Article by Shanna Small of Wellness From Inside and Ashtanga Picture Project
I always tell my students to listen to their bodies and adjust their practices accordingly and I pride myself on practicing what I preach,but lately, my body has been straight up bi polar. I never know when my 30 something self is going to show up or when Grandma is going to take over. One day I can put my legs behind my head, sit in full lotus and do handstand. The next day, I fall out of every arm balance and can barely touch my toes. One day I feel like I could audition for the circus and the next day I feel like I am ready for the nursing home. I know yoga is not about Asana but I am not ready to give in to my geriatric body and let go of my more athletic practice.
One of my yoga teacher buddies, Nadine, told me it was old age. I am not that old, but man, maybe she has a point. Until a few years ago, I could demo any pose cold. I could jump out of bed and do backbends and forward folds. I practiced two days ago, and after an hour and a half, I still could barely touch my toes.
For ashtanga practitioners, early morning practices are traditional. Honestly, I am almost at the point of outlawing anything earlier then 10AM for my body. The only thing my body can tolerate before 10AM is hot Vinyasa. The heat takes a few years off and besides, it is all standing poses so It really doesn’t require me to go that deep into my flexibility which grandma really likes. No exaggeration. I sit in front of my TV, at night, with no warm up, and do stretches where I am way more flexible then I am after an hour of practice in the morning.
Many Ashtanga practitioners aspire to go to Mysore India to practice at the source, but I am terrified of an early morning practice. I would be devastated to travel that far to only have the 80 year old grandma show up every morning. I can stay in Charlotte and do sun salutes. I don’t need to go to India to have Sharath stop me at Sun B.
I notice the 80 year old grandma tends to show up when:
- I drink alcohol
- I eat too much sugar
- I practice early in the morning
- In Non heated rooms
- Around my period
So I try to control these variables but geez, I want to live a little. Is anyone else dealing with the 80 year old grandma? Any words of wisdom?