Thursday, July 30, 2009

First class back post surgery

Toad the Wet Sprocket sings a song called "I will not take these things for granted".  (I know, my younger readers may be going, Toad the Wet What? Bear with me please).  It's a beautiful song, both the melody and the lyrics.  The chorus, when he's saying over and over again "I will not take these things for granted" has such a raw angst about it.  I love it.  Tonight, going back to yoga, the chorus to that song rattled through my mind as I sweated it out in that hot room.  Often I blog about gratitude, so I don't feel like I'm necessarily "ungrateful", however tonight I felt a powerful powerful wave of gratitude for my health washing over me as I faced the limitations of my post surgery body in that hot room.  Tonight was an exercise in gratitude, and maybe also in being humble a bit as I backed off when I needed to back off.
Before I get into the yoga practice I just wanted to make note of something.  People always ask me "how can you fit that in everyday.  I mean its 90 min, that's too much. Normal people don't have time for that plus work!"  I absolutely hated not going to yoga after work.  Coming home at 5pm with an endless evening in empty house (when my daughter is not here)  stretching before me did not make me into a more productive human being.  It was boring, and awful and I hated it.  I LOVE my yoga routine.  Work all day, yoga at 5:30.  Home by 7:20ish.  Eat dinner.  Make lunch for the next day.  Maybe wash some yoga towels/outfits.  Lay out my work clothes.  Pack my yoga bag for the next night.  Then finally relax and maybe write a blog entry or listen to music or read a book or watch a movie.  Then it's suddenly time for bed.  That routine day after day, night after night is as soothing as a lullaby to me.  I'm grateful to have it back.  So very grateful.
Ok, now for class tonight.  I had great support.  On my facebook I said I was going back to yoga and was excited.  (Hoping to get some of my friends to join of course!).  It worked.  Shelley made it a point to come to the same class tonight in support of me.  She even teased and said on facebook "Roberta's teaching, Uh Oh!".  I said back "oh crap, I think I just peed in my pants a little."  Roberta is the toughest teacher at our studio.  She is the sweet-as-pie-brazilian-bombshell-I'm-going-to-kick-your-cute-little-bootie teacher.  We fear her a bit.  We love her more.  She encourages, corrects, pushes.  Let's face it, sometimes we get complacent and don't push ourselves.  When I walked into the studio tonight I inhaled the sweet scent of home.  I felt so good.  Ah, I am happy.  Really really happy, was the thought that popped into my mind the minute I walked in the door.  Sitting on the benches before class chatting with Reggi, Mark, Duane, and Shelley was the best.  All was right in the world again.  I was a bit fearful and of course warned Roberta beforehand that it was my first class back after surgery.  She was awesome.  During the first foreward fold she said "Michelle has been out for awhile.  I want you all to work hard for her because she can't right now".  She called out Reggi, Shelley and Mark, all lined up in a protective energy field in front of me and encouraged  them to work harder for me.  It was so cute!  
Physically it was a very very tough class for me.  The standing series was brutal.  My heart was beating like a jackhammer from awkward all the way to tree pose.  I could not catch my breath.  Pranayama breathing made me dizzy.  Oddly enough standing bow was pretty solid.  I couldn't hold it the whole time but I kept getting back in and found the same depth I had two weeks ago.  The floor series proved to be the issue.  Some of the postures on the floor I had to sit out completely.  Camel, locust and floor bow were the culprits.  Odd pulling sensation on my stitched up belly button, so I backed off.  After class, Roberta gave me some good advice for camel next time.  She told me to keep my hands on my hips, put my head back and just focus on opening up my chest.  She said not to push my hips forward yet so as not to strain that area.  So I'll try that tomorrow instead of sitting it out.  The other odd thing I noticed is the first three postures I was sweating MORE buckets than normal right away.  I mean I was soaked through quickly.  Almost like my body was in major major detox mode.  Then it leveled off to what is normal for me.  I know that I still have anaesthesia in my body that needs to come out so that didn't surprise me.  
Outcome: success.
Tomorrow:  I'll go back.
My studio is doing a challenge starting August 1st.  I have a business trip on Monday/Tuesday of next week and will miss those two days.  The owner said I can jump into the challenge after that if I want.  So depending on how I continue to hold up post surgery I may jump in later and just knock out a 30 day challenge.  My strength and flexibility seem to be intact, it's just my endurance that has gone to shit.  So maybe jumping in later and completing a 30 will help get my endurance back to where it was.  Baby steps.  


  1. What the body remembers is truly amazing. And what it is willing and able to do, even after injury, even in stitches, is nothing short of miraculous.

    I'm so happy to hear it was a good class back. You'll be in the yoga swing of things again before you know it. :)

  2. Hannah~ I was pleasantly surprised at what I could do. I'm not going to lie though, it was so hard. My leg was shaking trying to lock the knee. It was tiring! My brain was screaming "out! get out of here! this is batshit crazy!". I toughed it out though! Felt great to be back!

  3. It's not 90 minutes. With travelling and cooling down time, its closer to 2.5 hours for me. And in terms of energy, and the ability to get things done during the day, its still a net gain for me. When I don't go to yoga, I feel like I'm much less productive. (On top of that, Yoga let's you do without sleep more easily, in a pinch.)

    Congrats on coming back. Just going to class is success, everything else is bonus.

  4. Duffy~ I could even get crazy and count preparation time...drinking water, packing yoga bags, washing towels, mats etc. And still you are's a gain!
    I'm glad to be back...thank you!!

  5. Woohooooo!!! Fabulous success.

    By the way, I know that song and I have that album. Got it off ITunes. Apparently they are from the town where I live now, so I figured I'd educate myself. I like "Walk on the Ocean" - it's catchy. :)

  6. DancingJ~ Yes, I know that town! In high school/Jr college I was 25 mins south of you. Me and a bunch of friends drove up there in like 1989 and saw Toad in a very small venue near campus. Ah, thanks for the memory jolt! :)