Breakdancing & Ashtanga (what you learn when you’re not good at things)

So I was practicing my breakdancing moves in my living room, trying really hard to not kick my dog in the head and making a lot of weird noises, when I thought “man. I am really not good at this. Not at all. Not even a little bit.” But I didn’t feel discouraged. I just said “meh” and kept working. How often do we do things we’re not good at? For me, it’s been a while. When I learned how to snowboard, I was good at it right away (epic yoga balance and stability crossed with a background in figure skating). That was the last actually new thing I tried.

It’s the same for me with Ashtanga Primary Series. After 8 years of practicing yoga, I’m still not flexible. That’s okay, that’s my body, and it’s for a combination of reasons (1. my body is not naturally flexible, it never has been, even when I was a figure skating pre-teen (ooh double parentheses: my physical therapists used to make fun of me for my lack of flexibility. While they were helping me recover from injuries. Assholes) 2. I ride bikes for hours every day, not to mention running. My daily life makes my hips and hamstrings even tighter). The binds and forward folds in primary series kill me. I’ve been practicing for what, weeks now? And I’m no closer to kurmasana.

Yep.  That's still what it looks like.  Awkward facial expression and all.

Yep. That’s still what it looks like. Awkward facial expression and all.

Initially, regarding breakdancing and ashtanga I thought MAN, I am TERRIBLE at this, but it will get better if I keep working on it. But guess what? I’m really not getting better at any of it. And I don’t care at all. Practice for the privilege of practice, and not for the end result. It feels good and weird and hard and I like it, and I’m going to keep doing all of it. And one of these days, I’m going to videotape my breakdancing practice, because everybody deserves a good hard laugh once in a while.

Long distance running & Ashtanga (DISCIPLINE)(I don’t have it)

Here are some ways to find out you have no self discipline:

1. You finally choose to pack for your trip instead of getting in the last 9 mile run before
2. The moment you start on a long run, you start justifying why you’ve cut your run short
3. When you get texts, you stop running to respond to them immediately (because, obv, you did not turn your ringer off)
4. You clean your house instead of doing ashtanga primary series. Then, you create yourself a hulu account so you can watch tv instead of doing ashtanga primary series (because you canceled your Netflix account so you’d stop watching tv)
5. When you’re doing ashtanga primary series, you somehow end up working on handstands. This is like if a mouse eats a cookie. Then, you start working on handstand transitions and pretty soon you’re trying to figure out how to footlessly transition out of astavakrasana and you’ve forgotten that you were ever doing primary series in the first place.

Needless to say, I’ve been struggling on both counts. In fact, I haven’t been on a run since I went to Vermont (more on adventures in Vermont to come!), nor have I practice ashtanga primary series. So. Now we get back on the horse.

How do we conquer lack of self discipline? Friends help. I’ve also imposed a new post rule: 1 bagel for every 3 miles. The third bagel really makes the difference between 7 and 9 miles. Actually, this system isn’t a bad idea. Any suggestions on ideas for a post-primary series bribe? I’m going for a long run. With a friend. And bagels!