This is another suggestion post in the Daily Dose of Yoga challenge. As always, feel free to modify.
Day 7: Attachment & Aversion:
Attachment is that magnetic pattern which clusters in pleasure and pulls one towards such experience.
Aversion is the magnetic pattern which clusters in misery and pushes one from such experience.
– The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, 2.7-8
No big secret: I like doing things whose overall result is pleasurable, and I dislike doing things whose overall result is painful. Also no surprise: I cannot live my life always experiencing pleasure while never experiencing pain. It just doesn’t work that way.
Because it’s a bad endo day, I’m thinking of my relationship to pain in very physical terms. I would really, really like to find a way to not feel like my pelvis is exploding right now — but 16 years of attempts hasn’t produced anything that works acceptably.** Realistically, this is probably not going to be the day when I experience a magical pain-free breakthrough. Realistically, this is probably going to be another day when I practice meeting my aversion head-on and staying equanimous through pain.
And you know what? As much as I don’t like that, it’s helpful to have it as a skill. Similarly, as much as I don’t like some parts of my asana practices (quad work, I am looking at you!), learning how to keep the rest of my body appropriately calm through that intense burning helps me recognize where I can let go and to let go where I can.
I’m not saying that every unpleasant situation should be met with calm acceptance. Some things, I think, I should be averse to; some things are outright bad or oppressive, and those deserve to be met with some fight. That said, not everything I’m averse to — fishing soggy pieces of old food out of the dish drain, strengthening and stretching my quads, even handling endometriosis pain I can’t relieve — is evil or even worth avoiding.
** I don’t mean that nothing helps at all or that I don’t use anything for pain. Just that nothing — particularly nothing that’s legal for or accessible to me — reduces pain to where it doesn’t interfere with my daily functioning. I also don’t mean that I’m looking for suggestions in this post.
Day 8: An Intense Quad Stretch
This is a stretch I usually use when my body is already fairly warmed up — so maybe well into a vinyasa practice or after a run. Otherwise, I run the risk of my quads just being too tight to get much out of the pose.
No matter how stretchy I feel beforehand, this pose is always an exercise in meeting my aversions. My thighs are big muscles, and it takes them a long damn time to relax. And the relaxing process, it fucking burns. Not so acutely that it feels like — or that I’m worried about — anything tearing, but really, like I’m kneeling just a bit too close to a campfire but am not quite ready to back away.