My too big belly

I know I have referred recently to some issues with my weight, and also issues with yoga. I guess it is time for me to elaborate.

As many of my readers know, I have been practicing Ashtanga for just over a year now. About seven months ago, I moved from led classes to Mysore, which I do twice a week. In Mysore classes, the teacher only allows you to go so far, until you do well enough the poses you have been given to move forward. I have been working up to the same pose for almost the same amount of time. And that pose is marichyasana d.

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When I first started Mysore I was working on Mary B, but I have been able to do that consistently for about six months now. So for the past six months, I have been at pretty well the same place.

I am struggling so much with this pose for two reasons. The first is that my upper arm is not very long. The bone is called my humorous, and although it is not freakishly short, it is not long enough to easily do this wraparound and bind either. I can do it, but only if I get my armpit close enough to my knee. There is my second problem. My stomach is in the way. I can do it in C, because my lotus foot isn’t there. But in D, I cannot get my stomach to twist past my foot so I can get my arm around my knee and reach for the bind. I am well aware that that sentence probably only makes sense to people that practice yoga. However, I can make it simple; The fat on my stomach is in the way of me being able to do this pose!

For a long time this did not bother me. This pose is known to be a difficult one, most of the people I practice with could not do it, and I was enjoying working on getting up to that point, focusing on doing other poses leading up (and in the closing sequence, which is where the headstand comes in) just a little bit better, and also focusing on trying to go inside myself and just feel my breath and movement. But it this point, it is really starting to get to me. I have been working on it for so long, and I’m really not getting any closer. Additionally, there are only a small group of us left in Mysore when I’m there…usually 4 to 6 people per class. I am the only one left in the core group that cannot do this pose. That also means I’m the only one left in the that is not doing dropbacks, since my teacher does not start working on them until one can do Mary D. That’s just the way Ashtanga works. Reality is, even if I can get this pose, I might not move much further in Mysore…because I only have an hour to practice before I get the kids from daycare, and most of the students that are further ahead than me practice for an hour and a half or so. Of course, my teacher is not that mean…when I do have more time for some reason, he does let me go a a few poses past Mary D, because there are poses past there that I am fine with and he knows it. But he certainly will not start drop backs! regardless, it would still be a nice feeling of accomplishment to know I could do it!!!

So, obviously, the fact that my stomach is too big for me to do this pose is a problem for me. My teacher insist that I can get around that eventually, with more work, but I honestly don’t believe him. I can feel it in the way, and even though he is too nice to say it… I do know other, blunter Ashtanga teachers do recommend people lose a little weight if they are struggling with this pose.

Of course, I know it is not very yogic of me to care. I know that I should just be patient, be happy where I am, focus on getting into a meditative state, and not give a shit what everyone else in the class can do. But come on, does that sound like me? No, no it does not! I am competitive and ambitious, and I don’t tend to take “I cannot” for an answer.

Except with my weight. I lost around 45lbs pounds in 2010, and 5 more last year when I went off wheat. Since then, I have been pretty convinced that I cannot lose anymore weight without an amount of effort that I’m not willing to put forward. I am not willing to restrict (quality or quantity) what I eat any more than I have, nor do I have the time or energy to exercise more than I do. To be honest, I’m already exhausted and overwhelmed. Half the time when I’m driving to yoga or putting on my clothes to go for a run I am thinking to myself “What the hell am I doing? I can barely keep my eyes open, there are million things I should be doing around the house, there are million things I should be doing with the kids, and I am on my way to go expand more time and energy exercising?”. That doesn’t mean I think I should not do it, I know it is good for my physical and emotional health…but I know that I cannot do it anymore than I already am.

I probably should eat healthier, I probably should stop eating all sugar, not have treats (like frozen yogurt, occasional indulgences when out with friends, wine) anymore, and not have rice. I should be one of those people that eats nothing but fruits and vegetables, and lean (unsweetened) protein. But I think I’d be miserable. I’ve already made so many dietary changes, I eat so differently than I did a few years ago. I don’t want to eat more differently than this. But that makes me angry at myself, Because I should want to, I should be willing to. It would make me thinner, and also make me able to do Mary D.

As for feeling fat and not liking the way I look, as always that comes and goes. There are days where I feel really badly about myself. This weekend I went shopping with two of my friends (separately), both who are thinner than me. That made me feel pretty badly about myself. I feel better when I shop alone, I know my size and I know how to find things that are flattering for me! I like shopping with friends, don’t get me wrong…but maybe I should go shopping with friends that are bigger than me instead of smaller than me (except none of my close friends that like to shop are…and I like my friends!) Again, I know I should not care if my friends are thinner than me, I know it should not bother me… But it does. Some days anyway. Other days, I’m just happy to be how I am.

Anyway, I guess that’s enough of a novel for now. I mostly okay with how I look, although I have my moments. I am not okay with my yoga practice, and I do not know what to do about it. I know the right answer is probably either to accept it and be patient, or to take a break and focus on a different kind of yoga for a while…but neither of them work for me. I am just not very good at accepting it, and I cannot find a studio close to home that has a schedule and classes that work for me as well as what Im currently doing where I am. Right now I do Ashtanga twice a week and then Vinyasa once or twice a week. I love Vinyasa… It requires the same stamina and uses a lot of the same poses as Ashtanga, but there’s a lot more flexibility and variety in poses, and we work on new and different things every time. Unfortunately, I cannot find a studio close to home that offers enough Vinyasa classes that I could do that instead several times a week, and I certainly do not want to practice only once a week! I have completely given up on hot classes. I have forced myself to go so many times, but I just never like it. I hate being that hot, and I’m tired of forcing myself to go to a class I hate. Besides being so hot, I don’t find the classes are particularly challenging pose wise, and would rather not spend my time in a class where I am uncomfortably hot but not challenged by the poses. That’s probably a bad attitude, but so be it. I would rather just run or spin! But 3-4 yoga practices a week is not really enough for me as it is…if I quit ashtanga, it’s even less. Ugh.

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