So, I haven't been running because of my hip. Instead I've been doing yoga, though I've been rather cautious with that as well. In my last post, I decided to cease all exercise. That lasted about two weeks, when I decided that yoga should be good for my hip, but that I would have to be smarter about it. I would have to be tuned into my body, specifically my hips. I don't know why this didn't occur to me sooner. Isn't that what yoga is all about, tuning into your body and what it's saying?
I was proud of myself for running through the pain and pushing forward. That was exactly the kind of mental and physical stamina I would need to run a marathon. Admittedly, part of the reason I wanted to run a marathon in the first place was because of the pain. I wondered how bad it really hurt. Not that I doubted when I heard stories of how painful it was, but I was curious about the pain. What did it feel like? Would I be able to handle that much pain, however much it was? I don't view this as masochism, but rather a mere curiosity. I just had to know for myself how painful running a marathon actually was.
So, training for that first marathon and all the subsequent ones I've trained for and completed has provided me the opportunity to know quite a bit about my physical capabilities. But I don't know that I'm all that in touch with my physical limitations. Of course there are several tasks I physically can't do, like a pull-up. That kind of limitation is quite clear. I'm talking about the grayer areas of physical limitations. For example, I can't touch my toes when seated, but if I strain and get a bit of momentum, I can. Still, this is a limitation, and one I shouldn't push because I have and injured hip and tight hamstrings from years of linear movement. Getting to know and understand the depth of these kinds of limitations is my favorite thing about yoga. Each practice provides me with the opportunity to learn how to modify a movement or a pose in order to benefit from it the most.
I don't know what other peoples' expectation of their yoga practice is, but I can't help but wonder if it's about image. I try not to make assumptions about others in any given yoga class, but I suspect that for some it is about projecting an image or creating a certain impression. More than once, I've heard an instructor say that it's okay to use the blocks, that it doesn't matter how the pose looks, that "We're all feeling the same thing." I'm often the one using the blocks, because everything from my hips down is so tight. I even heard an instructor tell a student who expressed concern over being relatively new to yoga to not rely on what those around her looked like because they probably weren't doing the move right. Instead, the instructor encouraged the student to pay more attention to her description of the pose. I can relate to that quite a bit. I know I look different in most of the poses. Actually, I like that I'm coming to yoga as a runner. I don't need to be good at it, and I don't care what I look like. I just want my hip to feel better so I can run again. In this way, my yoga practice is my own.
I guess the point of what I'm trying to say is that this injury sucks. I hate it. This was supposed to be my best race year yet. I'm supposed to run a marathon this weekend and it was supposed to be my Boston qualifying race. Instead, I'll be going to yoga class and getting to know myself better in a new way. It might sound dismissive, but it is what it is. This is where I'm at right now.