Thursday, July 23, 2009


I love that my last post got a few juicy fired-up comments so soon. My pain and rage got people talking. Thanks readers and commenters.

I have been told so many times if a pose ever hurts, back off. I did not back off. I hurt myself in that fated yin class all by myself because I thought I could stretch through the pain and come out on the other side, whole, healed and holy. I thought I could go into the pose as Elise and come out of it as someone else as that's been my not-so-secret longing borne of a lack of self-esteem for many many years.
On Monday I spent the day feeling sorry for myself for not being Wonder Yoga Woman and snapping at the kids. Tuesday morning saw my butt back on the mat in my favorite class, an intermediate vinyasa with Daniel Shankin who reminds me so much of my big brother who used to torture me when I was little, and who I used to worship despite the pain he inflicted on me daily that it's enough to send me to teacher's training so I can be just like him when I grow up.

Now. In a twist pose toward the end of class, D went to press me deeper into the pose, that's what teachers do, see, but for once in my life I warned, "I have pain!" which inspired him to dig in there and see what was what, like a kid about to open a shiny Christmas present, because he's like that, and he also does Thai massage. I yelped to which he replied, Aha! and I said, "It inhibits my backbends," and he said, "I'd think it inhibits your happiness," and then he went on to the next customer to happily investigate her lumbar region.

And me, I just. Started to. Cry. Couldn't stop. He came around to check out my other side when we turned over and there I was again! Weeping. Sweat and tears, baby. Grief. Fear. All there in my back and in my heart just like I'd suspected. If I hadn't been in public I would have rolled into a fetal ball and sobbed to my heart's content. It was that kind of cry. But I held it together so as not to frighten anyone and let the tears slide out quietly. Tears for the physical pain. Tears for the emotional pain, for all the striving, the pushing and the punishing.

As much as it hurt, it also felt great to break open as a result of my back being prodded. It felt significant, and this is one of the reasons that I love yoga even if I led some of you to believe that I'm better off with a stiff... drink. So the lesson I learned in the end was not so profound, but it is important. If it hurts, back off. They've been saying it and saying it and now I think I'm ready to listen.


Main Line Yoga said...

i really like you and really appreciate you, you know that right?

kristi said...

crap! it has been insane at my house--you know, usually i'm the crazy stalker person who leaves you a comment about 2 seconds after you post. and now look, i am just NOW reading two posts.

i'm sort of glad, though, that i read them together, to have that epilogue.

by the way, i had to quit acupuncture after only 1 visit b/c my insurance doesn't cover it like i in fact thought it did. that is my teal toyota camry. actually, i have lots of teal toyota camrys. i just try not to drive them anywhere i will feel inadequate. which is totally lame. i admit it. i should have more self-assurance at my age. if i don't have it now, when will i? at 80? probably not. my mother-in-law drives me crazy trying to compare her own body to mine. and then i freak out worrying "oh no, does that mean i am destined to be that baggy and saggy?" well, yes.

ok, so anyway, back to the camrys in my life: i am scared to death to go to any school function at my kids' school because i think i won't measure up to the other moms there who have fake boobs, diet incessantly, and wear ed hardy t-shirts (which, i tell myself, they probably bought at burlington coat factory, so who cares). this one mom wears tiny shorts and ugg boots (in freaking florida...) and emcees every event. it's ridiculous.

as i tell you a lot here in this space, it's comforting to hear that other women have insecurities. i mean, i KNOW we all do. but it's just reassuring to hear someone else put her heart out there. and that way, we can encourage you that you are not alone in this madness. or that you are great just the way you are. or that maybe the yoga studio without all the pimped-out rides is the better one.