Crossfit & Ashtanga

I’m dreaming of two things I’m basically forbidden to do.

I remember my performance in Crossfit and how angry and frustrated I would get.  I was stuck in a world where I compared myself tirelessly to others.  A month and a half into it and I watched a new girl walk in, dead lift double what I could, and breeze through PRs, sprint runs, and even my dreaded rope climb.  I felt admonished, small, and weak.  I don’t think I lasted another month.

That comparative way of thinking is what led me to commit to yoga.  I wanted to rewire my brain a bit, start to let go of the need to be “incredible” at the sport of fitness.  Yoga taught me a lot, but the most important thing it taught me; connection to my breath, that lovely Ujjayi Pranayama breath.

Through Ashtanga I held onto this peace of mind and refused to let it go.  I was thirsty for all of the information I could get.  Oddly enough my ego began to slowly resurface, like holding a nearly empty honey bottle over a bowl. Instead of taking the root of what Ashtanga is, I quickly became the little monster I encountered in Crossfit.  “Why can’t I do that, yet?” began to be a personal mantra.

Finally, one doctor’s office visit and an MRI later, I was told I have the spine of an eighty year old woman.  I time warped back to that moment of trying to get a PR (small as it would be) for my dead lift and faltering.  That time warp also put me back into my home, on my mat, stubbornly ready to go into Bakasana but being fearful, as if something was saying, “Stop.”

That something was a few bulging discs (L4 all the way to S1), and a torn fissure.  My doctor was amazed I didn’t complain more. I felt a strange relief.

I was told to stay away from my yoga practice, but I do plan on researching this advice further.  I’m finished with steroids and my back is feeling much improved; the constant pressing of pain is now just a memory.  But my appointment with a neurologist is looming and so is my drive to get results and reemerge into the world of Crossfit and Ashtanga.

The ego has to be squashed.  I have to heal first, and even when I heal, I don’t want the unbending image of perfection and comparisons to rear its ugly head again.  I have this unreal expectation of walking into the box with a healed spine and crushing all of the PRs I’d hoped to get back then.  Or that I’d breeze through a two hour session in Mysore with poise and perfection.

PRs and perfection are not what makes a person great.  I’ll go with the word perseverance, instead. Perseverance to continue working hard, even through failures, modifications, and no records at all.

It’ll be an interesting 2015 for me.


2 thoughts on “Crossfit & Ashtanga

  1. You’re right perseverance is what makes someone great! The cross fit class I am in has a very diverse group of people and I too struggled with “why can’t I do that?” Two days after the first class I was in so much pain I felt like I had just had a c section!! But I pushed through and even though I can’t do everything as perfectly as some others I’m proud to know I am sticking it out. I think you’re on the right track. Don’t worry about everyone else, they are facing their own battles too, even if you can’t see it. Good luck to you!! I wish you the best in your journey!


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