Monday, January 24, 2011

Thoughts from the Sand Box

Wow, nothing like putting your heart on your sleeve to draw out all of the really nice people and also some of the not-so-nice ones. I appreciated the nice comments and emails. You guys are great!

But I guess I should clarify: I'm not necessarily quitting Astanga. I don't know *what* I'm going to do. I do realise that there's a culture of 'working through injuries' in this practice and I've certainly done my share of that with the hamstring injury. But this shoulder thing is a different beast all together.

I would have to love Astanga a whole LOT in order to suffer through the kind of pain and discomfort I've been experiencing lately on the mat on a longterm basis. I've spoken to other longtime practitioners and this seems to be one of those injuries that can be a permanent fixture. So it worries me.

Because I teach yoga for a living, I need to ask myself if I'm prepared to sacrifice my career for Astanga Yoga. I think the answer to that question is a rousing "NO". I think there are times when a line needs to be drawn. This is a classic 'overuse injury'. It's awful - I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

I've never sought to be the poster child for Traditional Astanga, so I'm sorry if I've disappointed anyone. But the bottom line is, this is about me. Me, me, me. And my life, my passion and my sole source of income. If the past month of 'yoga tourism' has taught me anything, it's that I can be happy without Astanga. My joy in life is not based on one particular style of yoga (though the jury is still out on whether I could be happy giving up yoga altogether).

Private to 'Anonymous':
The answer to your question is 'No.' Because this is a BLOG. Not the Bible, the Torah or any other authoritative guide. And I'm not your G-d or your mother or your guru. I'm just an ordinary woman on her own journey, who happens to share her thoughts through writing. If I decided to jump off a bridge, I'm certain you wouldn't consider doing the same. This principle also applies to the decisions I make about my Asana practice. It's time to put on your Big Girl Pants and learn to form your own opinions based on your own experience. A terrific place to being this journey is your own yoga mat. Good luck with that.

And this is for everyone:
I moderate my comments. This means that every single comment that is posted on this blog has to be approved by me *first*. If it's not nice or you're being a jerk, or you're trying to push your own agenda, I won't click 'publish'. I hope that as yoga practitioners and people of quality, we can play nicely in the sandbox with one another. But I won't host a flame war on my blog and I won't let anyone shit on me in my own space.

Please, let's practice some Ahimsa and be kind to one another. If our yoga practice isn't teaching us how to do that, I don't see what good it is.




Princess Fur, playing nice in her own 'sandbox'.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for putting yourself out there! Your recent posts about ashtanga really hit home for me. I've had a daily practice for about a year now and since I started ashtanga about 4 months ago have noticed I'm hurting myself constantly - shoulders and hamstrings. Not sure if ashtanga style increases likelihood of injury or if it's just revealing my incorrect technique - probably both but still pondering. Wishing you well in discovering what you need moment by moment!

Cindy Fearon, RYT/LMT said...

i applaud you for practicing ahimsa with yourself. from personal experience i can tell you that this can be a very difficult thing to do; it's so much easier for me to tell my students to take care of themselves, so much harder for me to follow my own advice!

whether we practice astanga or restorative yoga, the practice of yoga teaches us to listen to our bodies and our hearts as well as to live our truth. again, not always easy, but hey, that's part of the journey.

thanks for sharing your journey with us, your readers. hang in there :)

Kaivalya said...

@Anonymous
Astanga is vigorous practice and because we move so quickly through the postures, it's easy to get sloppy. A good teacher can help with this. Also, sometimes the body just 'cycles through' buried emotions/trauma/whatever, which manifests as injuries. Hard to describe, but it's like the 'Gremlin' I sometimes talk about on this blog: a pain sensation that kind of moves around the body, sometimes randomly, sometimes not. Often,, it's hard to know exactly what's up, so you have to observe yourself, ask questions and experiment a bit.

@Cindy
I agree! I give my students all kinds of great advice that I should be giving myself. I think it's part of the learning process of being a teacher - learning to trust and follow your own advice!