Posted by: Mary | March 24, 2010

Snap, crackle, pop

Today at class I was talking to a few new students at the studio. One of the women explained how she was sore from her first class last week. I told her I’m usually always sore and I’ve been going regularly for more than a year. She looked at me a little funny.

When I say I’m sore, it’s not a bad sore, but a good one. If I’m gonna go to class and workout I’m going to show up and try to push myself as much as I can. Pushing myself might be different depending on the day. My yoga practice isn’t about hurting myself, but about pushing my body (and my mind) to its limit. That can be a fine line if you don’t know your body or trust yourself.

I enjoy the soreness, I figure that if I’m getting in a good class that I should have some soreness, it’s a sign that I’m alive! If nothing hurt, I’d have to think I hadn’t really pushed myself as much as I should.

So, this last weekend I took “off” from yoga. I’d worked out all week and I had some other things I had to do, so I didn’t go to class. That was fine with me, I work hard when I’m there. Actually, Jen C’s class was so incredible on Friday that I was still sore on Monday! Must have been the twisting, cuz my ribs hurt like someone punched me! Loved it!

But, during my last few practices you’d think I was a break dancer because my body has been poppin’ and lockin’. Not really. But, my bones have been cracking. Tonight during mountain pose I raised my arms up over head and all of a sudden, CRACK! My right shoulder made the loudest popping sound. I thought to myself, ‘I really don’t need a chiropractor, my body is adjusting itself on its own.’

The last three classes my spine has been happily adjusting itself, snap, crackle pop! I’m figuring it has something to do with my ability to get a little deeper into wheel than I was able to before. Wheel is still a work in progress, but I can feel myself pushing deeper into my legs and getting higher up into the pose.

But, the cracking doesn’t actually happen in wheel, sometimes all I have to do is a forward bend and then, CRACK! (My spine has always kind of been that way, I must say. I’ve just noticed it more lately in class)

What’s important in any sport is knowing when to push yourself and when to stop. My popping and creaking bones are fine. It’s probably my body making more space, as my teacher Adrienne would say. But, I do have funky knees and I know when I’m doing something that they don’t like. I take it down a notch. (Like skiing in Steamboat day 2. I stopped early and hit the bar because my knees were d-o-n-e.)

Hearing the popping I figure is a good thing. And, I am happy that my body is happy! I’m hoping I’m doing good things for it so it will help me get around for a long, long time. I haven’t always been so kind to it and I’m hoping I’m making up for all the abuse I inflicted.

My dad has a friend who has had back problems and shoulder problems. I keep telling him: Yoga! My brother who is 15 years older than me, is undergoing major back surgery tomorrow for an injury he got back in the 1970s while he was serving in the Navy. I worry about him getting surgery, it definitely has its risks, but he’s had a lot of pain and I guess it was his only option. Surgery, I hope is the last resort. I wish he would have tried yoga. It may not be a cure all, but it really can help a lot with flexibility, balance and overall improved health. (Again, this does not happen over night. As with anything it takes some time to see improvement, but it’s possible.)

So, back to the snap, crackle and pop of my yoga practice. I always try to push myself, as I said. And, maybe some people go to yoga for the relaxation. But, at a certain point I think you have to take it up a notch to see changes, to know what you are truly capable of, to know that if that was possible what is next. But, then that is me. I try to push through the pain – and oh there is some pain – some days it works and others it doesn’t. But, the key word is try. I figure my time on this planet is limited, I better give all I got while I have the chance.

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