The Courage to Appear Weak

Today is December 1st and I did my ashtanga practice this morning for the first time since my injury almost a month ago.

It wasn’t perfect, but it felt soooo gooood.  I found myself being much kinder to myself, finding my inability to do certain things interesting rather than maddening.

When I got home from the studio I ate a soft boiled egg and a piece of toast and put a sticker on my calendar.

I am hoping to build a new streak beginning today.  It never really launched when I started it last month.  The injury shut it down at day 6.

As I am writing this, I am watching The Biggest Loser. It’s the episode where the contestants run a marathon.  One guy in particular (Danny) is really suffering, but he is pushing through.

I know all this suffering  is supposed to be “noble,”  but I don’t know.

I am not willing to be injured anymore.  I am not willing to learn patience and sit the sidelines while healing takes place.

From now on I will use caution, even if that means I appear timid or weak.  I have the courage to appear weak.

I want every day, every hour of my life to be healthy and productive.  I don’t want to wait around for my cells to regenerate, even if I know they will.

It feels so good to be healthy and pain free again!

The Yoga of Injury

Here are the asanas I would have learned how to do (and teach) had I gone to my training this week:

Balancing Seated Angle

Balancing Stick

Bent Leg Tree

Bound Hero

Bow variations



Half Circle

Inverted Turtle


Lateral Angle


Raised on both arms posture

Reclining Stick

Rotated Jhanushirshasana

Rotated Lateral Angle

Sideways boat

Standing Angle

Standing Split

Toe Stand

Instead, I stayed home and practiced The Yoga of Injury.  I just emailed my morning Ashtanga group to tell them I would not be there until my injury healed.

Christine wrote  back saying: Ah, the  yoga of injury, the REAL yoga. How fortunate you get to have the real practice and not this easy stuff we do in the mornings.”

But to tell you the truth?  I stink at the Yoga of Injury!  I get up every morning expecting to bound out of bed and jump back into Chaturanga. I want so much to bound out of bed and jump back into Chaturanga!!!.

Instead, I get up and hobble to the bathroom.

The other day I was reading in Tony Robbins about “Tranformational Vocabulary.” He says (and I believe it) that the words we use to describe our experience SHAPE our experience.  So now I am not going to say I am injured any more.  Instead, I am reframing to “I am moving forward.”

Because it’s the truth. I am moving forward.  At a glacial pace (glacial before global warming when glaciers moved v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-.) but I am definitely moving in the right direction.

“You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”  –Joni Mitchell

I will never take my yoga practice for granted again.  You can (and should) remind me of this anytime I express frustration in any posture whatsoever.

I give  you permission.

I Totally Blame Eckhart Tolle

I injured myself last Wednesday lifting weights at the gym.  I think it was on the squat machine.  I don’t know what I did to myself exactly (I’m going to the chiropractor tomorrow) but my hips are locked and my hamstrings won’t stretch and I have a persistent dull headache.  It’s like, one day I’m in a full-out, full-on Paschimotansana, and the next day I can’t tie my shoes.

Injuries are interesting, I must say. They engender lots of self-talk. And then that self-talk morphs into a novel, which then gets picked up by MiraMax and made into a full-length feature film staring Meg Ryan as me.

I just returned from a very s-l-o-w walk with the dog in which I played out two versions of this movie about me and my injury.  In the first one, picture me, walking through the MU campus very slowly, a little Corgi on the end of a leash.  Then my voice-over says:

This is what it must feel like to be old.  Maybe from now on this is my reality; I am to always feel like this.  Or possibly worse.  I will probably have to have my hips replaced.  Maybe my knees as well.  Maybe I will never be able to do yoga again.  Or at best, only be able to talk students through the postures.  Could I do that? Matthew Sanford teaches yoga and he’s a paraplegic.  Could I do what he does?

Fade to Black

Then I caught myself.  I thought:

Oh, that was some story you just spun, Kath.  Did you see what you just DID? Yeah, you totally rode that Disaster Train all the way to the end of the line.  Stop with the negative thinking!!  You’re just sore.  You will be fine.  You over-did it a little and all you need is a little time, rest and Alleve.

I certainly liked that second story much better.  But then I realized that it was as much a story as the first one.  So then I thought (and here’s where Eckhart comes in) why don’t I just do what Eckhart Tolle says to do and just stay in “The Now.”  So I tried that.

Me: So what’s real right now, Kath?  Well, there’s a breeze.  There’s grass.  The dog is sniffing for woodchucks in the weeds.  There is sensation in my hips when I walk. I’m not going to give it a name, this sensation.  I’m just going to feel it.  I’m going to call it “this sensation.”

Now there is a person walking towards us.  A woman.  She says, “Can I pet your dog?”  And I say, “Yes.”

She kneels down to pet the dog.  The dog rolls over on her back and pees on the woman’s shoes.  She laughs.  I laugh.  We walk on in opposite directions.  That’s all.  The sun.  The light. The sensation in my hips.

Tim, my friend and trainer, told me this story about his sister. His sister blamed Eckart Tolle for her car accident. She rear ended someone while listening to Tolle speak of being in The Now. Her argument was, “How could she possibly listen to him AND hit the breaks at the same time?”

When Tim told me this I thought it was the most brilliant lame excuse I had ever heard in my life.  Imagine, blaming Eckhart Tolle for your car wreck.  It was genius. It could be the default excuse for everything.  Eckhart Tolle, the ultimate scapegoat.  As long as I lived, whatever happened to me, good or bad, I could now always blame Eckhart Tolle, even if it was irrational to do so.   Why not?

If I was living in The Now and should have been anticipating the next move and got into a mess because of it, it was Eckhart’s fault.

If I wasn’t living in “The Now” and instead living 6 chess moves ahead and got bonked because I wasn’t present, it was Eckhart’s fault too, because I should have known better and how dare he be such a pain in the ass wise guy.

So now I’m blaming my injury on Eckhart Tolle.  It’s always his fault.

I feel better already.