09 July 2008

A Whole Lifetime

"Man is free at the moment he chooses to be." - Voltaire

As many of you know, In the past 9 months I've had to basically quit cycling because of sciatic nerve pain. I finally had an MRI and learned that I actually have some bulging discs in my L4 and L5 vertebrae. Of course, this is only part of the picture. The why of these bulging discs is a much longer tale, but that is for another time.

In addition to cutting out my cycling, I've had to significantly cut back my yoga practice. Let me rephrase: I've had to refocus my practice on asana that specifically help heal my back and away from those poses that aggravate my condition. I still practice between 1 and 2 hours a day, but I focus more on standing poses and often repeat basic standing poses 2 or 3 times throughout my practice. Typically, I listen to my heart and allow it to lead me through my practice, letting my body tell me which asana will provide the ideal balance between challenge and therapeutic benefit.

Today during my practice, after a round of hip openers, strong arm balances and deep back bends, my mind instinctively lead me to headstand as my next pose. I had to stop myself. At this point in time the deep forward fold necessary to come into Sirsasana would be too much for my back. Instead, I took a moment and sat back in child's pose waiting for new direction. As I let my mind wander I began to feel frustrated that I couldn't practice a pose I was regularly holding for 5-10 minutes a few months ago. I began to worry about losing all the strength I had build up in this pose.

Then I had an epiphany: There is no date by which I must be proficient at this or any pose. I have a whole lifetime to practice Sirsasana.

And with that thought, I was free.



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