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Samin Nosrat Samin Nosrat
A professional cook, freelance writer, and teacher, Samin looks to tradition, culture and history for inspiration for her creations. She lives in Berkeley, California.
Aaron Hyman Aaron Hyman
Ivy League chef and yogi has the recipe for practice.

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« Recipe Adaptations | Blog HomePage | Saying No to Say Yes »

Little to Do

sm_avo_img.jpgAt the risk of sounding like a broken record, I'm injured. Injuries travel in packs, and it seems I still have to fight off the stragglers, arguably the most dangerous of the group. When I am not feeling my best, or more specifically when I am feeling lousy, I don't want to practice at all. Practice for me involves facing the demons, digging inside and really taking stock of how bad things are, of how off my body feels. That is obviously not fun. So I have a tendency to: Just. Not. Go. There.

But the thing is that when I don't practice yoga, or when I shun physical practice more generally, I feel terrible. There is nothing remarkable about this; anyone who has a physical practice knows what it feels like to go without. I become depressed, I am irritable, my body feels in shambles, I feel disconnected from myself, I am less generous o those around me, etc. Even knowing this, I still have a hard time facing limitations in my practice and I run by just not practicing at all.

This happens to me in the kitchen as well. Samin and I pride ourselves on making meals special, on gathering just the right ingredients, preparing them lovingly, setting the right mood, gathering the right people. And sometimes when I can't do this, I would rather order crappy takeout, rush to eat it, and forget it happened, as if somehow by not putting in the effort it won't count. Obviously it does though, and more than likely I'll be unhappy about it later. In these situations, I try to remember that just making an effort is good enough. A salad cobbled together out of the crisper drawer, broth heated with a poached egg, a piece of toast with delicious jam or avocado or a nice cheese, a bowl of pasta with olive oil, butter and parmesan. These are incredibly simple gestures; they can feel so minimal that they sometimes feel like defeat. I just couldn't do anything more tonight. And that is OK. I know I will feel better than if I had just done nothing at all. I'll try to remember this when, on the mat, there is simply very little I can do.


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Thank you for posting this - it's validating and it's nice to know I am not alone! I have been struggling with quad tendonitis for 8 months and it has been one of the most frustrating and depressing things I have ever gone through. Not being able to be active the way I want to, as you said, sometimes leads me to do absolutely nothing instead of something moderate. I am finally coming out of it now and am feeling so much better! I still can't do everything I want to, but I have developed some more moderated workouts that make me feel human again. I hope you feel better soon.

I know exactly what you are going through, and also the joys of beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Take it easy...the worst is reinjury, or a totally new injury on top of it all. I wish you continued recovery!

Hey I know exactly what you are feeling-I just had a double surgery on knee and wrist. I am trying to use this time to read about yoga and stay connected instead of tuning out completely which is I think natural instinct. (If I can't get on the mat I won't do anything at all. Run/Hide/Hibernate) I find the opposite is true just listening to my music from class and emailing the students makes me a little bit happier. And try to remember that nothing is permanent - maybe you can come up with a yoga from the bed class

Thank you so much, Aaron, for this post. I am now six-month pregnant and for the last months I have been trying to adapt my Ashtanga practice to this new moment in my life. It is true that pregnancy is a blessed time but having to slow down and adapt everything I do to a new body and mind shape can be really hard. Most asanas are definitely out for now while others can be adapted but in general a much softer practice is needed even if sometimes I have the energy to go further. It is a time to remember that taking care of ourselves and of others is moreover about small details and intention. Without them even a big effort is lack of soul. As a famous sentence says, for us there is only the trying, and for me trying is above all to recognize and respect our daily limits.

Aaron, The gift of yoga is learning to surrender. Make the best of the worst situation. I am proud to use my yoga block , when Ninty percent of my class do'nt. That shows that you are respecting your outer and inner body. I am proud to visit child pose at times ,when my body tells me to rest. I am at the stage now that people in my class copy what I do- because they admire my alingment and practice. Less is more.The biggest fear, is to face the fear and when you do....the Monster is not as bad as we make it to be. I hope that will help.

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