It’s five in the morning and I’m up blogging. Why? For one, the stupid dog slipped the fence yesterday and stole a rotisserie chicken from the crazy guy painting the house. He ate it, bones and all. The last time he did this (it was a pound of carnitas, not the Halloween candy, as I previously reported) he had a major poop-splotion. Since we aren’t eager to repeat that feat, Lonny and I have been sleeping lightly.
Lonny: What’s that sound?!
Me: Huh? What? I’m sleeping here!
Lonny: I think it was a fart. I KNOW it was a fart. The dog farted! WE GOTTA GET HIM OUT OF HERE!
He walked him twice in the middle of the night and I just took him out so here I am. Just incase you were wondering.
The second reason I am blogging is I took Estee Zakar’s strength and flexibility workshop at Boulder Spirals yesterday and it’s got me thinking. A gal from the studio has taken up blogging and she already wrote about it, like 30 minutes after I dropped her off at home. What the? And I thought I was fast, read it here.
Ever since taking a class with Estee a several weeks ago, I’ve been all about new challenges. Her Strength and Flexibility workshop wasn’t about doing pole dancing moves, except for giving your body the – you guessed it – strength and flexibility it needs to do the moves. I took up pole almost a year ago and when I first started Sasha told me that while flexibility isn’t absolutely necessary right off the bat, it will make everything easier.
I’ve had a pesky right quad/hip flexor for as long as a can remember. I’ve been to massage therapists, yoga, foam rollers, you name it (although I’d like to try Rolfing and maybe even acupuncture) and I have never made any progress. It prevents me from doing many moves on the pole: Marley on the left, knee hold, Jasmine. As well as moves on the ground: backbends, bridges, behind the head toe grabs. It may be what hurts my right knee in the center spits. It may be why I have Plantar Fasciitis in my right foot. It might be the cause of the strife in the Middle East for all I know. Everything is connected, after all.
When I started taking pole classes I committed myself to stretching for 45 minutes every day. I worked on the side splits, front splits, quad stretches, hip openers, some back twists, forward folds and some arm and shoulder stuff. I kept the stretches specific to my goals because I wanted to do them at home, because try as I might, I just can’t get into yoga where someone is shouting “Updog, downdog, Chatturanga, Warrior 1, Warrior 2, back bend, forward fold, blah, blah, blah.”
I hate it. I wish I didn’t but I do. And I always have. I went to a family yoga camp when I was a kid and I hated it even then. I always snuck out at the first opportunity so I could hang out at the lake with the other kids or go ride horses.
To quote the spectacular Alethea Austin on yoga:
This doesn’t mean I haven’t taken yoga classes, I’ve dutifully taken them on-and-off for over 20 years so I know a few things about alignment. And I have had instructors that I’ve loved. The one thing they had in common was that they were funny and nice and gave back rubs. I feel bad enough about not being able to touch my toes, I don’t need someone barking in Sanscrit at me to make me feel worse. In college I took one-time warm-up and stretch class that I have never forgotten. It was luscious and juicy and the music was wonderful. I have longed for that class ever since.
Back to the future, after a dutiful 30 days of daily stretching my result was? Nothing. So I said fuckit and nothing has changed. I find myself challenged on a regular basis to do a move that I might have the mechanics of, but I can’t get my leg out of the way, or arm to wrap behind my back enough.
So I’m starting over with Estee. Her class isn’t boring, that’s for sure. It moves at a lightning speed and her music is loud and awesome. It reminds me of that class 18 years ago. I have a goal (improve on the pole, get those splits) which helps tremendously, as opposed to “being more flexible” or achieving some elusive yogic state. Maybe in my next life. Scratch that, in my next life I want to be Estee Zakar, Nirvana can wait.
Because I’m always looking for a measure of success, I decided to start a three-week challenge with Estee. I’ll take her workshop three weeks in a row, doing her stretches and alignment (to the best of my ability) daily in between, and take a picture after each class. Three weeks is a very short period of time and I don’t expect to get my splits in just then, but I would like to see if I could get a few inches closer to the ground.