done on the 19th). The plan was to return to my Ashtanga practice the following week. I did try to practice on the 22nd, but 5 A's and 5 B's completely exhausted me. I spent the rest of the week resting, taking occasional walks to build my endurance, and working on small projects around home.

Today, I unrolled the mat for real with the intention of doing the full Primary Series for the first time in months (I had been doing a modified version of the series during the contract because of time constraints). I only managed to practice through Navasana. And I finished in a puddle of sweat. I'm absolutely stunned by how much strength I've lost in a month. I had to start modifying Chaturanga Dandasana because my arms were shaking from the effort. My hamstrings are so tight I can't touch the floor and my low back was having spasms. I've lost much of my core strength.

I feel like I'm going back to the very beginning.


Anonymous said...

I just noticed that you have reactivated the blog. I'm happy that you are better.

I am practising over a year now and I can still only do up to and including Navasana. When will I be able to go till the end? It's not just a time issue, it's that when I get to Navasana, I am exhausted.

Anonymous said...

Kaivalya, good to see you posting again!

I once quit ashtanga practice for a long period due to illness and I felt a lot like you do now. Everything was so hard! It really did feel like beginning all over again. That was quite a while ago and I'm pleased to report that things got better for me relatively quickly. With regular practice, I am sure they will for you too. Practice always involves some struggle, it's just that there are some times where the struggle is more pointed than others. I think the silver lining is you have a chance to really focus on the core of ashtanga (breath, bandha, dristi) while you undertake a modified practice. (At least, that is what I like to do when I am injured.)

And, I know you already know this, but it is sometimes good to hear it from others: please give yourself permission to go easy on yourself and practice softly. It sounds like you've gone through a difficult illness, so please don't forget to treat yourself with ahimsa as you return to your practice.

Wishing you a speedy return to full strength,