It was pretty common for me to cram in as much work as I could before heading out on vacation. That was my M.O. in my old life…at my old job. I would work my ass off to get as much off my plate as I could in hopes that my time off would be ‘work free’…sometimes that worked and sometimes it didn’t. But what almost always did happen is that I’d get sick at the beginning of a trip.
It was the lifting of the stress…the relaxing of the mind…that allowed my body to realize how taxed it had been. Its response was to allow itself to get sick. While I’m no longer under the stress I was at my old job, life certainly isn’t stress free. There are new challenges and pressures…many of which I’ve gladly taken on because I wanted to, not because I had to…but I’m finding the results on my body are similar.
Teaching SUP yoga was incredibly rewarding but hard on my body. I learned early on that students needed more than just verbal guidance. They needed someone to watch…to look at to ensure they were doing a pose correctly…to get a visual cue from. That someone was me…which meant I did each practice I taught. Some days that was just one practice…other days it was 2 or 3…but it was practice on top of my regular work out schedule pretty much 5 or 6 days a week.
While I got really good at doing yoga on a paddle board, it’s a practice that uses secondary muscles that you don’t tap into on a regular basis. The smaller core muscles…those tiny back muscles…the muscles in the bottom of the feet…are all worked in a way they aren’t in a regs yoga class.
There were days…many days…when I could barely walk in the mornings because the bottom of my feet were so sore. For most of the summer my back was tight and my shoulders tired. But because it’s a seasonal practice, there wasn’t an option to take a day off. Plus, I wanted to teach. Regardless of the pain, I loved the practice…being on the water…letting students experience something new and completely different…it was where I wanted to be.
As if the practice wasn’t strenuous enough, the physicality of carrying the boards to the water…putting them in the water…lifting them out of the water…carrying them back to storage…was a lot of work. Each board weighed 30 pounds and the process to lower them in and lift them out of the water required bending and twisting.
I remember about two weeks in telling myself that I’d treat myself to a massage when classes were finished for the season. Why I thought I had to wait, I’m not sure. I think it’s that old habit of pushing myself to stay focused…to push through the stress and pain…to push to completion and then reward myself.
Well, I taught my last two classes yesterday…tomorrow we leave for a week long vacation…and today I can barely move. It started with a pinch in my neck this morning and then moved down to the middle of my back. The pain residing right behind my heart making it nearly impossible to take a deep breath. Eventually it made it’s way down an arm…a leg…settling into my back body and leaving me frustrated.
I’m frustrated because all I can think is had I listened to my body and done weekly or maybe bi-weekly massages, my body wouldn’t have finally given into all the wear and tear the day before we leave. Had I taken better care of myself, I would be in better spirits today.
It’s the same old habit, just under new conditions. Under conditions where I’m nearly 100% focused on wellness and I still managed to not take care of myself. Some habits die hard…but I hope this one is on its last leg.