on this blog i rarely talk about life apart from my academic work, but i thought i’d write something more personal today

those who know me well know that i’m somewhat of a gym rat and yogi. practicing ashtanga yoga and running a few miles helps me reset and refresh; it also teaches me truths i might otherwise ignore. i’m not always talking about those eureka moments where something i’ve been groping toward becomes clear, although those sometimes happen. no, these truths have more to do with friction or frustration

nonetheless, like texts that always provide the keys for their own interpretation, the practices of running or yoga are ethical in that they encourage me to rework my stance on myself

but i’m being a bit too abstract

last year about this time, in fact, i had hernia repair surgery. because it was repair on a surgery from when i was two years old, the procedure was open; and, in consequence, the healing process, prolonged

soon after the surgery, i went to taiwan. fortunately, most of my physical activity involved swimming. but for months, i lacked core strength to perform most of the ashtanga primary sequence, which requires lifting with core strength to move back into plank position, through cobra, to downward dog. yes, and then one gets to lift from the core to perform a controlled jump back to one’s starting place. one repeats this basic movement between every held pose

needless to say, the experience was frustrating

but i had talked to one of my teachers beforehand, who said, well, our practice is always changing. injury or recuperation is one way we learn about these changes and stop fighting with them

true enough. this past week, i was able to move through the sequence without incredible pain during or–also something to give one pause–the day after practice. i feel my core strength returning, but it’s different from my practice before the operation. before i think that i had a kind of strength to force poses or movement; my experience of working through limited use of my core muscles has taught me a subtler approach that might also be more restful. i do not know anyone is ever ready for limited strength, flexibility, or range of movement, even if we know that it is inevitable. but maybe my current experience might teach me a little about the kind of stance i take toward aging

yeah, that’s part of what’s going on. but it beats the alternative