Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Down in the dumps

No, no, not those dumps.

The other dumps. I'm dumping into my hips in lunges (and many other poses, of course), and it's getting more and more annoying in my practice. I'm finding it particularly inhibiting in lunges in Surya Namaskar when I have to step the back foot forward, and there I am. Stuck in the front leg hip. I have to really push off to move the energy and my body forward. No good. It certainly doesn't feel good on my tender ankle. In fact, it feels like yanking. And I'm pretty sure there's no yanking in yoga.

I know what you're going to say. You're not working from your core. Well, duh. I know. Ever since the "quick" c-section I had four years ago, it is hard to access that core strength. And honestly, I hate the word core. Oh I know, there's no hating in yoga, either. But as soon as I hear that word, I feel like I'm in a screaming Jillian Michaels workout. I'm not a big fan of that sort of thing. More importantly, I don't want my yoga to be reduced to one muscle group. And yet my yoga isn't going anywhere without my abdominal muscles.

So today I revived a cue I learned from Debbie Kurilla, one of my YTT teachers. Hug in to the midline. I like this a bit better and avoids that other word. It's a little more imagery-based than just saying engage your abdominals. For me right now, I think that works. It's a little gentler -- after all, it's got a hug in it. Gentler feels good -- and feels far way from that workout-bunny paradigm. I had some success applying this cue to my standing balance poses -- poses that are particularly challenging for me. So let's see where this takes me.

Here's the thing: I know that my issue with my abdominal muscles is more than just an issue with the muscle fiber. Stuff has built up there -- the trauma of a difficult birth experience and probably more --to be uncovered and tended to with love. Thus begins that endeavor. As I know it is more than just my body, I know that more than just asana needs to be applied here. This calls for my whole yoga.

So I guess this is just a riff on my last post -- it's about honoring where you are, wherever you are. Or maybe it is the beginning of a much different deeper post.

I know everyone has these practice hurdles to jump -- wanna share yours?


Y is for Yogini said...

oh, man. my challenge is getting tired and shaky in long-held standing poses. working on it day by day, but that kind of strength (especially when your a flexie, not a strongie) takes serious time to build!

xo! :D

keishua said...

It is challenging for me to do core poses that need to be held. Like boat, in it I'm super shaky. I have notice over the last few months I am able to hold it a wee bit longer before the shaking starts. On some level, I know that I've held a lit in that area and it's going to have to play out.

Marianne said...

I shall warn my midline to prepare for much hugging this evening. Looking forward to your class!

Val said...

I think the positive "hugging" will do the trick, Elizabeth! Hang in there-it does change. I am beginning to feel the changes in my (insert substitute word for core here) and it's transforming everything around it. No, I'm still am not popping up into crow or anything-but I can feel it shifting in a that very subtle and graceful way that yoga brings change.

Teeg said...

My difficulty lies in binding any pose. My shoulders are just not quite there yet. And it will only get there with a TON of love. as will you! just a day at a time <3

Anonymous said...

I find visualization to be the best method for me to properly execute a pose, so I'm really digging the "hug your midline" phrasing. I have some hip problems that make lunges a bit hairy, so anything that helps me shift the energy to outside that problem zone is welcome. I tried "hugging my midline" during my home practice last night during Warrior poses, and--even if it was a placebo--my poses felt improved. I'm glad you posted this when you did!