Being Not Ok With It – or – Where Is My Equanimity?

Long time readers, if there are any of you left, have probably noticed my horrible lack of posting, and that almost no posts about yoga have happened for months (there have been a lot of posts about cookies, though, so that counts for something). The reason for my yoga silence is that I’m not in a good place in my own practice, and I don’t know what to say.

Starting in the spring, some medical problems beyond my usual rheumatoid arthritis began happening. They included a significant amount of pain and pretty much ground my asana practice to a halt. At the end of May, this culminated in surgery, and then almost 10 weeks of no-yoga restrictions.

By the end of the imposed restrictions, I had very little stamina and still had a good amount of discomfort, plus the surgical after-effects that had boosted the arthritis into high gear. But, I started slowly back into my practice.

And here we are in November. I expected that my practice would be fully back on track now, but it is not. I had to eliminate a major part of my RA medications after surgery due to some liver issues (yes, I am a mess, thanks for asking), so the arthritis won’t calm down and most weeks, there is one or more parts of my body that just won’t cooperate. This has been compounded by daily headaches – maybe sinus, maybe migraine, maybe cluster, maybe gremlins – that I often have at this time of year, but that have been particularly bad and hard to deal with on top of the RA pain.

And, even the act of writing this makes me feel like a crazy woman. When I go to practice and have to sit out poses again, I am sure I look lazy or like a hypochondriac. When I realize that I haven’t attempted wheel, and only rarely inversions, in months, I wonder if I am lazy or a hypochondriac. When I don’t go to practice because something hurts, I am sure I AM lazy or a hypochondriac.

This morning, I got up with a nasty headache. It hurt to open my eyes or breathe. Yoga class was right out. But, it was a class that I really really wanted to go to – the last class in the studio that has been my yoga home for as long as I’ve been doing yoga. I’m so very sad right now to have missed it. I feel like I let myself, my yoga mentor, and my community down.

I know that yoga isn’t just about asana. I know that practice doesn’t have to happen in a vigorous class. I know that I should let go of attachment to a certain schedule or particular poses. I do. I say these things often to students in my gentle class (and I’m not even going to go into my feelings about not deserving to teach when my own practice is such a mess). I know them, but I’m having much trouble feeling them.

I can’t find my equanimity about this. It’s in there, somewhere. But, I can’t access it.

So, yeah, I don’t have a big point to make here. I guess I am writing this partly because I’ve spoken to many people over the years who say that they can’t seem to get started in a yoga practice, or can’t seem to maintain one, or are so busy fighting their body demons that they can’t find the space for it. And, they look at me with guilt and shame in their eyes when they say it. But, they don’t have to – if it’s you, you don’t have to – because I understand.

I’m writing this partly to also explain why the blog has been quiet and focused on, well, cookies. I’m a little too mired down in my own yoga funk to have much good that I can add to anyone else’s contemplation of yoga. So, if you have hung in there waiting to read something interesting about yoga, I still hope it will be back, but I don’t know when. And, I thank you.



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6 Responses to Being Not Ok With It – or – Where Is My Equanimity?

  1. Olivia says:

    I don’t know what to say, or maybe I do and they are things you have heard before which can get tiring. Are there other things I can say? Yes, but it probably wouldn’t make sense to say them. But, I will tell you this your pain, your body, your soul is all an extension of what makes us a human. If you can believe or try to believe that one’s aura can reach beyond the physical then that is another way of yoga. I believe it is time for your brain to do yoga and I hope it can help all the physical pain you feel.

    I know I sound a bit crazy but I have no other way to explain it.



  2. Jen says:

    Is it possible that you’re missing the forest for trees? I’m not a yoga person myself so I can’t claim to know anything about it…but it’s my impression that a key aspect of yoga would be that you listen to and honor your body.
    You seem to be mentally beating yourself up because your body is telling you to take it slower until it catch up.
    Having some experience with an uncooperative body, the thing I repeat often to myself is “one day at a time”. I do what I can today and put the things I can’t on a list for tomorrow. I may have to push the tomorrow things to the next day and that’s fine (okay, frustrating! But fine. Really!). I’ll keep putting them on a list and pushing them to next day until they finally get checked off.

    I don’t know if it’s the case for you, but for me, anesthesia screws up my brain. It causes this fog, like a low level depression, and I simply can’t shake it until I eventually get an MRI. (Which, btw, is a magical thing so if in the course of sussing out the headaches, someone offers a choice between a CT scan or an MRI, pick the MRI!) So I now know to plan that the year after a surgery is going to be a struggle. Until I need an MRI for something else. (so obviously, sometimes other things going wrong are a blessing in disguise for me!)

    Meanwhile, stop thinking finish line and remember that thing a wise lawyer says…DLF>DNF>>DNS

  3. Maria Simone says:

    It’s been a few rough months indeed, my friend. But, I think Jen makes a good point to honor your body. And, as you said, yoga is more than just asana. You live yoga 🙂

    That being said, I can understand the frustration, fear, anxiety you must feel as your body struggles to cooperate. But, don’t let your mind struggle against your body.Easier written than done, right?


    • theveganasana says:

      Oh, I know. You are all right. Like I said, I say this stuff to my students (and other people) ALL the time. Yoga isn’t just physical practice; it’s life. Any practice is better than no practice. Take time off when you need it; yoga will still be there. I say it all. I’m just having a hard time living it right now.

  4. Beth says:

    You of all people have never once seemed like a hypochondriac to me; and this whole post was an interesting thing about yoga 🙂

  5. It just sounds really real to me. I appreciate your sharing your vulnerability – thanks!

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