I am not a yogi. Over the years, I have practiced my fair share of yoga. Partly, for the stretching and slow movement as a complement to cardio and strength work. Partly, for the mindfulness I derive(d) from it at various stages of my life (there were a couple years in my late 30s when it was very much a balm to my discontented soul when I found the perfect yoga studio for me. Not competitive or gimmick-y. Just good teachers and a community space with good classes).
I still do my favourite teacher’s classes, virtually, on occasion. I love her regular 108 Sun Salutation classes and moderate intensity flow classes. I really dig her overall vibe.
Mixed in with these sporadic classes, I do some shorter Yoga with Adriene classes to make sure I’m stretching my hips and hamstrings when I’m super focussed on running.
The other day, I was doing a short 20 minute Yoga with Adriene, specifically for hips. The lovely Adriene instructed us to slowly bring our feet together until we feel the arches of our feet connect. This prompt reminded me of the things I don’t feel when doing yoga:
- The sides of my arches connect. I have bunions. I have always had bunions. I remember having them at 18 or 19 when first wearing heels to work, etc. They have become more pronounced with age. They don’t affect me much but because of them my feet don’t align that way.
- My feet leave the ground for crow pose.
- My shin at 90 degrees when in pigeon pose.
- My elbow loop my ankle in kneeling quad stretch.
For all of the things I don’t feel when doing yoga, there are things I do:
- My hamstrings stretching in wide legged forward fold.
- My triceps firing when pushing up to plank.
- My body temperature rise and my mind settle when doing 108 Sun Salutations.
- My IT band stretch when I cross one leg over the other and then bend forward.
- Free and light when doing a vinyasa between asanas. I particularly enjoy ones involving Warrior 1 and 2. This lightness comes more readily when I am focussing on how I feel and not whether I’m doing each pose exactly right.
When doing something such as yoga, I believe it’s important not to worry too much about what “you are supposed to feel”. Focus on the things you do get out of it. The small and big things. That’s what I try to do. And to be grateful for my bunioned feet carrying me through movement.
Nicole P. lives in Toronto and is gearing up for a half marathon on May 1.