The Opposite of Yoga

Yeah, it happens sometimes. I could take the misery and turn it into true yoga. But instead, I stay at home sulking.

I had a horrible night’s sleep last night, having fallen asleep on the sofa at some point while watching television. I woke up at 2 a.m. on my belly, with my lumbar spine in deep contraction, realizing that I couldn’t straighten out my back at all. I slowly turned over, slowly pulled my knees into my chest and wound up in the fetal position where I stayed until my back unstiffened. This happens to me sometimes – if I sleep on my belly on a soft surface, I wake up in a deep salabasana variation, unable to straighten out. Most of the time, this seems to be not so abnormal for someone who is taking medication that causes joint pain (Arimidex) and another medication that causes bone pain (Zometa). But in the middle of the night, something scary occurred to me: I have osteoporosis in my lower spine. What if one night I wake up with a fractured vertebrae? Or what if this belly-sleeping problem is a SYMPTOM of a fractured vertebrae? Oh, my prematurely aging bones….

And of course, thoughts like those always spill off into thoughts like these: what if it has something to do with cancer? I know I am not being very precise here, but that is all that I can muster the courage to write. Words. How much power do they have? I guess in my mind, a lot.

Then there is the matter of my quadriceps, which are stiff and sore and aching and burning from an overabundance of backbending. This wouldn’t bother me nearly as much as it does except for the fact that I have HUGE bruises on the outsides of my thighs. I believe the bruising is from carrying a messenger bag that hits right where the bruises are. And there could be some relationship between the bruising and Marichyasana B, because the bruising is EXACTLY where I bind around my bent leg in that pose. But again…what if? I am rubbing my legs with Tiger Balm and using hot compresses to disperse the pooled blood. And feeling cranky and sleepy and annoyed and grumpy, and all of that is smoke and mirrors…because what I really feel is SADNESS. I feel sorry for myself.

Yep, I feel sorry for myself. And I don’t feel like rallying and going to practice only to completely FLAIL and FAIL at Supta K and then rush off to teach a lunchtime class at Yoga Sutra. It feels like much more than I can handle in a day. What I really need is to call my chiropractor and see if she can set something right in my FUCKED UP back and even get things moving along energetically so that my damn bruises heal faster.

When I swear, you know it’s bad.

And as I said before, this is the anniversary of my discovery of the vicious beast that was living in the garden of eden that was my body, being fruitful and multiplying, sending out its evil spawn to do damage before I nuclear bombed the area with a potent cocktail that looked like cranberry juice that was “applied directly” to my vein: “Adriamycin, PUSH” as they might say on one of those medical shows. It’s not a good time of year for me because of this anniversary. It never is. Surprising, no?

Instead of raising the cry of the victorious warrior, I wimper the moan of the shell-shocked refugee. Even when I pretend it’s otherwise…the reality is still there. I hate this time of year. I hate being reminded. I have never had an anniversary party. I have always refused it when asked. This is why.

OK, let’s see, what else is on my mind today? Well, there’s the crisis of heart I am having with regard to the teaching method employed by my teachers, which requires me to “get” Supta K before moving onto the rest of Primary. So WHAT if I can’t do Supta K? It’s not like I am ready for Second yet, so Yoga Nidrasana is not looming. I just want to do Primary. Julie and I had a long email communication about this last night, and if you’re reading this, J, I hope you are not frustrated….I know that it’s not “all that” to finish Primary. But I feel frustrated. I feel incomplete. My back wants to roll. My back wants to play at backbends with Setu Bhanda. My monkey mind wants to have all of the benefits of the Yoga Chikitsa, including the two additional Chakrasanas that come in the last third of the Series and the eight additional Vinyasas. I could use those. I could also use Supta Hasta Padangusthasana and Baddha Konasana. I want to be smooshed in Baddha K.

But here, I think, is the rub: I feel like I would be able to bind in Supta K if it weren’t for my fucking breast cancer surgery and ultra shitty reconstuction. And so, not only did I suffer with breast cancer, recovery from surgery, chemo, weight gain, menopause, blah blah blah, but now I am being punished all over again by a body that still won’t cooperate. And my teacher is complicit in that punishment. And I am complicit by letting it continue without addressing it. I am depressed by my inaction. I am not practicing today (at least not yet) because I am overcome by inaction.

I think that what I must do is wait until Sir is back in the Shala and have a discussion with him about the rest of Primary and what purpose it serves to keep me from practicing it when I may never be able to do an adequate Supta K, at least until I have more surgery….

Wah. I feel like crying. And what makes it worse is that I am not practicing yoga. At all. This isn’t yoga. This is the OPPOSITE of yoga.



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