Day after

The day after the workshop, and I felt a little crispy this morning at practice. Mostly my shoulders and quads. Which is a-okay. One of the super-bendy backbender gals asked if she was the only one with sore quads. “Do you feel anything at all in your shoulders?” I asked. She looked kind of bewildered and shook her head. Lucky thing.

She knew what I was asking, though. I am loving the new shala because people seem really engaged. We are aware of each others’ challenges even more than in the past. Bendy Gal knows I’m challenged in the shoulders, and I know she is challenged when she tries to come up from laghu vajrasana. Running Girl is new to the group, and she is delightful to watch because she is exactly the kind of practitioner you’d imagine a runner to be: lots of tensile strength, tight hamstrings, great endurance.

I am still feeling madly in love with the backbending, so much so that it is hard to take a day off. But I know I need to. I was reminiscing this morning about the old weightlifting schedule: protocol requires that you take at least 24 hours rest between workout of any given bodypart. Ashtanga is a full body workout. So by the protocol of exercise science, we ought to practice every other day.

In the workshop yesterday, Lisa mentioned that flexible people get stronger and that strong people get more flexible. She mentioned that the strong people also may lose muscle mass. True enough, and largely because of the daily practice, I imagine. I think back to when I was lifting: it would have killed me to give up muscle for a practice. Even when I finally gave up the gym and went All Ashtanga, All The Time, I felt kind of despairing about the loss of muscle mass. Now it’s hard to fathom how I ever could have felt that way.

My boss left a sticky note on my desk the other day. It had little squiggles on it. Under the squiggles she wrote:

Sanskrit for –> Good Job On That Project!

I saved the note. I think it’s hilarious.


4 Responses

  1. I used to workout in a gym, too, and also had heard you should not work the same muscles two days in a row, so have been wondering about practicing every day for that reason.

    ~-+ >(&~~ (Sanskrit for I wish I could go to a backbending workshop)


  2. LOL! That’s funny.

    I know that I’ve lost a lot of muscle mass, and I think it’s been helpful to my practice, but I can’t help thinking that the daily practice is actually more about grinding away at my mind/ego than about much of anything to do with my body. I know that’s overstated — can’t quite figure how to get at the way body/mind is balanced/unbalanced by practice.

    Gym work is about breaking down the body, then resting to build it up even more. And I think we are both familiar with how “gym mind” goes — very big, too big to be contained by any gym mirror! LOL!

    Ashtanga seem to be about breaking down, breaking down, breaking down. What does that mean for the muscles, though? Hmmmm. I think there may be a new post in this…

  3. Oh yes, I agree about the mind/ego being the biggest deal. At least, it is for me. I have heard teachers say that very flexible people (like me) will not benefit as much as tighter folk from yoga, but I don’t believe it for a second–there’s still the mind to work on, and it may need even more work for people who are “naturals” at asana. We all have minds, we all have egos (I think); so as long as we stick with it, we all get what we need from the practice.

    I don’t think I want my muscles to break down anytime soon. . . .

  4. Loved this post 🙂 It made me wonder, though, what happens to the people who were not really that strong and not really that flexible to start with?;P In my previous life (but this lifetime) I used to run and was also lifting moderately. Then I stopped and starting dancing socially, which gave me some aerobic moderate activity but basically disappeared whatever muscle mass I had for all practical purposes.

    Now, I am doing Ashtanga-All-the-Time (I’m new to it, just a few weeks Yoga/Ashtanga bay). To tell you the truth, I don’t know if I can really expect to get more muscle, or lose weight–or if so, to what extent. I hope getting fitter will be one of the benefits from Yoga, although I’m still unclear in what shape or form it will come to me. In fact, I’m pondering these days what other kind of exercise I should add to the routine for the two activities to reinforce each other (especially I need to reinforce my upper body strength). For now, I just feel much more internally balance and in peace because I do it, which is already a huge, huge gain 🙂

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