My first post discussed the place of saravasana in yoga and I have indeed done pretty well with starfish pose. I am successful at laying there like a dead fish, solely focused on the relaxation of my body. The success ends with saravasana.
I am horrible at yoga. I can’t concentrate, relax, control my breathing, in fact, when we do breathing exercises I sit there and think of ways I can cheat without the instructor noticing and think about how much I dislike breathing exercises. If I had achieved a yoga-like state of mind, my sole focus would be on accomplishing the task at hand, but instead, I spend the time complaining to myself. From the breathing exercises it debatably gets worse. I handle the strength exercises fine, but when we begin our series of asanas, boy, does it go down hill. For starters, if it weren’t for the fact that everybody else in my open class can do the headstand, I would be convinced that it’s impossible. The instructor inevitably comes over to my mat to hold me up in the position (cause I’m certainly not doing it alone) and is constantly telling me to relax and balance. The more he says those words however, the less relaxing or balancing happens and I come crashing down to the floor. For just about every other pose, hopefully the following explanation will help.
Over 5 years of heavy lifting, muscle overuse, and various sports injuries have had their desired effect on my flexibility. Some how the combination of using my shoulders in volleyball spiking and the heavy lifting I did for track and field in college has rendered my shoulders completely immobile. Turns out, that just about every pose in yoga requires some support from your arms. My arms are incapable of being in the correct position to support my body because my shoulders simply won’t allow them to move. If I was given 100 rupees for every time the instructor has come over to me and said, “Get your elbows closer together!” I would have 10 more Sari’s. Add to this shoulder issue my general inflexibility everywhere else and we have a pretty pathetic showing of yoga.
So what’s my wise and witty advice? Stick with it. The more I discover how incredibly hard yoga is for me, the more I’m convinced I should be doing it. It just can’t be good for my body to continue on in its’ current state. No matter how frustrating and embarrassing classes continue to be, I will keep trying, because the successes that tend to truly matter are the ones that didn’t come easily. They are the ones we had to struggle for. My athleticism has allowed me to pick up most sports and be pretty decent from the start. I’m not going to allow myself to quit the first time it has become truly tough. Congrats yoga, yoga=1 my athleticism=0.