Posted by: kerryalina | 28 February 2012

Challenge Class 14: Practicing Injured

I actually wrote my name down on the studio board for 60 Day Challenge wannabes yesterday.  Up until now I’ve been keeping my own record, so that if I crash and burn at least I don’t do it too publicly, but with my newfound commitment to completing the damn thing, writing my name down suddenly didn’t seem so scary.  A couple of girls wandered over while I was chalking up my previous classes.  “Wow,” said one, a Challenge veteran from last year.  “You’re up to the third week.  The third week is the hardest.”  Two seconds later she realised what she’d said and stumbled, red-faced, over an apology.  “Oh well,” I said.  “At least I know it’ll all be downhill after this.”

The exchange stuck in my mind today as I walked to class, shoulder still aching from yesterday’s mishap with Rabbit.  I’d spent most of the last 24 hours with a heatpack on it, as well as stretching my budget to include a 30 min Thai massage at lunch.  Nothing seemed to help; it felt like the nerve was being pinched every time I raised my arms, and I couldn’t turn my head to either side without feeling like I was being stabbed in the shoulder.  And I really, really didn’t want to go to class.

The thought patterns behind this were interesting: Constant repetitions of “But it’ll huuuuuurt,” closely followed by “And I’ll suuuuuuck.”  What eventually got me off the couch was the knowledge that my shoulder would hurt whether I was at home or in the studio… but I had a decent chance of stretching it out in class (and at the very least I’d be distracted from the pain).  As for “I’ll suck”… I gave my ego a stern talking-to and informed it that yoga is not about making pretty shapes with my body… or at least not just about that.  I’m not sure it got the message 100%, but it stopped grumbling long enough for me to get my feet out the door.

I rocked up to the studio and warned the teacher that I borked my shoulder in a double yesterday and was practicing injured.  She looked around to make sure the other teachers weren’t listening and leaned conspiratorially over the desk.  “Honey,” she said.  “You need to slow down.”  (Ahahahahaha.  I AM THE LAZIEST PERSON EVER.  If ever there was someone who did not need to be told to slow down, that person is me).  I told her I was doing a challenge, but solemnly promised to take it easy and stop at the very first sign of pain – no great sacrifice, since this is my usual (very lazy) modus operandi – and she reluctantly checked me in – to what turned out to be a GREAT class.

Pain in Pranayama Breathing, pain in the first backbend of Half Moon, and then… nothing.  It’s like something just released.  It’s two hours post class now and my shoulder’s still stiff and twinge-y, but nothing like the white-hot ball of fire it was beforehand.  Go go gadget Bikram, the miracle cure!

I also had a fabulous talk with the teacher after class about how subverting the ego in class can lead to the same thing in the rest of your life.  This results in less competitiveness with others and more with yourself; changing the inner dialogue from “Am I doing as well as him/her?” to “Am I doing the best I can?” It’s something I’ve heard expressed before about Bikram in a very general way, but for some reason her phrasing really registered with me.  I hope I’m able to reach that level in my everyday life eventually.  For now, I still have a long way to go before I can even let go of my ego in the hot room – for example, I’m sure the warm fuzzy feeling I’m currently experiencing has nothing to do with the three brand new, very cute boys in the row behind me, who accosted me after class and asked if I was “this incredible” when I first started ;)

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