On flexibility

In yoga class today I tried to really focus and concentrate on not letting my elbows hyperextend. I’m double-jointed, which means that when playing basketball in high school, my knee would often pop in and out of its socket and I would freeze mid-dribble and ignore my teammates yells as I let the ball roll out of bounds, staring down at jutting-out boneof my suddenly extremely fragile-feeling and wonky-looking knee in equal parts horror and fascination. A girl with similar joint structure on the soccer team was nicknamed “Rubber Lady” by her teammates, and I always silently thought that it would be a highly appropriate nickname for me as well (as opposed to my official team name Mona, or Blondie, which is not very accurate–man, anyone whose hair isn’t jet black in Colombia is basically considered a mona!).

Anyway, doing yoga has definitely raised some interesting ideas and/or points of reflection for me. The idea that you have this sacred time and space (your mat) where you can just be with your body: learn about it, reflect upon it. I like the idea of making the muscles around my joints stronger, of trying to gently but firmly correct bodily behaviors that have been entrenched in me for years.

Flexibility in general has been a new concept for me to learn. I’ve always had incredibly tight hamstrings, for whatever reason (epic bike riding?). I was always one of the girls who dreaded the gymnastics portion of P.E. class. I have yet to ever turn a somersault. And yet, after years of never, ever being able to touch my toes, I can finally do so. I’m even reaching the point where I may be able to lay my hands flat on the floor without bending my knees. Sure, it isn’t much, and I’m sure it’s yoga candy for most folks, but for me, it’s pretty exciting! Trying to learn to think of my body as flexible and bendy, as opposed to tight and wound-up. A suitable metaphor for emotional and mental states as well.

It’s a good lesson for life in general–learning to be flexible. It’s hard for me sometimes to not get jealous of friends or acquaintances of mine who are just packing up and leaving at this point, embarking on jet-setting adventures about the globe. Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, India, Nepal… countries that sound exciting and different and strange. This is the longest period of time I’ve lived in the U.S., ever…! During the school year, there was always that ticket home to Colombia during Christmas. Not anymore. My parents are moving to Portland on June 1st. And that will essentially be that. If I ever want to return (home) to Colombia, or travel to a different continent, it’ll have to be of my own volition and planning (as well as Corey’s, goes without saying). It’s so hard for me not to daydream and get itchy feet sometimes, to fantasize about just packing up and going, getting out, buying a ticket and then leaving the very next days. I have responsibilies here, though. There will be time for traveling. “There will be time to make decisions and indecisions, to murder and create, for visions and revisions, all before the taking of toast and tea.”

I’ve been in a “really-deep-thoughts” mood, as Tori Amos sings. I guess the New Year is a good holiday for really deep thoughts. A stranger randomly asked me the other day “who or what motivates you?” I was slightly taken aback and couldn’t come up with an appropriate answer. I stammered something out how the formation of communities motivate me (thesis, again… not to mention sweetly reminiscent of one the 5 Components of my summer job two years ago). I asked Corey the same question later that evening and he answered immediately, “curiosity.” A good response. I’ve thought about that question over the past two days, and I guess I still don’t really know. It’s a big question, no? “Who or what motivates you?” Some of the things that motivate me, just in my day-to-day existence, are the little things: a scheduled yoga class, a planned outing with a friend, a good chapter in a book to finish. That’s what I would say helps me get up in the morning, the eagerness for Demera sugar in my English Breakfast and my silly spinach-raspberry-yoghurt breakfast smoothies. (Hopefully that doesn’t make me sound completely empty and pathetic!) But then you need the big things too, you know? Curiosity. Community. Simplicity. Wanting to be a good person, to do good things, to be good to others. Sometimes those things can be harder to do. That’s why while doing those little, day-to-day things, you still need to be aware of the big picture.

I try to learn something new in little ways every day, I guess. That’s where I find the real appeal in traveling: when you’re somewhere different, somewhere you’ve never been before, every experience feels huge and incredibly significant because it’s all so new and unfamiliar. You go to bed at the end of each day completely exhausted because all the overwhelming informations and sights and smells and sounds you’ve had to absorb. Time itself feels stretched out, like a stringy piece of bubblegum, and days feel like a week, weeks like month. It’s a feeling I miss. But it’s definitely one I’ll have again someday. I just have to be patient, to appreciate and enjoy my time here now. Work starts on Monday, which also means new experiences and new people.

To end on a somewhat tangential note (I can’t figure out how to connect it to any of the other ponderings in this entry), another interesting thing our teacher mentioned in class today is that since it’s the full moon, that can sometimes lead to a lot of erratic energy in people. “Finally,” I said to my friend over the phone later that evening, “I’ve found something else I can pin my ‘erratic’ energy on! PMS, caffeine withdrawal, the moon’s waxing and waning…” So that’s my excuse for the erratic nature of this post (and hence blog), just your regular old waxings and wanings.

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2 Comments

Filed under pondering, yoga

2 responses to “On flexibility

  1. Orange, Squashed By Dirty Boot

    I think the other thing that motivates me is a total lack of desire to ever work/write for a political beat or blog. One day at work has taught me that, if nothing else.

  2. julikins

    …learning is good…?

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