Asanas: The Bane of My Existence

I had always prided myself on being a good athlete.  I had good balance and coordination.  I have a lean, strong body.  I have built endurance and stamina through the years of various sport activities.  Being both a sprinter and a marathon runner I’ve both my fast twitch muscles and slow twitch muscles primed and ready.  I am one tough cookie.  I’ve allowed myself to be in situations where people not only hit me, but I get kicked as well practicing both Muay Thai and Boxing.  Most importantly, as any successful athlete will tell you, it’s attitude that counts.  Personally, I believe that I’m a positive, determined, diligent individual who understands the importance that practice makes perfect.
Yes, I know that I’m not a flexible person.
True, I’ve always avoided stretching before and after my workouts in the past.
No, I cannot touch my toes.
Still, this should not be a problem.  Yoga is to be stress-free, simply a succession of poses only to provide a stretch to the muscles, that anyone can do.  I don’t even think that I’ll break out a sweat.  Once again, I was wrong.
To perform an asana properly they must be steady and comfortable and physically in proper positioning.  In order to do this one must have all the attributes of a highly trained athlete: mental and physical strength, coordination, mind focus, and endurance.  Unlucky for me, flexibility is a big one.  Unfortunately for me, I’ve many structural deviations making the asanas or poses even more difficult.
Day 1:
Toes not touched
Downward dog atrocious not able to tilt sacrum up OR bring feet flat to the floor
I fall forward when attempting to do a squat with my knees and calves together
Wrists feel as if to break off during Parsvottanasana
None of the binds or twisting moves (Parivritta moves or Marichysana) completed
My neck curves wrongly in all of the inverted positions
Day 2:
Top of toes touched
Downward dog glimmers of hope
Squat still not happening
Palms come closer during Parsvottanasana
Almost there with the binds and twisting moves
My neck is officially in need of help with positioning
Day 3:
Hating life with the pushups and plank work
I can touch my toes
More downward dog glimmers
Damn this squat
Wrists feel like breaking
Hey, I can get into a head and shoulderstand
Day 4:
Snooze alarm
Snooze alarm for the second time
Snooze alarm for the third time
Turn off alarm, and reset alarm for 11:30 AM
This morning’s asana session is not going to happen
Day 5:
Hmm.. it appears that the universe is playing a joke on me.  Not only did I think a day off would be helpful but I didn’t think backbends would be so hard!  Someone up in the heavens truly must be laughing at me
Day 6:
Finally!  Success!
Hips are opening up more
Tendons are slowly releasing
Arches and bends are getting higher
Shoulders and twists are going deeper
Am I actually recognizing the poses in Sanskrit? A dream
Days 7 – 14: China Bound
Based on the experience above I found myself enjoying and becoming better at each session.  Diligence, hard work and focus are needed.  Still, the process works.  I truly believe that if I do asanas daily for the next 6 months I will see drastic improvements.  If anything, doing the asanas have taught me the importance of practicing daily.  So for me, if I had to explain asanas, my definition is: A steady, comfortable pose performed over a lengthy physical and mental process!

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