Spine, Spine, Spine. Oh, and Coffee

Our coffeemaker has a timer, so coffee is always ready when I get up. Once the coffee is brewed, right around 4:15 AM, a little bell goes off four times. I almost never remember hearing the bell, but I generally wake just before my alarm goes off at 4:30. So apparently my subconscious hears it. And the cat. He knows the bell means it’s time to get up and moving because his breakfast is the next event of the morning.

I kind of want to laugh about how hard it was to get up this morning without coffee, but I also feel kind of sad and deprived. Despite the fact that now, as I write, I have finished practice and have a nice cup of coffee right here with me.

Yesterday, Jenna wrote about Ashtanga and how it has made her more structured, more a creature of habit, and I totally understand that. I’ve always been one for habits and schedules, and also of minimalism: I don’t like to have extra stuff around me, and I don’t like to have “extra” habits. I have a few constants, like practice, reading time in the morning, coffee time in the morning. (Hmmm, my ritual stuff is pretty much all in the morning.) Then I go to work, get caught in that riptide, which releases me in the evening, at which point I head home to spend some time with The Cop before he goes to work. Then I read a little before bed.

I guess what I’m saying is that I have a simple life, so pared down — HOW can I take away the coffee-before-practice ritual??

I believe I am actually negotiating to keep the pre-practice coffee. But with whom am I negotiating? Oh right, it’s all in my head.

I don’t know why it seems like such a big deal.

This morning, due perhaps to coffee-deprivation, ritual-deprivation, or the full moon, I had a strange practice. I’m still on my Tuesday and Thursday backbending prep and research pose kick, and today’s practice was all about stretching out my upper back and shoulders. I’ll admit that when I started practicing yoga, one of my biggest challenges was lifting my arms over my head. I know, it seems impossibly lame. But those years of lifting weights and climbing had really taken their toll.

I’m still not great at lifting my arms over my head. It’s actually a thrill that I can now touch my upper arms to my ears. A few years ago, that was just out of the realm of possibility. Imagine how Neanderthal I felt in a room full of flexy people, when the teacher said “Lift your arms,” and I was like, “Argh. Arms no go above head. And quit staring at my huge cranium and my monobrow.”

Results of today’s practice: I have a “stuck” spot in my left arm, right where lower deltoid and upper bicep meet. If I stretch my arms back and overhead long enough, the spot actually gets numb. Well, that’s a new one on me! No idea what it’s about.

According to Amazon, delivery of my copy of Vanda Scaravelli’s book, Awakening the Spine, is due this afternoon. And just in the nick of time: my spine definitely needs some awakening. As does that spot in my arm. I joke around about it, but I am really curious about the spine lately (no doubt due to the recent focus on backbending), and I’m looking forward to reading and thinking about it in some new ways.

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5 Responses

  1. Here is the best exercise for stiff shoulders: get a yoga strap and tie it around a broom, stick, something like that. Then throw the stick over a door and close the door shut (you need to be placed so that the door would open away from you). With your back to the door, raise your hands up, grab the strap and then making sure that your elbows stay parallel (instead of flaring out), just lean forward (elbows stay bent). This should open your shoulders quite nicely.

  2. I already know the tough part will be not letting my elbows flare out! Happily, though, I don’t need the broom/strap set-up. My husband installed a rope wall for me, and I can use one of the higher ropes to do this stretch. Can’t wait to try it when I get home…

  3. Excellent! then tie a belt around your upper arms, close to the elbows 🙂

  4. You are a cruel, cruel woman.

  5. MWAH-HA-HA-HA!!!

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