i’m feeling ruminative

July 29, 2013

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Passing a five year birthday will do that to you. First, let me tell you: your blog birthday wishes were a delight. A delight that went on for days. It’s such a treat to know how you first came here, where you come from, why you come back. I loved every single comment. Thank you for indulging me.

Also, I want to let you know who will be getting a copy of Meg Worlitzer’s The Interestings, by virtue of leaving the 116th comment on my last post–after a random number generator deemed 116 the lucky number. So hey, Emmie, I’ll be mailing you a pretty, new, spine-uncracked copy of The Interestings as soon as I get your mailing address! (I’m tickled that books linked on Emmie’s blog go to Indiebound, rather than that unnamed online book selling behemoth. I do the same here–unless I link directly to the author’s website–as a vote for independent bookstores. Emmie, you’ll be pleased to know that your copy of The Interestings comes from my local indie.)

Moving past my blog’s first five years and into the next has me thinking.

Typically, I am a creature of habit. I’m ridiculously predictable. For instance, three mornings a week at 6:30, I take a class at The Dailey Method. The classes are hard. Not hard like I’m panting and I can’t keep up but hard like, are you kidding me, I have to put my legs in that position, and move them up and down a mere half-an-inch and then hold the position for ten seconds just when I think my quadriceps might explode? After almost three years of classes, though, I do alright. Even pretty good, sometimes. I love this exercise called Seated Pretzel, which most people hate, which looks like the photo in the center on the Dailey Method home page, although you don’t always do it at the bar. I can do that thing in the middle of the floor, with my hands held in prayer and my back leg raised up off the floor. I can smoke many of the students from the local college out of the water on this one, lifting my leg up and down behind me while wearing a Mona Lisa smile. (Of course, this is a move that requires loose hips, and there are unanticipated benefits of having borne three children.)

Then there are other exercises. Like Round Back. It’s this nutty move in which you lean your upper back against a wall and shirk down until you are resting on your sacrum, and then you pop your legs up above you, straight, and hold them against the bar and then you raise them and lower them and cross them and tap them, with your hands pressing up into the bar above you if you need an extra challenge. Some class members do this with no apparent difficulty, looking as if their bodies were designed to resemble boomerangs. Not me. This exercise kills me. I can hardly get my legs straight, and I certainly can’t keep them that way. I can’t press my hands into the bar block for more than a few seconds at a time because they are gripping my calves in a panic, trying to keep those calves from shaking like wet kittens in the rain, while sweat drips from my armpits like tears. Thing is, this is supposed to be an abdominal exercise, and my abs are pretty strong. (Just ask those college ladies for whom I like to show off on High C-Curve.) The reason I have such trouble with this particular exercise is that my hamstrings are tight. And although we do some stretching in class, my hamstrings are pretty much as tight as they were during my very first class.

You could say that I’m inflexible, and I will leave you to decide whether I mean this figuratively as well as literally.

Inflexibility might explain why I am such a creature of habit. You would think that after almost three years of classes, I would realize that I’m never going to get better at Round Back unless I do something different. You would think that I would realize that, possibly, going to these classes three mornings a week and making my muscles tight tight tight might not be precisely what my body needs. That it might be a good idea to throw into the mix something like, say, yoga.

In some ways, I’ve approached this blog the way I’ve attended my Dailey Method classes. I’ve shown up when I think I’m supposed to, and done pretty much the same thing again and again.

But you know what? I’m thinking of doing things a little differently. Showing up here more often, maybe. Maybe putting my other writing aside and focusing on the blog for a few months. Maybe adding some different types of posts to the mix–posts that are less instructive and more ruminative, more like the personal essays that I love to read and write.

I’m just playing with possibilities right now. Stretching my mind while I take up yoga and stretch my body. I’m thinking about how I might use this space a little differently, and doing padahastasana at every opportunity, until I can get my darned legs straight.

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

KC July 29, 2013 at 2:11 pm

I adore the descriptive language you used in this post. It made me wince once or twice! 🙂

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patricia July 30, 2013 at 9:33 am

Thanks, KC. If I made you wince, I did something right!

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Emmie July 29, 2013 at 4:59 pm

So very excited! Thank you so much!!!!

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patricia July 30, 2013 at 9:40 am

It’s been fun to get to know you via your birthday comment, Emmie!

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Cathy July 29, 2013 at 6:08 pm

Looking forward to following along with any changes.

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patricia July 30, 2013 at 9:41 am

Thanks, Cathy!

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Jennifer July 30, 2013 at 4:08 am

Patricia ~

I have been using yoga since 2005, leading classes since 2009, and my hamstrings are the bane of my practice. I adore hip openers and can sit between my heels (hips and quads) but forward bending feels like the First Time, every time.

Jennifer

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patricia July 30, 2013 at 9:42 am

Jennifer, your comment makes me feel like I’m not so alone–but are you telling me that I’m doomed to have tight hamstrings forever? A-a-a-a-a-a-h!

(Nice to see you here again!)

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Kirsten July 30, 2013 at 5:55 am

Really looking forward to seeing what you decide to bring us!

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patricia July 30, 2013 at 9:54 am

Thanks, Kirsten!

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Kristin July 30, 2013 at 8:04 am

Can’t wait to see what you come up with after you ‘chew the cud’ for awhile in Pascimottanasana. But don’t think too hard. Perhaps meditate?

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patricia July 30, 2013 at 10:04 am

Yeah, Kristin, I sometimes feel like a cow trying to get in these various positions. Thanks for reminding me where the word “ruminate” comes from! I have much in common with those herbivore ruminants…

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amy July 30, 2013 at 8:19 am

I’ve been taking a combo kickboxing/pilates/yoga class, which I love, but oh yes, it does ask my body to do some difficult things. Often the instructor will say to me, “You’re doing fine with this, so let’s try THIS,” and I accept the challenge, gasping. I also run, which apparently makes for tighter hamstrings, so I’m working on those. It’s good to stretch those more resistant muscles, and I mean that literally and metaphorically. 🙂

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patricia July 30, 2013 at 10:18 am

It’s good to hear about other mamas struggling to do this stuff, Amy. I will keep all of you gasping beside me in my mind as I work! I do wonder about the connection between literally and metaphorically tight muscles…

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Suzie July 30, 2013 at 4:49 pm

It’s inspiring to hear of people making shifts along the way. I’ll look forward to reading whatever you decide to put out here! 🙂

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patricia July 31, 2013 at 11:51 am

It is inspiring, isn’t it, Suzie? I love reading about how others have made little tweaks in their lives. Thank you for reading along!

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