NotSoZen YogaJen

Posts Tagged ‘benefits of yoga

I’ve been on a yoga rampage and going to five or six classes a week.  I count on these classes to calm my anxiety, clear my mind, give me energy and focus, and reconnect me with myself.  Yoga classes give structure to my days, and I schedule which class I want to take and when far in advance, and then plan the rest of my day around that.

But on Friday, there was a kink in my plan.  Or rather, a kink in my back.  It started out in class as a brief surge of pain in my arm, but then I felt fine.  On Saturday morning I woke up and the kink was back in my arm.  But, I told myself, set on going to my pre-scheduled 10am intense Vinyasa yoga class, it could go either way.  Yoga could make it feel worse, but it could stretch it out and make it feel better.  The only thing is, I’ve had this thought many times in the past, and going to yoga with a tweaked out anything always, always makes it feel worse.

So early on in saluting the sun on Saturday morning, the pain spread from my arm to my back, and from an ow to an OW!  There was no avoiding/denying it any longer.  I would have to cozy up with Ben Gay and take a break from yoga until I felt un-tweaked and un-OW-ed again.

I have perhaps, possibly, casually, once or twice, maybe mentioned my yoga addiction.  Now, I’m not doing yoga by myself in a dark closet, or guzzling coconut water out of brown bag.  Yet.  But I am addicted to yoga, and I crave it.  I tell myself that I need yoga classes to have the calm, centeredness, energy, and clarity that I need for the rest of my life.  I tell myself that without my almost daily yoga classes, things (me), might (definitely) start to fall apart.

But now, here I am.  The yoga break is working to heal me, and the tweak has lessened, and moved from my back to now only my neck.  But it is still there and it is still OW, so I am on Day 2 of no yoga, and I am not feeling better enough yet to start penciling which classes I will take into my calendar for the rest of the week.  My heating pad is at the ready, and the faint, but oddly pleasant, aroma of Ben Gay permeates my apartment.

And yet.  I feel calm.  Centered.  And clear.  My mind is quiet, and I’m not anxious.  And without the 3 1/2- 4 hour chunk of time that yoga sometimes takes up, between commuting to a studio in Manhattan and taking a class, I have a lot more time in my day to focus on things that I may or may not have been avoiding.  Like my writing.  The absolute inability to even think about going to yoga class has mixed up my routine and freed up time in my schedule for my other passions that sometimes take a backseat when I am on a yoga bender.

This injury and subsequent forced abstinence from yoga class reminded me that:  1)  Asana is only a small piece of yoga and it is possible to take yoga “off the mat” and practice it in other ways, mentally and spiritually, in day-to-day life, and 2)  The effects of yoga are cumulative, and lasting, so that even if I can’t get to class for a few days, I am not going to lose the benefits of calm, centeredness, and clarity.

I am still in a bit of yoga withdrawal and excitedly anticipating getting back to class.  But I’m not sweating and curled up in the fetal position under my desk, and I don’t have the shakes or anything.  And I can see and feel the benefits of taking this break, mixing up my routine, and having time and energy for other pursuits, all while continuing to practice my yoga in different, non-physical or athletic ways and still maintaining a calm, centered, and clear yogic mind.

How do you deal with injuries that force you to slow down?  How do you feel when you can’t get to yoga class for whatever reason?  How do you then practice yoga in other ways besides asana?

Namaste!

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