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.

Namaste,

Lorin

Misadventures of a Parenting Yogi – Review and Giveaway

Recently, I was asked to review the newest book by Brian Leaf, Misadventures of a Parenting YogiI have previously reviewed his other book, Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi, on this site. Brian nicely sent me a copy to review. It took only one afternoon to read and was an enjoyable, light, summer read. My review, and a chance to own this copy follow the break.

If you are looking for a book that takes a theoretical approach to examining how yoga impacts parenting, this is not it. There are mentions of meditation, yoga practice, and the occasional connection made between parenting and yoga, but they are particularly brief.

If you are looking for a book that will help you to parent across the span of childhood (including preteen and teen years), this is not it. While it does include some parenting advice, it’s fairly restricted to a certain stance and is limited in scope, due to the young ages of the author’s children. For a parent with older children or one who has not always chosen the paths suggested here (or someone with training in family research), this could be sometimes frustrating.

If you are looking for light, easy, funny reading to do in small bits (some chapters are 2 pages), this could be the perfect thing. While there isn’t really anything in the intro to tell you that the book is somewhat tongue in cheek, and I think there should have been, it is. It’s an enjoyable read on one dad’s experience with pregnancy and early childhood.

The book is available on Amazon.com (see link above) for a reasonable price, but you could get it free! While I enjoyed reading the book, I don’t anticipate reading it again and like to pass on my free for review items to readers. So, I shall!

Enter the giveaway by posting 1 comment below regarding connections you see between yoga and parenting. A winner will be drawn on June 15th. Please be sure to either be sure you commenting profile is linked to an email address or check back after that date to see if you won and get me a mailing address.

Walk the Walk: It’s Not Easy

Image by Helgi Halldórsson on Flickr

Image by Helgi Halldórsson on Flickr

I have taught workshops on dealing with chronic pain. I’ve led sessions on the power of meditation. I’ve counseled many students in gentle yoga classes to hear their bodies, to know that a gentle practice is as “good” as an active practice. I’ve told students in yin that it doesn’t matter whether you can do a pose; it’s the being there and with yourself that is the key. I’ve told friends to take time for themselves, let their bodies heal, stop trying to do everything, and recognize when they need help.

I can definitely talk the talk.

Sometimes, however, walking the walk is harder.

I’ve written before about the challenges of letting go of an active yoga practice or other lifestyle habits due to medical issues. So, I’m not surprised when that keeps coming up. But, I am a little surprised at times about the degree of anger I feel about such changes (recently not being able to have an active yoga practice and taking a break from yoga teaching). I’m a little surprised when I can’t even talk myself into doing the things I would recommend to others. And, I’m more than a little surprised when someone calls me out on it – which happened this week.

Cognitive Dissonance Theory (Festinger), among others, would say that in such a situation, where I can see that my actions are not matching what I believe, feelings of discomfort or dissonance will arise. Check. Festinger proposed that this dissonance leads to either a change in behavior, a change in cognition, a change in understanding of the situation by adding new beliefs, or a denial of the conflict. Not check. At least not yet. I think, right now, I’m more just rolling around in the dissonance, vacillating between being pissed off at my physical self, being disappointed in my mental self, trying to be more at ease with the situation, and denying that it even exists. People are complicated, yes?

At the fundamental level, I believe that any yoga is good yoga, no matter how active, it is important to listen to the body, meditation has value, and yoga will still be there when I’m healed. Now, I just need to get the other beliefs and behaviors in line, right after I finishing rolling around in my dissonance…