KEEP PRACTICING

My motto for the next several months is “just keep practicing” so every free moment I get I am on my mat with my journal and running through sequences. These are sequences I have found, made up and even borrowed from my instructors (with their permission of course) the more I practice the more center I am becoming. The stronger I am becoming as well as I watch my lunges become deeper, as I am able to hold my planks longer, and how I watch myself go into crow and tripod stands. What does this all mean? It means that with passion and practice I truly believe I can do anything. You might be thinking, but isn’t that true for most people? I would say yes it is but there was a time when I wasn’t sure what I was going to be capable of.

Just five short years ago when I first met my trainer I was a cardio fanatic and found myself walking for hours and would be on the elliptical machine for 90 minutes at a time but if I had to lift any I would worry that my hands would not be strong enough to hold it and that my shoulders would give out and start hurting. I treated my upper body as though it was just a section that had to be there but a section I had no faith in. I would explain to him that I wanted stronger legs and core but that I worried about my upper body and nothing would go over my head. He humored me and allowed this for a very long time until he just didn’t and made me realize I’m stronger that I think I am. Push-ups are a normal part of my routine, shoulder presses are mandatory and holding very heavy weights with these fat man hands is part of my life. I will say that when I’m lifting heavy I do need wraps for extra security to make sure I don’t drop the weights as that would be worse for my body in the long run. They are a crutch and one that I’m not afraid to admit allows me security to push the limits on my legs, core and arms instead of testing the limits of my hands. I have struggled with my hands since Aug 14th 2003 when I didn’t know why they were purple all the time, swollen to the point of not being able to make fists and so sore that I sometimes thought it would be better to remove my thumbs than have them constantly in my way.

My hands are still the most challenging part of my MCTD. My hands are not lady like hands they truly are mitts of purple meat that sometimes work for me and sometimes don’t. I spend at least an entire session of PT every few weeks just on my hands. I have tried everything to keep the circulation moving and although I can live with the beautiful purple hue and the questions that come along with why they look the way they do I wish I could decrease the swelling and make them more part of my body not “just these things.” However, what I am learning slowly is that even with mitts I am able to do my yoga poses. I can feel the mat under the entire enormous palm and with the strength training I have been doing I am not worried about my wrists and hands when I’m on my yoga mat. I worry about them other times but my mind is so centered and focused when I step on my mat that I know either I will do a posture or I won’t. Today if I don’t that means tomorrow I may and just keep practicing.

Since Oct I have been trying to do a head stand, forearm stand, tripod stand and even wall stands. The act of being on my head is very uncomfortable. I feel a tremendous pressure in my eyes, my neck hurts and I’m so worried about hurting myself. I have very similar feelings to my head and neck that I once had with my shoulders and elbows. I babied them so much and now I’m babying my head and neck. I realized this about 3 weeks ago and in one of my training classes our instructor said “if you want it bad enough you will practice enough to do it. One day you may just be able to do the unimaginable.” I trust her as much as I trust my trainer which is a ton and although my yoga practice is very personal I do believe that she wouldn’t want me to do anything that she didn’t believe I could do.

Last training session was spent completely on our heads. I mean every form of being on our heads. I was concerned, nervous, slightly embarrassed because I cannot do this stuff but what I do is just kneel on all fours and put the top of the my head on my mat every single day even if just for a few moments. It doesn’t seem like much but at the same time I’m training the muscles in my neck and eyes just like I train the muscles in my shoulders, core and quads. The process of strength is the same the body part just changes. At last on Sat I got into tripod stand. I wasn’t there long but long enough to say I officially accomplished this feat and shared that moment with my fellow yogis. Life takes practice and passion. Everything we do takes passion and practice whether work, play, relationships and anything else that is important to us. My husband sees that this passion and practice really can work and is hoping I put through as much passion and practice with my golf game as I do my yoga practice. The only thing is I’m not trying to make a career out of my golf game like I am my yoga practice.

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