Monday, August 29, 2011

Life lessons from a BIG toe

I know there are some folks out there that read the title and are saying to themselves, "Self, our toes are stupid and quite possibly ugly. How could one teach us a lesson?" Well, dear reader, let me tell you a story about how my toe taught me lesson. It was the big toe, which I deem to be the smartest of the toes. He is their leader, so to speak.

It started out as any other Wednesday would. I woke up, went to work, and then off to the yoga studio for a meeting and a practice with my dear friend Batmanda*. I have to interject here and say that since about the beginning of June my practice had been dropping off a little bit for various reasons; none of which are apparent to me now. I will chalk it up to summer being awesome and my own busy-ness. I just wasn't practicing as much as I would have liked to be (I went from practicing six times a week to practicing two or three times a week). At any rate, Batmanda had been out of town for a while and I hadn't been there for her class for a while so it had been a few months since our paths last crossed. Needless to say, I was excited for her class. It started out as any class would have. Some sun salutations warming into sun salutation b's. That's when things started getting out of control. Batmanda, being the ever-creative being that she is, decided to challenge us (which is very much appreciated, btw). She took us through our sun salutation b very slowly so that everyone got the gist of it. It went Warrior 1, Warrior 2, Extended Side Angle, Half Moon (this pose does not involve showing off half of your behind-parts), Standing Splits, jump back to Chuttarunga. This is nothing outside of anyone's abilities. So we went through both sides and Batmanda set us free to shine our lights, as she so often does. I was TAKING my practice. I was really just feeling it and I got into the flow and I was pushing myself. This is not out of the ordinary for me, but once I got to the jump back part of it, I decided that I was really fuckin' smart. So I decided to add a few loops of my own. I was going to do the jump back one footed AND I was going to kick up into a handstand before the jump back. I'm so smart it hurts! :p I got through one side of this, which obviously meant that I am Superman. So I did it on the other side. I kicked up and came down. The problem here is that the very tip of my toe hit the mat. I heard it pop. I'm not fully sure if it broke or dislocated, but I know it hurt a lot. I knew it was fucked as soon as I hit the ground. It hurt like hell. Then I rolled off to one side and it popped again. The next few minutes are kind of hazy. I know I sat there and played with my toe for a minute to make sure it didn't need to come off (amputation was a very real possibility for a while there). I know Batmanda explained to me how to do it more safely, but what she said beyond that, I couldn't tell you. I know I walked out of the studio and looked at it in the lobby area. Then I walked back in and finished the session. Like I said, I'm fuckin' smart.

So what did my toe teach me? The list follows, in no particular order.

1. Be Present - This goes for life, in general, not just yoga. Be in the moment that you are in. Don't be afraid to experience it. Don't be afraid to be afraid. Don't be afraid to go for it, but at the same time, understand that there are times when you maybe should take it back a notch.
2. Don't Be A Hero - My dad has been telling me this for as long as I can remember. I never learned this lesson from him and he is a lot smarter than a toe, so I'm not sure this one will stick with me. In relation to my experience, if you haven't been in the studio as often as you would have liked and you are feeling the effects of that, don't go balls out crazy and try a one-legged jump-back from a handstand. This seems like common sense now that I have typed it out.
3. If you are going to try something that is above your current level of skill, be careful - I forgot this rule and was not careful about curling my toes so I would land on the ball of my foot. Yada, yada, yada, broken toe.
4. Be Grateful - For the little things, mostly, like toes that don't hurt every time you take a step. Or the ability to breathe deeply. Or for your friends and family and the friends that have become family.
5. Be Compassionate - Be compassionate to yourself just as much as you are compassionate to others. People often times forget to take time to think about themselves. Don't be selfish, be compassionate to yourself. Taking care of ourselves allows us to take care of others.

Peace and Love,

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

And so it goes.....

My first post. Here it is. I sit here at my kitchen table trying to remember all the ideas I had on how to open this blog and I'm drawing a blank. C'est la vie. I guess I should tell my story.

I just quit my job. I moved back in with my mom. I'm going to be serving and bartending again while going through yoga teacher training.  I decided that I had to make a change. So I did. All of it. I had to stop doing something that was essentially killing me in order to pursue something that makes me happy.

I guess for what it is worth, I am cleaning out my life. My goal is to get rid of enough of the useless crap that clutters my environment so that I can think and live and love freely. This transition hasn't been as painful as I had imagined, but it certainly hasn't been without its trials and tribulations. Yoga is to blame for keeping my sanity through the process. Although, I had to say goodbye (temporarily) to my old studio in the city, I think I have found one in the suburbs that will be a nice fit for me. It's the little things, right?

Anyway, some things that I plan to post about soon: I am a non-smoker, lessons from my broken toe,  the new job, and obviously, yoga teacher training. Hopefully, I will be inspired to write some poetry soon (just a warning now, it will probably be dirty). Once that happens, I will post it here as well.

Peace and love,