I am a bit jealous of the people who are small and skinny, athletic and strong - and I must admit I more that once have started crying in a class because I couldn't do what the teacher did. Very frustrating - and being a Virgo, maybe even worse. If you are one, you will understand: I don't like doing new things that I haven't done before because of the risk of failing epically! So - to see how an asana (a yoga pose) is supposed to look and then just know that my pose looks more like a dead swan on a tin roof with a broken leg over its neck-asana. VERY frustrating!
I have finally accepted that yoga starts in me, with the body that I actually have! So, what is that?
Height: 180 centimetres, without shoes. I am the one who always stands at the back of the room because I can see over everybody!
Weight: after the normal BMI standard, I am at least 20 kilos too heavy (but who decides these standards?? Surely not a normal-sized person!) so I qualify as a "fat lass". By merely existing I strain my body. It doesn't help that I just love food and believe that butter is the nectar of the gods and bacon definitely represents the base of the food triangle! The same applies to beer! I love beer!!
Problem areas: in Germany it's called "Dauer-Baustellen", places where you have ongoing works! I have got a weak core after my uterus removed in 2013 and since then I have had problems igniting that area of my muscles. I have bad joints: I overtrained a few years ago, didn't listen to my body and ruined my knees, hips shoulders and elbows. My muscles were strong, but my joints couldn't take the weight I put on them and in my lower back I slipped a disc. That means that I have a permanent bleeding around the lower spine area, so just a small movement can rip it open again and then it takes time to heal - and that process gives me chronic pain and a limited range of movement.
So I have to take it easy! I have to listen to my body and what it tells me.
So yes - I DID the power and the full on-thing. I did train every day, at least 45 minutes (as a Virgo you tend to exaggerate everything!) I did live a powdered diet-life where I only ate "real food" during weekends. I did all that but did it work? Was I happier? More content? The short answer is no! I was constantly "missing out", feeling bad because I didn't train or climb the stairs or go for a long walk. I was always feeling bad because I didn't do it "right" or "enough". I failed even if I DID train or eat properly or didn't enjoy a glass of wine. You see I got caught in: "I could have done more! I could've done better!"
Now I feel different. I feel at home. In German they say "angekommen": to have arrived. That is an expression I use often in my classes. I start the sessions with small, quiet meditation just to find myself.
Then I do the poses, but still with an enormous respect for the smaller details; how does my spine align? Can I breathe into my hip? Can I move my shoulderblades towards my bum without losing the width of my ribs? Can I still tilt my tailbone in warrior pose? WIll it make a difference if I try to make my spine long and let the chest move first in a rotation in upper body?
If you want to do a workout you go to some of the brilliant teachers that are out there, strong and able, standing on their heads and planking for hours! But if you want a WORK-IN, THEN you've come to the right place! If you want to work in the space created between breath and movement, then I welcome you. I cannot help you do a crows pose or chaturanga, because I cannot do it myself!!
What I do, works! I know that because it has worked for me. And funnily enough it's the deeper and slower yoga that has helped me to move better, feel less pain - to arrive and feel at home in my body.
And a workout is good - do it! I do it myself!! But I do so LOVE my workin-sessions where I can close my eyes and focus on everything I cannot see, the things I can only feel!