20th April.

3 pm.

Flippin’ eck its hot today!  Is it bad, boring, unappreciative of my surroundings, if all I want to do is roam up and down the aisles of the local seven eleven, deliberating over what flavour gatorade I should go for…radioactive yellow, or smurf blue?  Don’t make me choose.  Don’t make me leave the glorious cool of the AC…my pitta’s flaring up like an enraged dragon.

Surprisingly, I’m finding it particularly difficult to motivate myself into practice today.  It’s a primary day.  I can feel it.  I need some upwards energy burning in my belly…but its the whole burning bit that’s  turning me off.  Do you have any idea how much sweat I’m going to produce amid this spaghetti western heat?  It’s the type of detoxing that will make me feel sick…hence the gatorade mission.

Perhaps I can wait until the sun turns his attention away from my balcony, take a cool shower and lie naked on the tiles for a bit….perhaps, uh-hum…perhaps, I could admit defeat…just for today.  Please.  Please let me take today off?  I did an hour of meditation this morning, that must count for something?  I felt all this stuff, breathed into it as it moved up my centre, and let it go…all the while sitting dead-still, ignoring the ants and stray hair tickling my shoulder.    Please….

Oh fuck it…I know I should have done my practice this morning…got it out the way so I could truly enjoy my Ashtanga-party-time-Friday.  Instead, I’ve eaten a light lunch, must hide the celebratory chocolate bar and wait patiently for it all to digest…before I peel off my sweat soaked clothes, and replace them with my ratty and frayed aerobics shorts and sports yoga bra.

I stopped worrying about what I looked like practicing yoga a long time ago.  It just isn’t sexy, face contorted and grunting in pain as you try to bind yourself into Marichyasana C; sweat glands spurting out body fluid from strange places like an elaborate garden sprinkler system; bum sticking up into the air, legs wrapped around your ears smothering your own face with those annoying boobs and belly folds.  Mmmmmm.  It’s not like running, or cycling, or swimming, when you can detach yourself from your body and imagine that you look like an elite athlete – elegant, graceful…In yoga – there’s absolutely no question, at any point as to whether I look graceful or not.  Hippopotamus on mat…THUD….as my feet crash to the floor practicing my jump backs, breathless binding….can’t….reach….my….finger….tips….URGHHH….fucking come on…gasp…..splutter….BREATHE 1….2…3,4, release!  What must my neighbours think?  In fact, what do I think?  What am I doing?

Urgh,  Another hour for digestion…sneak in a couple of episodes of New Girl, and then I’m gonna do it.  Yes.  I’m gonna fucking do it!  GRRR!

5.30 pm

Is it bad, that in the absence of a spoon I’ve just scooped the melted contents of my celebratory chocolate bar out with my fingers, and licked the wrapper clean?  In the past three and a half months, I’ve not cut a single practice short.  I may go easy on the jump-backs, or do moon, but I never cut it short.  Always go through every pose I’ve learnt, modifying where I need to, cringing through the ones I don’t like, and then today – I couldn’t even make it through the standing sequence.

Shook my wrists out after Utthita Parsvottanasana and crouched down into baby pose, stretching my arms out in front of me, breathing heavily.  DAMMIT!  Fucking DAMMIT!

I’m feeling agitated and angry.  In my meditation this morning it was the anger that I felt…embraced.  Cheeks burning, “FUCK YOU’s” climbing up the centre of me.  Today, it was the heat that agitated me, annoyed me…stirred up that Pitta dragon.  In practice my hips…my right hip.  After all this time, how can it still feel like I’m tearing myself in two when I lower myself into Utthita Parsvokonasana?  How?  What am I supposed to do?

I read the Power of Now and my notes from Matthew’s teachings, the whole bit about us being whole and complete as we are…just as we are…right now, in this moment.  Simply because there is no other moment than now, so we are never better, or worse, or striving to be what we are not, because there is no before or after…BUT, even in realising that and understanding that – we still have to let go of things.  We still need to unburden ourselves of all the shit that distracts and blocks us from experiencing the Now.  So, under the guidance of Matthew, I’m going to vent my anger.

FUCKING HIPS!

  • Question time, after technique class:

“Marichyasana makes me want to cry…what do I do with that?”

It’s where we store a lot of our emotions.  Just go with it.  Matthew said there was some strange satisfaction he felt from adjusting 6 foot surfers in Baddha Konasana and listening to them break down into tears.  I’m no stranger to that.

Diary entry 31-03-2012

Matthew worked into my hips today.  In fact, its been every day this week.  He stands behind you as you get close to (can’t remember the pose’s name) and as you pull your feet in close to your groin and attempt to straighten your back, knees jutting up around your ears, he swoops in.  Silent, like a preying cat.  “Take a few deep breaths”  His voice is deep and soothing, like he understands everything, like he empathises, sympathises, is sensitive to your pain and frustration.  The discomfort, the whomp whomp whomp sensation.  As you inhale, his hands wrap around your inner thighs, accompanied by a strong downward pressure, and a gentle nudge of his knee into the middle of your back.  You straighten, and open…breathing deeply, waiting for the sound of something tearing, anticipating the pain, that never comes.   Left hip, clicks and pops, you gain in confidence.  “Now lean forward a bit.”  You suck your belly in and stretch your arms at a pathetic distance in front of you.  But his presence, his encouragement makes it all ok.  You’ll be ok.  Slowly you fold forwards, breathing.  Eyes are closed, knees are close to the floor.

“Now sit up again”  That soft voice in your ear.  Gently, with control, you ease up, not wanting to compromise how far you’ve come.  You can feel the pressure of his knee once again…more gentle this time.  You lift and it feels like you’re falling back into the invisible embrace of a teacher who genuinely cares.  I swear I can still feel his breath on my neck, but when I open my eyes, knees neatly planted on the mat – he’s not there.

After my breakdown in that personal development class, he told me that my emotions would probably come up in practice.  He began to linger after Baddha Konasana, and sure enough – breathing, breathing, pushing, crack, pop, whoosh – there go the tears, washing down my cheeks, a great relief.  A sense that this stuff is most definitely better out than in.  I’d get a quick shoulder rub…there there…its ok.  “Thank you”  I’d say, quietly, but with genuine gratitude.

  • Rolfing appointment with Mitchell:

“Have you been in an accident?”

“A few.”

He paused for a moment before asking me to turn on my side.  I clenched my teeth and gripped onto the side of the mat, knuckles turned white.  It was my second appointment.  I knew how painful the next few minutes were going to be as he dug his fingertips into my skin and transfigured my right side, my right hip.

“Are you ok?”

“Yeah”, through gritted teeth.  He made me stand up again, walk up and down the room.  I felt strange.  Off-balance.

“Now look at your belly button.”

I did.  And there it was, about an inch to the left, actually in the centre of my stomach…just where its meant to be.  I didn’t even realise that for all this time, I’d been twisted and scrunched up, weakened around that right hip of mine.  Everything was folded in.

“You can stand taller now,” and he winked at me.

And I could.  I walked out of there, taller than I’ve ever been, but wondering why, why would I be doing that?  Folding myself in like that?

  • Massage with May
The infamous May.  I think everybody on the course had their moment with May.  Appointments, like gold dust, scheduled into a dusty book on the Bamboo bar, weeks before she was available again.  Rumours flying about were that she could read you.  Your past, your presence, acknowledge, feel what was troubling you, what needed to be addressed if you were going to reach your full potential. A bit of chakra chit-chat, and just generally the attentions of somebody very intuitive, motherly, and loving.  Every person I spoke to had a glow about them, and a lot to think about when they emerged from the tiled patio.  May smiling broadly, late ushering in the next expectant customer.  Time with May isn’t really a factor.  If stuff needs working on, talking through, then she does it.

I was supposed to see her a couple of weeks in, but swapped my appointment with Pedro so he could get all his rolfing appointments in…my….what a bunch of self-indulgent, hot-house-orchids we yogis are ; )  So, as it happened, my appointment with May, was on my second to last day.  It would be one of the final memories I take away with me, and really was a wonderful way to bring a wonderful experience to its nearing end.

Unlike everyone else’s experience, May and I were quiet with each other.

I wasn’t shy as such, but with all the stuff that had been coming up, physically, emotionally, psychologically, I guess I was just a bit tired of putting on a smile.  Didn’t want to talk about it anymore.  And as it happened – I didn’t need to.

Straight in at the right hip, side and shoulder.

“Have you been to a dr?”

“No.  I know its a problem though.”

She asked how old I was and then looked away for a bit whilst she calculated something on her fingertips.

“Your hip.  Its 7 years older than you.”

“7…really?  7?”

She nodded and carried on.  I gritted my teeth again.  When we did massages in class Pedro complained that I could never surrender.  Always slightly rigid, in control.  Mitchell says its to do with trust.  But trust of whom?  I want to let go, I want to surrender, I wish I could just let all of this go…but I don’t know what I need to do.

We had some banter when she worked on my left side.  Stretched and supple, with only the occasional niggle…ahh the left side, but when she got to my stomach we fell silent again.  There was a lot of tension, a lot of focus, a lot of pain.  When she dug her fingers deep into certain parts I experienced flash backs.   A car accident I witnessed as a child.  That black car flipping up over the wall as the jitney went tearing past, the screams of the tourists on the pavement beneath it, mum telling us not to look.  And then the intensity eased, and May sat back on her heels, stretched her hands out and sighed, “are you ok?”

“Yeah,” I said, was starting to think about Bhujapadasana and how ridiculous I must look falling backwards everyday, wondering whether the next day, our final day, would be the day that I got it….

I’ve stopped stressing so much about why I think these things, where they come from, what they mean…I’m learning to just let them come to the surface, be there for however long they want to be there and then let them go by.  If memories of car crashes and concerns over my next asana is what arises from a stomach massage, then so be it.  What interested me most was what she said about my hip, and the seven years it had on the rest of me.

She took a long pause as we neared the end of the massage, all the relaxing, and energising neck, head and shoulder stuff, and she talked to me about what she’d read in my body, my energy, my chakras.  And I know that when I say the words “energy” and “chakra” it will turn certain people off reading on.  There I go, turning over to the flower-power side of yoga.  But maybe you can stay with it.  Just as I have done.  If nothing else, it plants a seed, and then at some point, months or years down the line, you read about it again, or hear it in conversation, and your interest in the matter is subtly tweaked.  You learn some other stuff, seemingly completely unrelated, do something that makes you think about it once again…and then who knows, maybe you’ll start to open up to it, and sit there wrapped up in a soft cotton sarong, listening intently to the wise and frank words of a wonderful woman named May.

I was dumbstruck by the way my experiences with Matthew, Mitchell and May, all pointed to the same place of my body.  That right hip, where all the anger’s stored, that right hip that’s seven years older than the rest of me.  Seven years older, seven years.  How the breakthrough I had in that Gestalt group therapy session, was about facing up to a traumatic episode that happened seven years ago.

For seven years I’ve been holding onto that.  Tightening, festering, knotting up in my right hip, physically constricting the way I move, the way my body is.   My relationship with my body, with my self, my relationships with others, my everything.

No wonder I’m fucking angry.  Angry at those that hurt me.  Angry at those that didn’t support me.  Angry that this is all still with me.  Angry at myself for letting it in, and for perpetuating it again and again.  I want to scream FUCK YOU to all of those things, but most of all I want the pain to go away in my right hip…

8 pm

I didn’t realise the time.  Didn’t notice the sun go down.  Have accidentally stood up that lovely Italian chap…

Perhaps this is just how today was meant to be.  A shorter practice, painful hips, chocolate covered fingertips…

No better, no worse…its all ok, just the way it is.


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