Am I going to stay up? Or, give up?
Today, I held a two minute plank in a full-flexed, push-up position. I didn’t hold two minutes because I set out to push my own limits of what I could do. I was tricked into staying up by my yogi, Ronn who is the official timekeeper of everything we do in class.
Of course, there were signs that things were not right. My arms were excessively shaking and I had to deliberately contract my abs to support my frame. I theorized that I had miscounted on the number of diverting Happy Birthday songs that I normally compose to people that motivate me, but everyone had all been sung to and we were still up in the hold.
I looked back over my shoulder at Ronn to see what was up and saw him focused on his breathing, totally concentrating in the effort. I was right at the edge of my ability. I felt that I could choose to collapse on a whim. There was nothing left in me to stay with him.
Oh my gosh, I thought, am I going to stay up or give up?
Continue reading “Remember When We Were Lions”
One ten-day trip to the States and I am feeling like I am back at the beginning. Of everything. Not just my fitness routine, but rediscovering my whole purpose of being here in Nicaragua. It was a whirlwind adventure to California and we were immersed in family and culture until the very last moments before checking-in to depart. There was no physical time or mental space for yoga, planking, meditation or strength training. It was a complete break from the normal Granada routine to which I have spent months dedicating myself.
Upon our return to Granada, my son and I arrived with hacking chest colds that required 15 hours nights of sleep and a lot of convalescing around the house. I felt emptied out, the house was too still, there was no routine yet reestablished and I sensed it intensely: I had lost my Granada groove. I felt like panicking. Was this culture shock? Was this being sick? I couldn’t see the color of my city, I couldn’t feel its natural beat that has long kept my own internal rhythm steady. For five days, I wavered on the brink of despair. Why couldn’t I see the glow of my life? Continue reading “Month 5: Navigating the Holidays”
It’s been a few days since I have been with Ronn and there is a temptation to want to treat yoga as a lesser discipline that plays second fiddle to the greater physical leaps that are more obvious in strength training exercises. If I can now hold a sit position at the wall for 1 minute with Bertina beating my ½ minute last week, I want to keep jumping forward everyday into similarly measurable advances.
To be fair, there is a kind of progress that I can observe with yoga, but it a quieter change often below the surface of my physical presence. In my hour in the studio, I have to restrain my mental inclinations to not wander around my life, regurgitating conversations or planning future events. It is work enough to focus my thinking on my breathing and then travel down my body finding areas where I can be bettered aligned to seek the virtue in the pose. Continue reading “Day 22: Backed up against the wall.”
When I come in to a dark studio I see Ronn laying on his back with headphones listening to his Spanish language lessons on a podcast. This is the calm that I need right now and I lay down on a mat to wait for him to finish. Ronn eventually sits up and tells me that a very important exercise has been missing from our practice that he was reminded about over the weekend. He explains to me about the meditative power of alternative nostril breathing and shows me what it looks like. Continue reading “Day 15: Breathing with half a nose.”
Although we are now in the middle of September the ladies of Granada that normally attend yoga with me are still on holiday and I have had two full weeks of Ronn to myself. We’ve formed an easy, social and physical energy, the kind that seems to develop over time in a friendship, where you can say nothing, or burst out laughing with whatever is on your mind. Continue reading “Day 12: Releasing laughter into the studio with Ronn.”
Ron corrects my neck position as we begin meditation.
What should I think about? Should I hold everything together?
No. Like stones stack on top of each other. Effortless alignment. This frees the mind. No need to hold on.
The whole class we are preparing the body for this moment of letting go.
What should I think about? The stones? Continue reading “Day 5: Meditation: What should I think about?”
Well, I don’t hate Chris, today but I respect his predictions. I randomly saw him at the supermarket last night and he did a comedic double-take before asking me, You still standing? Wait ’til tomorrow! (chuckle, chuckle).
4:00 am in the darkness, and I am surrounded by pain. My body is so uncomfortable with grievous muscles that I don’t know how I am going to make it through the day. I feel around in the night stand drawer for ibuprofen and quickly plan each physical move of how I am going to get up and get some fish oil. I think I can sneak around the pain with the right limited movements and supplements.
5:00 am, I have achieved the full realization of the world of physical pain. Continue reading “Day 3: Gingerly returning to the studio”