Embrace the Suck

26 May

WARNING: much very un-yogic cursing is about to ensue.  Halahala indeed, motherfucker.

Last night, I had the suckiest, most unpleasant on every level imaginable Ashtanga practice I’ve had since I started this, um, “experiment.” It’s so not an experiment—I am hooked. I’m an Ashtanga junkie now, let’s just lay my cards out on the table. If I could freebase Ashtanga, I would. Please, cross the blood-brain barrier faster!!! But nooooo, it goes how it goes. And it goes sloooow. Really slow. It’s taken me several months just to work my way through the standing asanas, which is just fine. I haven’t even technically “entered” the Primary Series! My body will only do so much, and sometimes I am OK with this. Other times I am not, and therein lies the rub. Last night, I felt like my pores were full of cement. Every pose was “awkward pose”, every movement took supreme effort;  a part of my mind was looking on in pure disgust, unfortunately. You call that an upward dog? Bitch, please. It’s more like an Upward Grizzly. All I could think of was this:

At one point, I just completely detached from my body and totally lost track of what I was doing. The breathing is where it all went south…it was like I couldn’t breathe properly. My ujaii sounded like a bag of angry, sticky crickets and I felt like I had a brick in my stomach, making mula bandha very uncomfortable. Every part of my body was strung tighter than tight and I was getting more and more pissed off.  The more I told myself to relax, go slowly, take extra breaths and send love to the various stuck parts of my body, the more I wanted to just say fuck it and walk off my my mat and go break some shit (no, I don’t have anger management problems AT ALL). At that moment, I had to make a conscious decision to just accept how much practice was NOT going well, and embrace the suck. I sat with the suckiness, gave it a big grizzly bear chokehold hug, finished practice and meditated.  Crouching Tiger, Hidden Grizzly. I should have my own school of Yoga Fu. It’s just one day, I kept telling myself.

But then again, it’s not. I tend to underplay how hard this Ashtanga shit is for me most days. I don’t like to be a whiner. But here it is: being in a larger body and doing this practice is a serious pain in my fat ass most days. I get angry, I’m in pain from my injuries, and my mind is the biggest mess of all.My digestion has gotten all wonky since I started this practice. What I was eating before, which was overall pretty “healthy”, is not working with Ashtanga. I ate whole wheat, roasted vegetable pizza with sunflower seed “cheese” and arugula last night for dinner and I think that was part of the brick-like feeling in my gut during practice. Great, now my body hates wheat? Goddammit!! What seems to work is eating a light, liquid meal at night (like a smoothie or soup) after practice and not eating much of anything from lunch until after I get off of the mat. I went out and got some Triphala and digestive enzymes and I’m going to see if that helps. And let’s not even talk about the er, poisonous fumes that seem to be pouring out of me these days:

“But before Amrita could be recovered, Halāhala (“the most vicious and venomous poison of universe”) was produced, which started killing both sides. As no one could bear the poisonous fumes emitted by the poison, both Devas and Asuras began to collapse due to Asphyxiation. They ran for help to Brahma, who looked to Vishnu for advice. Vishnu said that only Shiva could digest the deadly poison. So both parties went to Mount Kailash and prayed to Lord Shiva for help. Shiva chose to consume the poison and thus drank it. His wife Parvati, alarmed, stopped it in his throat with her hands, thus earning him the name Viṣakaṇṭha (the one who held poison in his throat). The poison made his throat turn blue; hence, he is also known as Nīlakaṇṭha (the one with a blue throat).” from the frequently non-accurate Oracle, Wikipedia.

Shiva and Triphala, please help me before I gas my poor little dog to death in my yoga room!

Yesterday was one of those days when I wanted to go back to the allegedly easier, softer way of lifting weights and taking diet pills and running on the treadmill and eating the food I am used to eating (a vegan bodybuilding diet, basically). I don’t want to accept and love my body. I want it to be a different body, and I want it NOW, dammit.  I would just like to wake up and be a “normal” body weight  and not in pain and not 42. I don’t want to be involved in a difficult, transformative, painful and spiritually hinky process. But then a very large part of me is really hooked on this process. I want to see what happens! And some times, I feel really good after practice. I feel spiritually more open, and things are going on that I cannot describe. I suppose it’s those little glimpses of *something* that keep me coming back. Actually, I have no idea what keeps me coming back. But I cannot stop thinking about it either way.


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