Stretching where it hurts


December 21, 2011 by NH

Today I was the only student in my yoga class.

My instructor and I got to chatting as we waited for 5.30 pm to roll around. I explained I have a dodgy wrist, which means I can’t do some positions because of the strain it causes. He showed me how to ball my fingers around my thumbs and use my knuckles instead of splayed hands to do poses like plank and downward dog, which really helped.

He asked me how I strained it, and I told him it was a combination of something I did at yoga, my profession, and three years of solid work at a computer as a writing student. He then asked about my neck and shoulders. I explained they were in a mess. He wasn’t surprised.

When it became clear no one else was coming to class, we began.

Situations like this normally make me uneasy. I prefer to hide at the back where I can blend in. When there’s only one other person in the room, you can’t blend.

He started by moving through a usual set-class routine. After ten minutes, we both realised this was pretty silly.

Instead of instructing me from the front of the room, he sat next to me and took me through some stretches for my shoulders, neck and back. That’s all we did. For forty minutes. No sun salutations or dancer’s poses … just simple, effective stretches for the areas I really needed to stretch.

After class I got in my little red car and drove to a friend’s house to drop of Christmas presents for him, his wife and two little girls. He’s home alone at the moment and seemed to be enjoying some rare quiet time when I knocked on the door. We had a cup of tea as we chatted about philosophy, families, and our plans for 2012.

As before, situations like this ordinarily make me uneasy. I am accustomed to chatting with my friend in a group situation – certainly with his wife, and often with other friends. Nevertheless I enjoyed our chat and made a mental note to make an effort in the new year to seek out conversation on a regular basis.

I drove directly to another house to drop off presents. Both friends were home, their little girl asleep in her cot. They’ve both been ill so I hoped my visit would be welcomed. It was.

I gave them their presents and we got to chatting about priorities, and real estate, and careers.

One of my friends is currently in a role she’s passionate about. She works to promote environmental protection to school students, working on ground level projects and as an advocate, securing funding for her organisation through grants. She’s good at what she does; she can see the path clear for a senior management position, if that’s what she wants.

She’s also a qualified teacher.

Today a hospital school made her an offer. Three days a week with the promise of permanency. She needs to choose between the instable, emotionally draining, ultimately fulfilling position at the non-government organisation and the stable teaching position at the children’s hospital.

I urged her to take the stable option. She has a baby and is working herself sick, and I am worried about her. She says she knows I worry about her, and that she worries about herself, too.

After much talking we both made a promise to try to spend 2012 being comfortable.

Honestly, I doubt we’ll be able to keep that promise. We’re both high achievers, whether we want to be or not. I would not wish an A-type personality on anyone.

Keeping that promise will be a stretch for both of us.

But we’ll both try to keep it.

I know it.

As I learned today, sometimes you’ve just got to slow down to stretch the important areas you need to stretch most.

Happy Wednesday.


One thought on “Stretching where it hurts

  1. […] I’ve written about before,  I’m trying to slow down; I’m trying to stick with the pack rather than charging ahead, […]

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