Thursday, June 7, 2012

Crap, AFO.

While working on slowly opening my hips, I was getting uncharacteristically argumentative with my teacher.* She was compassionately explaining that I had to feel where the stretch was coming from. I was requesting, instead,  a fool-proof, "sit like this, your body will fall where it needs to." 

In the particular position we are using to stretch my hips my hips will naturally slide to an angle in order to hit the floor. What I need to do instead is flex a little butt, pushing my hips parallel. I hate it. It is not comfortable. 

I can be a very lazy yogi. I had a beautiful picture in my head of how hip-openers would work. I would sit in the designated position, set my timer, open a book and read until the timer went, "ding," my cue to switch to the other side. Faced with the prospect of actually PAYING ATTENTION to my body, I was getting moody. Hrumph. "What if I forget exactly what muscle to move? I could be doing this for weeks flexing the wrong muscles and doing nothing," I complained to her.

Of course, warning bells should be going off. Weeks? Weeks in the yoga world is nothing. It doesn't even count as wasted time. Not to mention the fact that I would be working something, even if it weren't the area I meant to. Most importantly, I was miffed that my yoga would involve paying attention to my body? Really? 

My always-patient teacher replied to my whine, "You are going to need to trust yourself." 

And there it was, that familiar feeling of being punched in the gut; one gets used to it after a while of yoga. I am pretty sure yoga students would make excellent kick-boxers, if for nothing else than our familiarity with the gut-kick sensation when one is confronted by another personal demon. 

This is what I've been actually getting all juvenile about. UGH! Trust myself? I trust my teachers, I trust my fellow yogi. I've even, despite a severe childhood authority-figure issue, learned to trust my parents, but myself? Oh, heck no! So, here we go again, another epiphany moment (like I needed one more in my practice). I have problems trusting myself. Crap. Now I will be stretching my hips and learning to trust myself inside the yoga room so I can do so outside the yoga room. 

Alright, me, let's do this. I trust you. Okay, I don't now, but I'm totally working on it.

"Effing path to enlightenment," I grumbled under my breath.

As I complained to my teacher that I did not want another soul-searching issue to deal with, I had quite enough right now, thank you, she introduced me to what is now my very favorite not-yoga-yoga phrase, "AFO." 
"What?" I asked.
"AFO'" she said, "Another Fucking Opportunity."

Whenever I sit in my dreaded hip opener, feeling every muscle, not reading my book, about ready to give up because I'm not sure I'm feeling the correct stretch and I am doubting myself and my knowledge of the pose, just before coming out I think, "AFO" and take another breath. 

*Bless her for understanding that the 40 backbends we just did, compiled with the frustration of realizing that my hips will take years to open were making me emotional.


  1. can i ask what posture you were working on?

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  3. Asking is always welcome, answers are only forthcoming when I have ANY idea what Im doing.... :P (Oh dear, that didn't sound very trusting of myself. Note to self: be more positive in post replies) In other words, Im not entirely sure what it's called. It's almost like the sitting position of pigeon, with your legs at a 90degree angle (as opposed to bent in). I don't believe what I am doing is actually the full expression of a pose. I would guess it's a modified version of first expression pigeon if I had to hazard a guess.

  4. Replies
    1. Good thought, but no. Im not doing anything with my arms (except for supporting my upper-body because I can't sit correctly un-aided yet) and mermaid looks like the same leg position as pigeon.

      Im hesitant to describe the position in any detail (or any pose I mention here) because I don't want anyone to try a pose based on what I write. Im not a teacher and I would feel HORRIBLE if anyone got hurt trying to do what I describe.

  5. AFO is my new favorite thing. Thank you. :)