Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Skinned Elbows and More

The past few weeks have found me with skinned elbows. Not the greatest thing in the world. I found the effect of dressing up and wearing platform heels thwarted by the icky brown, red and black marks on my elbows. Hindi bagay!

Imagine this, but with dark elbows. Eeek!

On this thought train, I started listing all the "injuries" I acquired throughout my 2 year Ashtanga life. And I asked myself, why am I doing this to myself? Why do I bother getting manicures and pedicures when I just ruin them the day after? Why do I even bother looking for a good cut and color when my hair is just tied up and sweaty during practice?

Despite all the China Gel, Tiger Balm, Arnica and KT Tape, I still find myself looking forward to the mat each day. It doesn't matter that my husband thinks I sometimes "smell kinda funky" (his exact words). It turns out that with each ache, pain and injury I learn something about myself and my body. Which I think brings me a step closer into understanding myself and embracing who I am. 

Eau du Tiger Balm. The scent of yogis and yoginis

Sarvangasana Tattoo
I used to have a Sarvangasana tattoo at the back of my neck. I didn't know how to balance my weight on my shoulders. Instead I would put the weight on my neck (not good!). The pressure resulted in a black round stamp on my nape. I had since learned to reconfigure my weight to my shoulders so the stamp eventually disappeared. Sometimes, I even put a blanket behind my back to give an extra inch of space between the mat and my neck.

Assisted Shoulderstand

Other Lessons, Realizations and A-ha Moments
Twisted lumbar spine - I learned not to abuse my back with too many backbends. I also got into the habit of icing my lumbar area after a particularly intense practice. 

Overextended left shoulder - I learned to keep my shoulder in a neutral position instead of swerving off to the side just so I could "grab more". I realized that "more" is not always better.

Strained right knee - From Janu Sirsana C, I learned to respect the limits of my body when I hurt my knee by pushing it to the ground.

Photo from Monkey Yoga Shala

Banged chin - Through much trial and error, I eventually gained balance in Bakasana and Bhujapidasana. Overcoming my fear meant letting go of the towel I use to cushion my falls. I learned to appreciate small steps of progress instead of hankering for big, all-in-one moments.

Super lola doing Bakasana

Running into a wall - I learned to come up from Urdhva Danurasana using my legs instead of just powering through. Balance is better than force.

Bumps on the head, bruises on the legs - Before learning how to balance in Sirsasana, I first had to learn how to fall from Sirsasana. Falling without injury meant rolling with my body instead of tensing up. Learning headstands taught me how to be accepting and patient.

So, have I learned anything from my skinned elbows? Nothing yet, except that I ought to wear long sleeved tops when going out. In the meantime, it's practice, practice, practice...

Photo from Pedro Moura Pinheiro

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