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The Pain You’re Not Supposed To Have If You Do Yoga Regularly

January 29, 2010

The Non-Multitasking Yogi

Pain.  I have all kinds of handwritten posts about Obama and trust in government that I was going to type up today.  But I wake up (that’s not actually correct since I don’t think I  slept), I get up with a figurative stake of ache in the middle of my upper back, which  precludes me from doing anything but looking absolutely straight in front of me.  (This means I  can’t type anything pre-jotted.)

People who do yoga everyday are not supposed to have back pain.  I do yoga everyday.

The catch is that people who also multi-task nonstop really do not do yoga all that well.  Real yoga involves taking the time to breathe, sustain, to focus.  Multi-tasking yoga is a bit of a whipstitch physically—it may hold body and soul together, but just barely.

I practice ashtanga yoga (a great form for home practice, developed primarily by Shri K. Patabhi Jois).  And yesterday evening, because I had skipped my normal rushed morning’s practice,  I took the time to do it well.   I not only did it well, in my guilt over skipping, I did twice as much as normal.

(Guilt and yoga are not a great combination.)

Ashtanga yoga is done as a series of pre-set exercises.  When you have done a couple of the series for some years, they are pretty much imprinted on your brain and body.  In other words, once you start one, you just kind of go through it like a dance routine or a song.

The power of a routine is incredibly strong.   A routine, in this case, the yoga series can, amazingly, carry you through all kinds of physical or mental failings.   I have done ashtanga with colds, hangovers, pulled muscles, torn cartilege.

The routine, like a memorized song, must be stored in a different part of the brain than the part involved with decision-making, fear, tentativeness, even perhaps common sense.    (I always think of victims of strokes who cannot speak but who can speak or recite poetry.)

While you are in the middle of the routine, you are simply swept along.  But once you are out of the routine’s anesthesizing groove….


After Multi-tasking Yoga