Friday, August 9, 2013

Residue of the Practice

Yoga teachers get all the best phrases, the ones that strike me as deep and poetic and ring like lovely chimes in my ear. I don't even really get what they mean most of the time, but I still often leave itching to find some way to work them into conversation.

(I have been obsessed with words for most of my life.)

They come back to me at the oddest times. While showering Friday morning, for whatever reason, I was unusually conscious of the tiny aches & pains in my body. Nothing particularly dramatic or severe; just the normal, minor bits of soreness that come from increasing or changing your physical activity. While I finished showering my brain leisurely scanned its way through my body, running down the list of mild discomforts and subsequently attempting to identifying the cause.

The ache in my hamstrings from working so hard to engage them while running, and probably also from the bit of spinning I've doing to supplement that. (I'm now able to finish 6.7 miles in 30 minutes, rather than 6.2 with the same level of effort.) The tightness between my shoulder blades from firing a hundred full-power straight punches in a row, the same spot that never fails to bug me a bit when I return to karate after an absence. The tenderness in my hip flexors and abductors, not from exertion but from the seventy-plus minutes (is it more than that? I don't even know) I've spent this week grinding a lacrosse ball into them. The soreness in my shoulders from set after set of deadlifts, squats, push presses, & cleans with Coach Nate. (Did I mention he had me sprint a 300 between each set? He did.)

Which all sounds like it should have been utterly miserable and depressing. It wasn't, though. Instead, thinking through all that, considering what was sore and the likely reason for it, was weirdly calming. It gave me a sense of contentment and satisfaction with how I spent my time this week and all the different ways that it is supporting the goals I have for the fall.

(Is it too ambitious to say I'd like to PR at Brazen 510 10K? Because I really would.)

Maybe this is what she's talking about, I wondered to myself, thinking of how my yoga teacher ends every class with the same phrase. Maybe this is what she means by the residue of the practice. The feeling that stays in your body, and maybe a bit in your mind, as a little memento of all the cool things you've been doing with it lately that are gradually making it stronger.


  1. This is neat. I mean, I like the idea of that soreness and tenderness and muscle weariness being "the residue" of practice. I, too, think of all that soreness in a fond way. It is something I can take away with me as a memento of what I've done. Honestly, I'd rather have that physically reminder through the sensation of *feeling* than through the sensation of sight (e.g. by seeing in the mirror that I've got fitter abs). The *feeling* is the best residue. It's something only I can experience for myself. I cherish it as my own private love.

    And, dude, I really believe in you that you can get the PR. You are so awesome.

  2. Love this post and totally agree with you. Sometimes when I am sore I might complain to myself, but then I think about why I am sore. What I accomplished to make me feel like that??? Was it an awesome track workout or a new lifting PR at Farmgirlfit???? Most of the time the feeling of being sore can be a good thing.