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All signs point to stillness

Signs come at you in little ways at first, right?

Someone mentions their timing belt blew out on a drive to Orlando. You pass by a car on the side of the road with it’s hood up and a guy standing beside it with his cell phone out, looking hot and late for wherever he was headed. Later, you hear an ad on the radio for a discount on oil changes. Damn, you think. I’m definitely taking the car in on Friday to check out that rattling in the engine. But you don’t.

The weekend arrives. You’re at Publix and your car won’t start. You have to pay to get it towed; you have to call friends for a ride. And your borrowing your Mom’s car for work on Monday.

If we’d only pay attention to the signs we get.

Now, I’m not getting all mystical here, but it’s happened enough times in my life to me — signs quietly trying to wake me up to what needs attention. And, almost without fail, I ignore them. You’d think I’d learn.

Almost two years ago, someone gave me a nine-session yoga gift certificate for Christmas. I still haven’t used it. I think about yoga a lot. I’m drawn to it; it’s on my list of “things to do” — the list that I ignore in favor of things I’m not drawn to, but which seem to pay the bills. I receive a monthly newsletter from a local yoga teacher. Each time, I’m so attracted and interested in the newsletter, I make a mental note to “go next week.” And then, never do. A woman I admire greatly — for her success and for her killer 40-year-old body — mentions that she’s been doing yoga for 20 years. And I think, damn, it’s not too late to start now. And then, I go back to work, and later fall into bed. Yoga undone.

So, it’s no surprise that yesterday, at a doctor’s appointment I almost blew off for, yes, say it with me, WORK, the doctor read me the riot act, told me one aspect of my health was compromised to a “critical level” and that if I didn’t change my ways, my only alternative in four months would likely be surgery.

And, what one treatment did he advise above all else? You guessed it. Yoga.

In particular, the Downward Facing Dog Pose.

And when I asked if I couldn’t do the Back-Sprawled, Paws Akimbo Cat Pose instead, he didn’t even crack a smile.

Boomerang demonstrates the Back-Sprawled, Paws Akimbo Cat Pose.

Boomerang demonstrates the Back-Sprawled, Paws Akimbo Cat Pose.

He just said, “You’re way too young for this [glad I’ve got him fooled]. This is serious. If you want to avoid surgery, you’ve got to take action now, and every day, for the next four months.” [As if shaking that martini shaker every Friday night for the past 12 months hasn’t been “action” enough?]

In my own defense, I have been taking action in the past year — I’d been walking on the beach, and building in some running. Walk. Run. Run. Walk. Then. Cry.

Yup. Crying. LIke a baby. I’d been experiencing some pretty wacked out pain over the past several months and like I always do I figured I’d “run through it” — my mantra for surviving most things in life. But mostly, I cried through the pain all the way off the beach and into my car until the next time I decided to break a sweat. Well, turns out the pain was yet another sign — a sign to stop running and address what was causing the pain in the first place. Of course, I didn’t listen to that sign either.

Was in too big of a hurry to pay attention. To slow down. To listen to my own body crying out in pain. And now here I am months later, with a doctor telling me to slow WAY down or face surgery in the new year.

Yoga is about stillness, in a big way, I think. Even when you’re moving through poses, the quality within, if I”m not mistaken, is one of stillness.

And, I’m never still. I’m practically glued to this chair as a writer and home-based businesswoman — ostensibly still, but I work crazy hours in a kind of frenzied, very hurried attempt to “make something of my life” after a few years spent massively screwing it up. And even when I’m sitting in this chair, even when I’m washing my hair, even when I’m crawling into bed, I’m always racing somewhere in my mind.

So, now, under doctor’s orders, I can’t run, can’t ride my bike, can’t even walk for exercise. But I can do yoga.

Oh, and after a couple of weeks, I can incorporate swimming.

So, despite my affinity for cats, I’m going to get up close and personal with finding my inner (and outer) dog. I’m going to submerge myself in the stillness of yoga and then, later, in the mysterious weightlessness of water.

I’ve already started doing the DFD at home — but if you don’t see a post within a week from me about the yoga class I’m attending (I need a pro’s help!), please hit me over the head with the nearest yoga mat you can find — like the one that’s been bumping around my back seat for two years, ever since I got that Christmas yoga gift certificate that I never used!

So, enough about me. What signs have you been ignoring?

Posted on August 21st, 2010Comments RSS Feed
11 Responses to All signs point to stillness
  1. I don’t know what your issue is, but I sure hope you beat this thing.

  2. Thanks JW — the doctor says it’s something I can do if I work consistently over the next four months to address it. It’s a real wake up call. The “big” sign after all the little ones!

  3. Thanks, MC, for sharing and for promoting yoga. I am a yoga teacher, and I would advise your blog readers that if they are considering yoga, they should try a few teachers and styles. Once you find a teacher and style of yoga you like, you will find that the benefits of yoga are accessible to everyone and every body. Yoga will promote balance, strength, coordination, relaxation, flexibility, range of motion, and the practice of being present. You will discover, like MC, that the hardest part of a good yoga class is getting yourself to go. Once you are there, you need only to relax and participate as best as you can, and the benefits of yoga will flow to you. You can find information on my yoga classes at

  4. Thanks for reading the blog, Gary, and adding your thoughts. I think the most important benefit you described may be “being present.” I think if I’d been truly present over the last two years, I wouldn’t have ignored all the messages my body was sending me!

  5. Well how was yoga today MC on this rainy Monday?I hope this helps your situation out and you feel better in time.

  6. Please call me and come in next week for a comp.visit that would not be too lengthy. I would love to help you out.And “Down dog” will work the magic!!From personal experience! XO

  7. I just was doing the DFD. You’re awfully sweet to offer to help, Joan. But, ,um, didn’t you think my joke about the Cat Pose was funny!!???

  8. Down dog is a staple of yoga. It’s important especially for newbies to utilize key positioning skills. I found that Leeann Carey has a great free yoga video on this very thing. Your readers might want to check it out:

  9. Back Sprawled Paws a Kimbo is of COURSE! delicious! especially on days like today and yesterday and the day before!

  10. So, what’s the latest ? You doing your yoga ? Is your health improving ? How do you feel ?

    Inquiring minds want to know.. :)

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