My relationship with yoga began when I was twelve. Certainly not in any sort of focused or serious manner but it gripped me pretty immediately. My mother was really into workout videos when I was young and I was with her at the library looking at the videos she was browsing. At the time I was a gymnast and I saw a VHS (remember those?) with a very thin woman doing what looked a little like gymnastics but not quite. It was a yoga tape that I rented immediately, and renewed until the library said I was to the max. So I returned it and rented it again. I believe that tape was pretty consistently in my possession for about three months.
I didn’t have a yoga mat or anything at the time. It was the mid nineties when yoga had not yet taken off in the conservative suburbia haven I grew up in. I remember hurting the palms of my hands on the carpet of my basement doing down dogs but still thinking “I am good at this!” I had a natural aptitude for the pretzel like positions and it felt good to be good. At the time my gymnastics had been fading as it became apparently that I didn’t really have the sort of figure for it, and certain parts of me just wouldn’t stop growing.
Through out middle school and high school I took yoga classes at the gym that my family belonged to on a fairly regular basis. Once I got to college and the structure of my time became my own responsibility, I did exactly what every college kid does and took up less than healthy practices like very little sleep, cafeteria food, and running on pure caffeine at times, and my yoga fell to the wayside for the first year or two.
I think of the flexibility and strength I lost and this time and seriously cringe. By the time I was twenty I had started back again, and in my early 20s became a pretty consistent yoga student and had a healthy home practice.
First road block.
I broke my foot. Some of you know a story that makes me sound much cooler than I am goes along with that, but we will leave it for another time. The repercussions of this broken foot have been bizarre and endless, but in good ways as well as bad. However, one of the worse was that I had to stop all yoga for months. I broke five bones in my left foot, the worst break being right under the knuckle of my big toe. Once this healed with my toe slightly crooked and a lovely large protrusion of scar tissue on the side of my food that I affectionately call my “knob” (laugh laugh laugh) my toe was unable to bend back, at all. I don’t have a flat footed down dog(who does?), and even if I did, what about table pose? What about goddess pose? Plank, the list goes on and on.
It took a year and a half. Not before I was back where I was because over a year off yoga does sad things. But it took a year before I could bend my toe back, at all. I used to pressed on it all the time, just holding it back while I watched TV or read. Once I was able to actually wiggle my toe up and down I started back at it. After about a year I had a yoga studio I loved going to,One Yoga in Uptown and was stronger than I had ever felt. When I moved to St Paul I began going to Tula Yoga. I worked hard to form an actual healthy habit and had a personal practice that I could barely go a day with out doing.
Road block two.
I pulled my hamstring. Dreaded of dreaded injury for anyone who practices yoga. I over extended it during yoga, which made me susceptible to a pull, which I did slipping on the ice about five weeks ago now. I was seriously horrified. I started googling like a maniac “yoga for hamstrings” “yoga to heal hamstrings” “how to heal hamstrings fast” the internet prognosis wasn’t good. It would probably take about six weeks to heal (no two, no three, no 16!) as far as I could gather from my research and conflicting information out there on the internet and most of the information was unanimous on one thing. Stay off it for the first two weeks, a teeny bit of very gentle stretching may be okay but nothing, nada, for two weeks. I also learned something about myself. Two weeks is exactly the amount of time that it takes to totally wring out the desire for me to continue with a healthy habit.
Now “habit” is the important word here. It took me a while to really get into the habit and once I did my brain didn’t want to stop, until I did. Now I am at a point where I should be starting back to, probably not my usual practice, but doing some yoga with a mindfulness of being gentle on my injury.
I kind of don’t feel like it. Something that would be unthinkable a month ago to me has happened, and I feel so little motivation. It is kind making me like myself less. Now I want to start again, get back to it, every day. I want my practice back to what it was and growing. It adds to the frustration when I know I will not be where I was, and that I will need to work back up to my practice. But now that I don’t have the habit, the routine, it is just so easy for everything else to get in the way.
Things won’t stay like this, I will do yoga again, but I’m just so frustrated with myself. I feel it should be easy as “simply do it” but it just isn’t going that way. Have any of you had similar problems? Lack of motivation and the like? Any pointers welcome.