Tonight my yoga practice was folding a load of clothes, a headstand, and ten plank/dolphin pushups while singing along to Peaches. The class I was meant to teach this evening was cancelled, and I'm secretly (not so secretly) glad. It's raining, for the third Tuesday in a row, and although yesterday was a golden tinged spring day, the air is cold and dry. Shanghai springtime is a volatile season, it seems; I'd like to do a cleanse, but with the weather wardrobe swinging between scarves and shorts it feels like a good way to get sick.
I suppose more than anything it's about being prepared. Bringing your umbrella when the sky looks wet and dark, or carrying a sweater in your backpack. I am so often, these days, unprepared. I am unprepared for how tired teaching four classes a day makes me feel, and unprepared for the weight on my shoulders when I roll up to headstand. It doesn't make any sense, though, because intellectually I know my body is heavy, and I will need to support it with my shoulders and arms. I came down and curled into child's pose, not because I wanted to, but because so many other people do after an inversion. It did not serve me well. A crushing sensation set across my shoulders as I reached my arms back, and forward. I wondered for a moment if my heart and lungs were being slowly suffocated by my rib cage and shoulder muscles. My knees were together, and the subsequent support on my chest was too much. I sat up and did some stuff with my shoulders, stretching my triceps and biceps. The crushing let up.
Well, it's been a few days since I wrote all that, and I have not attempted any more headstands. In fact, I've been emphasizing my tight hips and hamstrings. I'm unprepared to suddenly join the masses who complain of inflexible forward folds and hips that won't open. I'm a flexie-bendie! But here I am, wincing in my forward folds and cringing during pigeon. I don't know what happened, but just admitting that I need to take more care was huge. My tired muscles seem no longer willing to melt into any old asana, and thusly I have to prepare more before practicing, before teaching. It's a big lesson, and it extends to all corners of my life. My Chinese visa expires next week, and I've had 90 days to plan for it. But I'm scrambling nonetheless, calling the Exit and Entry Bureau asking for an extension, searching flights to Taiwan or Hong Kong, and counting my savings hoping it multiplied over night. I read somewhere (or probably heard on TV) one definition of 'crazy' is doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different outcome. If that's true, then I'm certifiable.
I said to Ben last night my new morning ritual will be ten sun salutations. Full disclosure: it's morning, and I haven't done any yet. But I plan to. Right now. I'm just getting prepared with a cup of coffee and some blogging.