Practice Makes Practice

Volleyball Guy said an interesting thing in led primary this morning. We were doing hanumanasana–which is either a non-traditional addition to the series that John Scott apparently also does, or else it is something that used to be in the series but was then taken out; I’m not sure which–and he said “The hamstrings never really release. There is no point you can get to where they just release. It’s always a slow work-in-progress.” Sigh. Gosh, I hate hanumanasana.

So there I am, watching the sweat drip off my nose onto my rug, being informed that the day will never come when I slide into hanumanasana effortlessly, with no resistance from my hamstrings. It seemed quite tragic. Sure, I bucked up and thought, “Would I even want to practice, if there weren’t all these resistances?” But I knew I was secretly thinking, “Oh God, really? It’s always going to hurt? Why am I doing this?!?”

I try not to harbor those thoughts for very long. What good do they do? But it was a hard practice today, with a mysterious pain in my right lower back. The scary kind that seems to presage a spasm-type injury. I tried to explain quickly when Volleyball Guy came over to adjust me in Janu B. He asked me where it hurt and then just kind of massaged my back while I struggled into the pose. The Dancer, who only comes to practice on Saturdays, and who was next to me, asked “Are you okay?” as I came out of the pose. She is just the sweetest person. Kindness in the shala has a very intense resonance. It always reminds me that that is really what we are there for.

And it wasn’t all bad news: bhujapidasana is coming along pretty nicely. And jumpbacks.

Ultimately, I guess the resistance is not in my hamstrings. Or in my back. Or rather, it is in those places, but that’s not the heart of the resistance. The real resistance is in my mind. I have no idea why I am fighting myself so hard in practice, why I am not just relaxing into it. But tomorrow is my day off, so I will rest. And then on Monday, I’ll practice.

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