getting fatter, getting better

I’m in the middle of a move, so I haven’t had time to go to yoga, only stretching some at home, mostly in bed, trying to figure my way around the new place, letting go of the old.  When I finally did go to a yoga class, I was shocked that my chaturangas were solid and strong, and my Vasisthasana was two-legged instead of my usual top leg forward for support. I was amazed. Again. In terms of asana, I’m a better yogi now than when I was smaller and practiced harder.

I’ve been amazed at my practice in the past few months because I’ve gained about 30lbs in the last nine months (honestly, much of that weight came between November and January. The holidays were fun!). But my practice has improved, a lot, since last summer when I was practicing pretty vigorously 5-6 times a week during teacher training. And I was 30lbs lighter.

I want to make sure everyone understands this is not “muscle weight”. I gained fat. My breasts are huge, my belly doughy, my hips and thighs can’t get into favorite skirts and jeans. I always think: “My practice would be so much better if I were smaller. If I were skinnier I’d be able to wrap myself around… myself, better.”  Would binds be easier if I had less to go around? Yes. No doubt. You can’t wrap 2 feet around 3 feet.

I also seem to improve when I limit my vigorous practices to maybe 2 to 3 times a week. I always have this desire to exercise hard, all the time, truth be told hoping to lose weight, even though I know from years of experience now, I won’t.  But maybe my body just needs more time to repair itself, to grow stronger. I’m starting to think that’s not really uncommon, especially the older you get. The older I get.

According to conventional wisdom, my practice should be getting worse. I should be getting weaker not stronger, less flexible not more. But I’m not. I notice my palm finding the floor in twists, not just my finger tips, not on a block. My core is stronger than I think it is. I try to trust my breath to lift me up when I think my muscles can’t. And I can tell you for a fact that I couldn’t do more than one chaturanga last summer, but now I can. And I can push up from it too. Well a few at least.

In terms of asana, I’m a better yogi now than when I was smaller and practiced harder.


September 4, 2009. Tags: , , . yoga. Leave a comment.