So today is the Autumn Equinox – meaning there will be equal hours of light and darkness today. Last night I had my weekly Yoga class. My teacher told us that it’s traditional to observe the equinox by performing 108 sun salutations, and asked us as a class if we would like to do so.
When she looked to me for my opinion what I said was, “I can’t say I’ll succeed but I’ll always try.” I didn’t mean to sound quite that Zen, it’s just what came out, but it’s the truth. After nearly half a year of yoga I’m still quite poor at it, the only thing I have going for me is my stubborn will not to give up.
Sun salutations aren’t easy for me because from downward dog position you’re supposed to step or jump your feet to where your hands are on the floor, and the interaction of my erm… abundant thighs vs. abundant stomach prevents this. So in order to get back to standing position I sort of awkwardly kneel and then scramble upright again rather than making a smooth transition. Additionally, when I go to plank position then lower myself in a controlled manner to the floor, I’m reverse bench pressing over 200 lbs. No easy thing to do over a hundred times.
Still, I was game to try. My teacher often suggests that we dedicate our practice to someone who needs our “energy” more than we do that night. I figure that’s the same idea as dedicating a fast or prayers to someone, so last night I focused on a friend of mine who is going through a tough time medically and decided to do my best for her.
We did the sun salutations in sets, and I can honestly say that during the first set of twelve, I actually did twelve. After that, things diverged from the plan. During the second set I did about ten, during the third set probably seven, and so on. In total I would estimate I did around 50 sun salutations, and for a beginner like me I’m proud of that.
I would have done more but somewhere around the sixth or seventh set I felt like I was stepping on something, which is weird because I was barefoot on my yoga mat – there was nothing to step on. Finally checking things out I realized that the skin on the underside of the big toe of my right foot had quite simply slid off and was hanging by a strip (yes, it was as gross as it sounds). Since nobody else had this problem I’m guessing it’s another issue related to being so heavy on completely flat feet. My flat feet were an amusing novelty as a child but now at middle age my total lack of an arch is a more serious problem.
I hustled out to the front desk for a band aid, put it on, and continued, but things got a bit trickier after that. The studio floor is not the cleanest and most of what I was thinking after it happened was that I really needed to get my foot clean. Thankfully, the actual pain didn’t set in until this morning.
Overall I’m glad I gave it a try, and I hope to do much better next time. I can tell that I’m much stronger than I was when I began (downward dog doesn’t quite feel like a resting position yet, but nor is it as difficult as it was at first). My goal now is to develop a habit of practicing at least a little bit of yoga every day.