Saturday, July 14, 2012

I went to yoga and didn't hate it: A story of Green Eggs & Ham.

So I have found it very helpful in life to figure out what you want/like and don't want/like and give people clear statements about them. For example: I do not like dieting because it interferes with my eating habits. I like food (if you offer me cake I will like you more). Or the other day I mentioned to my attending, the resident, and other medical student during rounds that "the biggest problem with rounds is it interferes with my second breakfast". During rounds you are on your feet from 7:30 till they are done which can be as late as eleven. You don't get to eat, drink, or go to the bathroom during this time. You are running around seeing patients and paying attention to their needs/issues/etc. So when we met after rounds at ten on Friday to discuss/ give presentations to each other on Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis, treatment, prognosis, types, etc, etc the attending kindly took us down to the second floor cafeteria and treated us to second breakfast. See, honesty helps us get what we want (tee hee)!


So things that I like: running, jumping, dancing, learning, reading, exploring, chocolate cake, and coffee (see above). Things that I don't like: sitting still and doing nothing, long road trips where I am confined to one place and get carsick when I read. This is who I am. My mom went into labor with me while hiking on the blue ridge mountains. I think I just wanted to get out of the confined space and get to run around on the mountain too. On the other hand, whenever they tried to strap me into the car for up to an hour, I would ball up my hands and scream/ My mom said she never saw a baby so angry.

Another thing I don't like is the phrase "chill out". Oh Hellllll No (ha!) This is the worst thing to say to anyone who is upset. Not only is it invalidating their feelings, but it is distancing yourself from them, saying that they are wrong for the reaction they are having. So if you want someone to relax, make them feel safe and understood, connect with them, let them know you are listening, and try to understand. Alienating someone further won't help a darn thing but instead further alienate them by invalidating their emotions and point of view.

So back to yoga. The culture of "chill". Well, I don't like sitting in one place, I like doing stuff. Making me be still is something I DIS-like. The point of yoga is to remain still in a painful posture trying to let the pain not affect you (let ideas float in and out of your mind like clouds, notice them but don't cling). Sorry, but really the whole time I am aware of the pain and thinking about how there are so many things I want/need to be DOING (i.e. running or studying for the test on monday; it isn't easy balancing running and medical school). And then they tell me and all the rich housewives around me to chill out and relax as though yoga and the americanized expensive zen found there puts us on some sort of moral high-horse. So I don't like yoga.

However, I have been suffering from radicular pain. This means that the muscles in my legs have been cramping painfully for the last year, not because of muscular issues, but because of impingement on my nerves coming from the spinal cord/spinal irritation, probably due the muscles around the spinal cord spasming/being too weak/poor posture. Actually the spasms began when I entered medical school. I thought they were muscular until the the sports & spine doc said they were indicative of nervous problems that were probably due to all the sitting/studying in medical school & that being a medical student is the one of the worst things to ever do to your body. In terms of treatment, what is the best thing to do? You guessed it: yoga. Stretching and strengthening.

Image of Me vs yoga.

So, today, I finally worked myself up to face my arch nemesis. I did it. I went to a yoga class at Core Power yoga, which has a week of free yoga classes for new students. And I loved it.

So what do they do differently there? First of all they don't get all preachy, they just help instruct you to relax and how to relax. They have somewhat of a flow yoga, even for the beginners like me. Where you start out slow moving through the poses and then pick up speed. And they have core exercises spliced in with the painful yoga postures, so I got to move, do different styles of exercises, stretch, and strengthen. All without them getting overly-preachy so I was never told that there is anything wrong with my passionate italian soul (only part italian, but you know what I mean). Also they played good, soulful, relaxing versions of well-liked songs that helped me relax and think about things that make me happy like birds chirping when it was really painful, instead of thinking about how I should be at work or really anywhere else doing something.. Also the instructor, Stefanie, came around and helped stretch us. So when I was pulling on my toes, she pushed down ever so lightly on my lower back to stretch out my spine so that my back got the stretch it needs to help limit my radicular pain.

In summary, it was great, everything that I need from yoga without everything that I dislike about yoga. I would really recommend this for anyone else who wants to do yoga for health reasons, not the group that go to yoga for the feeling of moral superiority, should really try core yoga. I am sold: I do so like green eggs and ham! Thank you Core Power Yoga!I may even do yoga with a goat :)

I will try them.
You will see.
I like green eggs and ham!
I do! I like them, Sam-I-am!
And I would eat them in a boat.
And I would eat them with a goat…
And I will eat them in the rain.
And in the dark. And on a train.
And in a car. And in a tree.
They are so good, so good, you see!
So I will eat them in a box.
And I will eat them with a fox.
And I will eat them in a house.
And I will eat them with a mouse.
And I will eat them here and there.
Say! I will eat them ANYWHERE!
I do so like
green eggs and ham!
Thank you!
Thank you,

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