It isn’t Sadistical it is Passion

As an active toddler who wanted to keep up with her siblings, a competitive figure skater, runner, all around athlete and yogi, physical pain I am use to. Let’s face it in some ways athletes – regardless of where you are on the demanding spectrum dancer to football player- are sadistical. We train hard, getting up at ridiculous hours, going to the gym multiple times a day, spending most of our days at the rink, or the field or the pool. We are meticulous about our diets living off protein, and veggies (let’s face it green juices? Kinda like booze, it’s an acquired taste, except with alcohol after the fifth drink we no longer remember the taste)
Who in their right mind would do that?
They have to be egotistical right? Some one who wants all the glory. To stand on that podium, or in the super dome, or where ever getting a trophy and a medal, having the whole world standing at their feet (or well at least their country).
And if not, well the money! I mean athletes make a ton of money, and the endorsements! Being the face of Nike? Priceless.
Except it isn’t, regardless of whether you think athletes (professional athletes that is) should make the money they do, or get all the accolades they get, most of the time it isn’t even about that.
I mean it would be nice, don’t get me wrong, but for the average athlete they never reach Lebron status (O. M. G. I just used a basketball player as an example, don’t expect anymore, he is the only one I know.) yet they continue to put their bodies through H.E. double toothpick.
Nothing feels as great as when I am gliding across the ice, until I stick my toepick, then it feels really great (and yes that is sarcasm).
But seriously, it is that feeling of absolute blissfulness, the anticipation of doing a jump and feeling like you can fly for a few seconds in space, the success of finally nailing a difficult element. Of designing choreography that is probably god awful, but you have fun anyway. Of at the end of a horribly hard practice of lying on the ice and making snow angels until you are soaking wet….not that I ever did that.
Even the hard stuff, doing squats against the boards, in my skates, for what seemed like  hours but really was only probably a minute, (did I mention my old coach belonged in Soviet russia…Oh I didn’t? Well she did) or falling constantly on the ice, hundreds of times, not landing that stinking axel. But when I got that axel? In the words of Mastercard. Priceless!
You can look at the negative and pain, and blood (lots of blood) all you want. Or you can look at what it has made you accomplish.
Athletes aren’t just sadistical, they are fighters. (Ironically I am actually writing this while listening to “Fighter” by Gym Class heroes, I know you were just dying to know that) They fight through the pain, they fight even if they don’t have the money to, they fight even if the federations don’t want them to succeed. They fight to hit that ball, or that jump. They fight. They know nothing else but to persist, not because they want to reach their goal, but because of the passion.
Which is probably why I skated almost a whole season with a fractured foot, I couldn’t imagine myself NOT skating. I couldn’t picture myself having to sit out a whole season.
Was it the best decision I have ever made? Pretty sure you now that answer, but when you live and breath something it is hard to give it up.
Which I eventually had to do a year later.
But in the words of Mike Singletary “Do you want to know what my favorite part of the game is? The opportunity to play.” 
And truer words could never be spoken. And even though I still skate recreationally, and have thought many times to return to the sport (and before you get all excited and think Olympian! I mean adult, this twenty-three year old is no spring chicken!) I have found a new love with yoga.
Though it isn’t the ice, my mat has given me that bliss and peace I crave, just in different ways. Jumping back into chatturanga gets my heart pumping, bending back into dancer or binded half moon, channels my flexibleness and gracefullness(or so I think), and arm balances and inversions are exhillirating in ways that jumping is.
Which is why when I injured my back (and no not in a back bend or inversion…I wish would make a much better story!) running (see told you) I cried.
Not because I was in pain (which I am, I have said ouch so many times I can’t even keep count anymore) or because I am going to get a lashing from my orthopedist (totally deserved, but I won’t tell her that!) but because I might be a little bit wiser (or so I like to think) and knew that I wouldn’t be doing any inversions for awhile. Or rather I could, but would injure myself more and probably fall out from the pain.
See? Not even twenty-three a full month and already I am showing signs of maturity.
That said it doesn’t mean I haven’t tried to practice (and there goes any smartness I had) which I have, which has not gone well. At all.
But the frustration that I have felt at not really being able to do “challenging” asanas in some ways has been a blessing.
Not just as an athlete, but New Yorkers, and the every day busy lives in general, people live such fast paced lives. Yoga is a way to downgrade that, to find some TLC on our mats when we can’t find it by just being. But with inversions and vinyasa, it can take that away.
Don’t get me wrong it is empowering. Heart pumping and adrenaline pounding, over coming mind and space, finally getting comfortable and letting go. Even if that means letting go in a less heart pumping pose like Balasana, Child’s pose.
Even if that means I take it for almost the whole class.
But then that is what yoga is, as my teachers and mentors have been telling me, yoga is much more then the asanas. it is only one part of the eight limbs of yoga. And yet as much as it has been ingrained in me, sometimes I feel like I forget that. I get so caught up in doing chin stand that I forget that even though I am breathing ojai breath from now to kingdom come, I’m not really.
I would like to say I am in the moment, but sometimes I think I am just going through the motions.
Which is why as much as this sucks(what you would rather use a more fancy word? Sorry it sucks. Straight and to the point) it also takes me back. To the roots of what really is yoga. Of allowing myself to be okay in balasana or pigeon while everyone is handstanding and vinyasaing. To be okay with me and my limitations, and not care what everyone else is doing or thinks. Your practice is your own, your experiences are your own and no two will be the same, person nor practice.
Yesterday was the perfect example of that, After what was probably the worst day (apparently the Advil was helping some only I was to blonde to realize…oops), I thought I was an idiot to take a class, yet, my mat was calling to me as it does every day. And even though I spent most of the 60 minutes in Child’s pose, I was grateful.
Grateful to be there, Grateful to soak in my mentors words, grateful to be in my body, Grateful of the limitations I had. Maybe it wasn’t the best Asana practice, but meditatively it was.
As athletes and yogis alike, we are constantly pushing our bodies past limits, in both sports and yoga nothing is ever perfected, and we can always improve, but even when our bodies are at their weakest, when we are injured, we are also mentally, at our strongest.
Namaste <3
Disclaimer- I apologize for any and all misspellings and grammatical errors since I am currently on painkillers and can not think straight….though it might be an improvement since i never think straight anyway. Peace <3
Share Live in the Nautical

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.