The Smallest Possible Step You Can Take

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So, as I keep working with and in my hybrid-bujo set-up, as I continue to learn and research about planning and about making goals and how to attain those goals, I find myself wanting to rebuild my Yoga practice.

However, I now have asthma.  I now have auto-immune issues.  I now have joint issues that I have to be careful with.  (Arthur Rhitis, my Gg used to call him, I mean it).  Whiplash from when I was 7yo is now an issue.  Menopause.  Age.  Weight.  A distinct yada yada yada.

I must start slowly.  I must adjust my expectations.  I must not quit.  I must embrace myself where I am and how I am and start.

I miss my old workouts, an hour, two hours, deep Ashtanga Yoga.  Yoga Flows.  Series after series of Sun Salutations.  No interruptions, except for sometimes cat assistance.  Clear deep breaths without effort.

Yeah.  Nope.  Not happening any time soon.

I have been slowly working on my breathwork since I was diagnosed with asthma (how long ago was that now?).  For me, it has been a difficult feat.  I am used to deep belly breaths where my shoulders nor upper chest never twitch. Nope.

It’s been hard for me to take in much air, but since I have three inhalers to use every day and the process is to spray the medicine into my throat and suck that into my lungs and to hold it there for as long as I can…so that is where I started.  Spray the medicine into my throat and hold my breath for as long as I could. 

When I started, I could hold my breath to the count of maybe three.  Now I can make it to ten.  That’s when I started doing my once normal breathwork.  Ujjayi pranayama. (Contract your throat as if sucking air in through a straw, filling your lungs completely, breathing in and out through your nose—to keep it at its most basic premise.)  Ujjayi breathwork creates a certain sounds, that sucking air in through a straw sound (I have no other clear way to describe it.)

My goal has been to reach the count of seven during inhale, hold that for a count of five, and release my breath, with control, to the count of ten.  There have been days, here and then, when I can reach that goal, a few times.  However, I do my Ujjayi breathing every morning, aiming for five minutes a day…depending upon how it hits my lungs.  Some mornings I just cannot draw a breath for more than a few seconds at a time.  Some days I cannot hold that breath in.  Some days I have no control when exhaling.  Having to relearn that credo of releasing all expectations every single day, of not judging what happens on one day against any other day, it’s been difficult.  It’s a learning experience.  The one thing I know is that I will not give up.

Now, as for restarting my Yoga practice…I lack the stamina to throw myself into a series of Sun Salutations.  I cannot drop right back into Ashtanga flows.  I have to step back and allow my body to guide me where we are going. 

I started with something simple … in order to quell this new type of migraine I have been getting that originates through my shoulders, goes up my neck and into the depths of my brain…as well as because the arthritis in my elbow and shoulder on one side has been vicious for countless months and I have to be careful with.

I began by coupling breathwork in the evening with a basic practice.  Stand in mountain pose.  Inhale, arms over head.  Exhale, bend over, hands to the floor.  I started with fingertips to the floor and now can stand with palms flat on the floor, most nights.  Inhale up, arms overhead.  Exhale, hands to chest.  Namaste.  Repeat.  That is the beginning of my practice.

In December, I am planning to begin adding a downward dog pose into this process.  I will see where my body leads me into that pose.  I am working on Yin Yoga principles, which I have never really done before, although I have studied it—read books, watched videos, my usual.  Study thoroughly and proceed with caution.

Yin Yoga is about holding a pose for a few minutes.  Then releasing.  Some say you can repeat the pose again and hold it again for another few minutes—or change to a different pose.  I am not an expert there. 

Some days are good.  My body works well within the parameters I think it should.  Other days, I am too sore, too stiff, too headachey, whatever.  Again, I am drawn back into the releasing all judgment and allowing myself to be and do what I need to be and do where I am, just being where I am as I am and accepting that without reservation.

Where are you in your journey?  What tiny step are you taking to achieve a goal?  It doesn’t have to be breathwork or Yoga-inspired.  Let me a comment below.