run run run run run

So I stopped practicing and teaching yoga about 3 months ago.  This is the only time in the past 11 years that I’ve abstained from yoga practice for more than a week.  I wasn’t finding any meaning or growth in my practice anymore, and I was getting frustrated with a lot of the culture around yoga (which doesn’t actually have much of anything to do with yoga itself).  I got tired of overhearing conversations about homeopathy and vaccine conspiracies and ear candling and Mercury in retrograde and rave reviews of someone’s new gluten free, dairy free, egg free, sugar free, chocolate free cookie recipe (as far as I can tell, this describes a cookie that is comprised chiefly of sawdust).

I have spent the past 15 years working in medical research (ACTUAL medical research, with science and numbers and peer review and stuff), and eating well is one of my few unmitigated sensual pleasures.  Anti-science and cuisines of deprivation?  No thank you.  Life is too short to be so ignorant and unhappy.

I’d started (and continued) practicing yoga because in it, I’d found a way to create some peace for myself and work on unresolved issues.  But it wasn’t working anymore, and maybe that’s partly because I’m dealing with a different set of issues now.  I remember hearing a great, great yoga teacher say that yoga is not a way to develop boundaries; if you need to work on your boundaries, practice martial arts.  Whoa.  Full stop.  So, so, so true.  How are you going to work on boundaries with other people if you’re just stuck on your mat, contemplating your navel, not interacting with other people?  It had become too easy for me to use yoga as a beard to avoid self-work, rather than engaging in it.  And boundaries, in the most general terms, are the issues I know that I need to work on right now.  So no more yoga.

I would have liked to take up martial arts again, but the martial art I’ve studied in the past, kendo, is not taught anywhere near me, and I’m not interested in aikido or karate.  Call me a snob, but if I can’t fight you with a sword, I’m not interested in fighting you at all.

suffer-runSo I’ve been running instead.  The benefit of running, for me, as I’ve been sharing with anyone who will listen (and some who would probably prefer not to), is that I already know that I hate it, so I don’t have to worry about discovering later on that I despise it and deciding that I need to quit and try something else.  No, I’m being honest with myself from the get go here.  Hating it in turn confers another benefit to running – I’m so focused on how much I’d rather be doing something else (anything else!  Please!) while I’m doing it, I can’t get lost in my head.  My focus is single pointed:  This sucks.  I can’t wait till I’m done.  And getting lost in my head (in addition to being sick of yoga) was why I started running in the first place.  I realized I was falling into a depression, and I needed a way out.

The downside to running is that I still have boundary issues to work on.  Which, again, in the very most general of terms, is why I was spiralling into a depression.  So maybe I should bite the bullet and sign up for karate.  I have friends who practice, and I’m sure they’d love nothing more than to beat the tar out of me once or twice a week (which, actually, sounds kind of great to me too).

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