Friday, March 22, 2013

Highs and Lows

I was debating about writing about todays yoga experience, first because I know at some point this is going to sound like the same thing over and over again, and second because I had a bad yoga day and I've been so positive about yoga I kind of wanted to just pretend it didn't happen and move on with life. But I've decided to go ahead and talk about it because this path to outer skinniness is about being honest about the journey. Being fat is hard. Getting skinny is hard. Staying skinny, also hard.

I think there's this barrier that we create mentally towards each other. Fat people assume skinny people don't know how hard it is to get to be like them. We assume skinny people couldn't possibly have the same insecurities and body issues we have. Skinny people assume fat people are lazy or just not trying hard enough. I'm making rather broad generalities, but you know what I mean.

The truth is we all have a lot more in common than we have differences and if I didn't talk about when things are hard or unenjoyable it wouldn't be real now would it?

So let's just be candid about it.

I actually had a pretty good day. My middle school class didn't make me want to throw things, I lost and found my wallet and ended up getting some stuff done because of it. It was sunny and rainy all day and I managed not to get caught in the rain. Good things! So I went into yoga class feeling pretty good. But then people started to flood into the room and mats went down and I got stuck in the front of the room with nothing between me and the mirror. Not only that, there was a very strong looking fit male right behind me and several more fit ladies. As much as I tried not to beg the comparison and as much as I tried to focus on the things in my appearance that I felt were improving and appealing, I just couldn't shut the voices off and I kept seeing how wide I was. Even with nice looking poses I still looked wide.

Then the foot pain started to kick in. Then the headache. After that, frustration with the limitations of my body and my skill level followed by the lump in my throat and the mental dialogue about whether I should stay or leave the class.

I decided to stop putting so much pressure on myself. My feet hurt to the point where one was cramping and I didn't know it was cramping until I changed positions. I sat on my knees for a few minutes just trying to breath and let my foot relax. I could feel my temples starting to throb. Once I'd gotten past the urge to cry I went to my bag and took some ibuprofen. And then I kept going, making adjustments for when I just didn't feel like I could do something but still feeling frustrated with how not even close I got to some of the poses.

The last five minutes of class was spent in corpse pose just breathing. The mental battle kept raging in my head and then a song came on her playlist that just made me feel happy. It's one by a band from the Netherlands that I really love. One that hardly anyone has ever heard of. I smiled and started to feel the frustration subside.

After class I complimented the instructor for her music and asked her for help on the foot pain. She offered me some really helpful suggestions for what I could do. One thing she told me was to engage my big and pinkie toe into the ground and to almost try to lift the toes in between. I tried it and it took quite a bit of pressure off my flat arches. I am looking forward to trying this in my next class to see if I can't get much further with some of the progressions now that I might actually be able to stand on one foot for more than 3 seconds!

As much as this helped me feel better I still was fighting the urge to cry all the way out to my car. I met up with Paul and Charlotte for dinner and it wasn't until I was wolfing down my salad that I realized, my headache and lack of energy, and the cramping were probably all due to the fact that I hadn't eaten all day. No wonder I had such a bad class!

Okay, so there are two poses that I feel like I just don't get, and I want to write about them, research them and then come up with answers in case anyone else feels the same way!

Child's Pose. I'm renaming this "I Give Up"
First is child's pose. This is supposed to be a relax breathing thing I think, but the problem is, my thighs and belly are so plump that I can't actually sit on my feet in this pose. I feel like my butt's up in the air if I want my head to be down or my head is too high up if I put my butt down. I think they're suppose to both be down. It just feels awkward. Sometimes being chubby makes these poses feel like I'm doing them wrong.

Same goes for whatever this one is. It's a lunge with a spine twist, but I'm not sure what the name is. My challenge here is that my belly ends up resting on my thigh before I get very far and I feel like I'm cheating. If I try to draw my stomach in to keep from resting on my thigh, I can't breathe very low. Throw in the twisting and I just feel like there are too many body parts trying to occupy the same space at the same time. Awkward.

pawanmuktasana
There's another pose that you start with in order to transition to several different things that you do while lying on your back. The instructor always tells us to hug our knees to our chest. As far as I can see, no one is actually capable of accomplishing exactly this. (Okay, maybe a bunch of internet pictures prove this is possible) I'm lucky if my knees get even a little close to my belly button. And then they throw in the instruction to wrap your arms around your knees and grab your elbows as if to hug yourself into a tiny ball. I can barely hold on to my shins in this pose let alone reach my elbows! It's another issue with too many chubby parts trying to occupy the same space. Stomach, meet thighs. I'm sure there have to be modifications for fat people, and if there aren't, I'm going to make them and they will not sound nearly as pretty as downward facing dog.

I also had the thought as I was getting in my car after class that I should compose a choral piece that uses the indian phrases they use in yoga. Then maybe I'd actually remember what they're all called and I bet I could make a really cool piece of music with it!


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