Day 1: Failing at Yoga

I decided to hit a yoga class today.  Sol Yoga is my go to studio in Frederick.  It’s been in business for over 10 years and I’ve been attending off and on since it opened it’s doors.  I’m even a graduate of Sol’s 2009 Inaugural Yoga Teacher Training Program.

Although classes are usually crowded in January, I went early to find a spot up front where I could have room to use my new, necessary yoga prop…

screen-shot-2016-12-29-at-3-16-47-pmAs I hobbled in with my cane and clumsily lowered myself onto the floor I must have appeared to be one of those super positive, disabled people that prance around with bumper-sticker like thought bubbles above their head:

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Nah. I’m nothing like that.

Actually, I was terribly uncomfortable and unbelievably self-conscious. So much so, I spent the entire pre-class jam period sitting with closed eyes pretending to meditate just to avoid talking to anyone out of sheer embarrassment.

During class, I officially failed at all downward facing dogs due to my weak arm, screwed up all poses requiring foot flexion due to my severe foot drop, could not do even one measly vinyasa and needed the chair to prop up my knee for all left sided warrior poses and lunges.  Because of my non-functional psoas muscle, all attempts to lift my left leg off the ground resulted in my toes hovering only 1 inch off the floor.

Not to brag, but I failed fabulously!

But at some point during the practice I remembered that:

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Which didn’t help because I failed at that as well! I can honestly say that I walked out of the studio hating my multiple sclerosis more than when I walked in.

I did, however, enjoy the soreness that comes to muscles that haven’t been exercised in months. I delighted in the heat that my body created and was able to acknowledge and celebrate the fact that 30 minutes into the practice my curled up toes and fingers could precisely press against both the floor and the chair. By the end of my practice, I felt sensations in body parts that are often pretty dead to me.

The old me would’ve judged my yoga skill on how long I held each pose or how many advanced versions of each asana I could perform. Because my practice is now so limited in it’s scope, the current me was able to tap into and acknowledge subtle changes in my energy, proprioception, range of motion and strength.

So yes I failed. But I think I might have gained a little grace in the process.

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Whatever that means?

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