Changing Perspectives

7th Sept. 2014
Running is a bit like falling in love. The initial explosion of physical chemistry and the complete obsession has its own momentum and it is a whirlwind of courtship. A few months/years down the line, it settles into being a part of your life and you see everything else around you as well. Running is like that, a crazy high with what it does to you until the lust is quenched. And then, you see with your eyes open.I was obsessed with the changes that running brought about and wanted more.

For a long while, I was keen on getting a place in the Stan C marathon in Jan and that was while I was rigid about clocking the miles and running on all the scheduled days. The days I couldn’t run, I fretted about the loss of my running ability and got irritable and unbearable even for myself. And slowly but surely, drove myself into injury and a sense of loss. I didn’t enjoy running anymore.

I did not learn how to be without a run and not have it mess my entire day. Now, it’s like the drug is out of my system and there is clarity. Running an organized marathon is not the goal. It’s just a by-product. The key is to love the run, good, bad or ugly.

29th Oct. 2014
Running calms me and helps me see myself and others around me. Among all the thoughts that come and go, there usually is some time devoted to thinking about what to blog for the day besides letting my mind free to associate with different ideas regarding work. There are sporadic bursts of awareness of the feet, legs, breath, shoulders, butt etc. but its more like a check if its all ok, align and then wander in my mind till some discomfort sets in again.

Running has helped shed some of my irrational fears, inhibitions and allowed me to be accepting of myself. It’s also making me value my needs, goals and not just shelving it away in the urgency of tending to family and work. It makes me stand a little straighter, walk a little taller and stand in the sun. Baby steps and not a big deal for most but a leap of faith for a chronically reticent person like me.

Somehow this blog is a space I feel comfortable enough to voice these thoughts and I like the company of fellow runners (am I really including myself in that tribe?) in this space. It’s still a massive block when it comes to connecting with flesh and blood runners in the neighbourhood. I don’t even know why I am so hesitant to run with them.

12th Dec 2014
Went for a run with Dr G, the first time I went with someone of my own accord and it was good. This was a longish week and a lot of variance in the mind space, nothing crazy but just variance. The good thing was I remained fairly steady throughout despite the changes.

My left side is so warped and I am sort of stubborn about wanting to fix it, that’s where the impatience is stemming from. Quick fix expectations despite knowing that 37 years worth of mis-alignment is going to take some time to correct. ” After all, we didn’t become addicted in one day.” I get frustrated and dismayed despite knowing in my head that it’s a matter of time. Forgot that a little everyday goes a long way.

14th Jan 2015
I don’t really know what I wanted to achieve with this page but its sort of like a monthly stock check as of one particular day.
Whether I like it or not, the Mumbai Marathon is playing around in some way or the other. S is excited , mom is excited, Amma is excited but I don’t really feel anything. The only thought I have is the vast number of people. Personal space for me is an invisible gigantic bubble and the thought of being squished in a mass of humanity seems claustrophobic. Here I am used to running by myself and that feels like its going to be a shock.
So I don’t think about it until S brings its up or mom. All along they found it a little crazy that I was running around the place and now they seem more keen on it.
Waiting for my period was also getting me a little stressed. Now logically I knew it would be in a day or two but I wanted it before to be in good condition to run. See the contradictions. I haven’t been so relieved to see red. 🙂

9th March 2015
Indecision can be a killer. Now that I decided to continue running and yoga practice, it is easier to get out. I am still biased towards yoga since the challenge is to work through the noise in the head. In running, I exhaust myself to reach calm while in yoga, it is through slowness that I strive towards calm. As a practice, it is closer to my essential nature. Suddenly, all the other reading and practices seem to make new sense. I go back to reading the same texts with a new perspective. Running is a heady cocktail of happy endorphins and it’s easy to get caught in the rush and lows of good and bad runs. Asana practice is controlled as there is no deviating from the presentness of the moment.

11th August 2015
I’m on this trip to get fast. I don’t even know why. Just to see how fast I can go. It seems like an insane project. Running cannot take the topmost place in my life although I spend enough time thinking about it. The key is balance. Knowing when to run and when to stop. Sometimes I stray from my plan and then it is easier to go off track.

I cut my hair off. Mainly because of running and yoga. Washing my frizzy wiry hair became a pain not to mention the halo around my head. Chopping my locks has been liberating and also make me feel a little wicked 🙂

It’s been a journey.. Less than half a year of regular running and so many things have changed. Outside and inside. The biggest change has been the discovery of yoga with open eyes. It took 20 years from my first brush with Iyengar yoga to be a student of the same.

I like going to RIMYI. I feel like I am in school and am eager to go through the course. The interesting thing is that there is patience now. My tendency is to hurry up stuff but yoga does not allow that. Neither does running. When I hit a critical point in my practice, new perspectives appear and after some time, there is again a different understanding. It keeps my learning Fresh. The plateau periods allow assimilation and then there is a growth spurt. I reckon I would need a few more years as Geetaji mentions to gain some level of proficiency. I believe my left side can open up. I am waiting for that change to happen. In the meanwhile I sweat and toil. Lately though, I am a little loathe to push.

6th Oct 2015
Called Coach today to ask for help. And he busted me. Everytime I talk with him he pushes me to a corner about choosing between yoga and running. I believe it is possible to find my best in both. Yoga has healed me. Running brought me to it I accept but the sorting has been due to asana.
He has more experience in running so I hear him. He talks about mastery in any one first. first would mean yoga for me and that’s a lifelong discipline of learning with no end.
If I wait for mastery in that, running will never happen. And by the time I gain some proficiency, it would be late to start running again.
I am not willing to give up on yoga to gain mastery in running because yoga brought me to healing and wholeness. It keeps me from stiffness and hardness. It keeps me pliable, bendy and not breaky.
What do I want with running? Why do I run? Because I can. Because it boosts my ego that I can. Because it gives me a reason to get out in the open and escape at times. Because I get to experiment with lessons from yoga in running. Running goals would be ultra distances, barefeet someday and face my fears with trails. What if I can’t run or have to choose not to run? Would it be a big loss? Most likely. Because there is a base that has been hard earned and I wouldn’t want to lose that.
I don’t think I have the necessary humility to let go of the sensuous pleasures of running.
And if I stop, yoga would be easier as the muscles would be looser. But I like the resistance and flexibility. Keeping the stiffness to work against. It keeps a check from hyper mobility. Perhaps I should give up on the fast project. I thought it was not too bad given the constraints but I could have done better.

19th Feb 2016
Just read through the previous entries and I am smiling. I ran a trail half marathon, started to run barefoot and these were seemingly far away goals. Just reinforces my belief that our dreams come true if we really want them bad enough. While I was out this morning with Mr. K on a run, I saw that his running had slacked. The same drive for distance without fixing the basics, I understand. In retrospect, we all do. Somehow I was lucky to find a yoga practice that allowed me to work with myself. Running alone is more difficult and the achievements are slow to come. Speed is elusive and battling the monkey mind is tough when all you have is your own company.
I’m glad the speed bug has gone and it is more about finding effortless running. There’s so much to learn and it’s interesting to see my crests and troughs with the process.
Auroville was a relaxed run, I didn’t cramp up and it felt like I was floating. Easy peasy. I hadn’t run much before that and yet I was able to complete the distance easily and with no post run fatigue or soreness. I now have a base. While there, the trail was the guide, no getting beyond myself and respecting the earth. I enjoyed myself in my little bubble as well as chatting with a veteran runner for a few miles. It opened up a possibility of maybe changing my mind about signing up for runs like Auroville. Small events, trail runs and perhaps longer distances or barefoot ones…
The whole running journey has been one of firsts and I no longer have any notions about what I cannot do.
Barefoot running seems like it is in sync with yoga. While running shoe shod, I feel like I am undoing the benefits of asana practice when I hit the roads. Without shoes, the body responds almost immediately and it is difficult to ignore. I feel the same grounding sensation as I do in the standing poses.

17th May 2016

It’s around 3 months since I wore shoes to run or walk. Two less things to do before getting out the door, shoes and socks. 🙂 I look forward to getting out in the mornings ,it’s almost like how it used to be when I first started running. The slow progress until I could run 5k non-stop. Surprisingly, there is no frustration at all with the whole transition. It’s really just running for the sake of running these days. Sometimes I think I should set a goal but there’s a lot on my plate now and I don’t feel very inclined to take up additional stress. Maybe after a few months, once I figure out how much work the yoga classes will be. I reckon there will be a few sore months if history is anything to go by.

The rains will be here soon and I wonder how it will be to run in the rain. The other day it rained for a short while and the roads were slick. I suppose a few good showers and the roads should be good.

Broken glass on the roads is a pain. If it is windshield glass, it’s not so bad. The nasty ones are the bottles that are broken for fun and left along the sides of the road. I wish people didn’t do that but I guess drink makes people do stupid things. All in all, a nice and easy 5k although the glass made for some broken up bits of walking. Bumped into Coach too and got some feedback as usual. The elbows this time. It’s a problem area, shows up in my inversions too, most prominently in the shoulder stand. Maybe I should strap the upper arms and experiment.

2 thoughts on “Changing Perspectives”

  1. “I’m glad the speed bug has gone and it is more about finding effortless running.” Yes, I agree! (But an interesting byproduct of this attitude is that sometimes . . . speed happens . . . well, 56-year-old speed, anyway.) Happy (barefoot!) trails . . .

    Liked by 1 person

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