Tuesday, December 8, 2009


It sounds silly, even to me, when I say that it's been hard to find a routine now that I'm working (at the magazine) Monday through Friday, 9-5 instead of (at the newspaper) Thursday though Monday, 5 (p.m.) to 1 (a.m.). Now, I'm gone from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Trying to fit something in before work still seems impossible, and trying to fit something other than dinner and dog-walking after work seems impossible. At least before, I had one solid chunk of time that I could get a lot done: Start coffee, do dishes, drink coffee and eat something while catching up on blogs and news, then yoga, then hike with Leo before going to work. the sleeping immediately upon returning home.

I miss my near-daily hikes with Leo... Which is a reminder that I should try to fit them in on weekends, while we can get out in the daylight.

However, I'm grounded. I went to physical therapy yesterday for the ankle I sprained a month ago. My therapist, Donna, has banned "excessive walking." I've been taking the subway from Grand Central to work every morning for the last month instead of savoring my 14-block walk. I actually like the walk. The cold was invigorating; the people-watching pretty good, too. So I'm supposed to keep up the ($$$) subway routine until further notice. if walking is out, hiking on uneven terrain most certainly is out as well.

My ankle was so sore after the physical therapy, and my ego was bruised too... It's so silly, feeling like a therapist's words are some kind of personal attack when they really aren't. Of course, there are probably therapists who are mean and judgmental. But Donna isn't one of them. After evaluating my gait, she said I whipped my left foot around a weird way as I walked. Then she noticed that just standing still, feet close together, I weight my right side more. (That may have something to do with issues in my left hip, too. Ohhhh, the issues in my tissues.)

As she was explaining these things to me, my eyes welled up and I got emotional... I felt like they were faults of mine, personal failings. I wanted to apologize. I'm sorry I can't walk right and it offends you! It offends me, too! It's so, so incredibly silly, but maybe it's this way for lots of people who are so body-identified. My mind and my body are inseparable, to me... Reflecting now, I think it rubbed raw some of the other personal failings I'd felt, like, if I'd just stayed in shape, this sprain wouldn't have happened. Like I should have been able to prevent this, or fix it on my own.

She explained gait to me, in really simple terms. Heel-toe. Repeat. No weird left-foot-whipping flourishes. Got it? So this is quite the exercise in mindfulness. I have to relearn how to walk. I have been trying to pay attention to every single step. It's so strange. And then just standing still, trying to weight both sides equally? I can honestly say that even in those 15 years of ballet, I have never considered this.

I was going stir crazy yesterday, and wrote this:
I want to get away to a healing, warm, preferably sandy place. As that's not in the cards now, i need to create a space that is safe, nurturing, healing, restorative in my own home. I can do this in the living room... with diligent attendance to the daily filing and accumulation of the paraphernalia of life (read: junk mail and bills). You have to start somewhere... It doesn't have to be a daily Bikram practice right now.
What I need to do to restore:
• eat small amounts of nourishing food
• do the yoga (start with a half-hour and go from there. both morning and night preferably to figure out which works better for a longer practice. to get pm done, take leo for a half-hour walk first.)

So last night, I did a half-hour video on the blog section of YogaToday, and it was OK. I always like that teacher, Adi, because she's intense while keeping a light attitude. The ankle is sore today, but I think that's as much from the ultrasound and massage as it is from the yoga. I should be icing...

I think just getting into a routine will help me feel better about myself, in general. Grounding postures should help with the right/left disparities. Balancing postures should help with strengthening all the little intrinsic muscles in my feet and ankles. It's interesting, trying to restart a regular practice while knowing I'm supposed to take it easy. Is this the only way I can give myself "permission" to ease into things, and have compassion for myself?

This post at Elephant Journal popped up today in my Facebook feed, and I love its message... And from that, I was led to this, at the Kripalu site:
Cyndi Lee, founder of OM Yoga and a practitioner of both hatha yoga and Tibetan Buddhism, doesn’t fight her resistance to a regular practice—instead she takes it to the mat.
"My obstacles to yoga are an inconsistent schedule, fatigue, and laziness. I work on those day by day. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I don’t. Remembering that yoga helps lift my energy is the antidote. So then I just get down on the floor along with my resistance, take a deep breath, and start my practice."

If even the pros can have off days and obstacles, I should give myself permission to, too... Once I acknowledge the difficulties, though, I should follow Lee's lead and "just get down on the floor."

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