I said I would muse periodically about my path back to yoga, so I'm musing... I'm not concluding anything yet. Just musing. I've been back to a regular (although not yet daily) yoga practice since the first of the year and it's starting to feel like it belongs to me again. Parts of my body have sprung right back into life, and I honestly thought they wouldn't.
I no longer need pain medicine for my arthritis. My hands, in particular, literally came back to life. For a while, after rock climbing, I was not only taking pain medicine but having to ice my hands for hours to reduce the swelling and bruising. I considered abandoning rock climbing as too abusive to my body. (I concede that there's a case to be made there. But it's my time with the boy-child -and besides, it's fun.) But by adding yoga, rather than subtracting rock climbing, my hands are healthy again.
Other parts of my body have that "I'm still stiff but I'll get over it if you just don't give up" feeling. My never-cooperative upper back, shoulders, and neck have not had a change of heart and decided to become pliable. My knees are still occasionally excruciating. Whole categories of poses are not yet available to me. I haven't quite been able to define which ones are wrong for me... something about a particular kind of bend to the knee or pressure on the knee. I can do cat/cow, if I'm careful, but I wouldn't consider vajrasana. Even cobbler's pose has its difficulties. I'm not at all sorry about losing ustrasana ;) And I'm not sure how to re-enliven my knees if I can't even approximate those poses.
But even I, Queen of Impatient Life ReBuilders Anonymous, know that the thing about yoga is that you just keep inviting change into your life. You keep on doing a posture... same old, same old. It feels the same every day. You go as far as you can, and then you confront the limit of the pose for you. It's a wall; there is no further progress. So you hang out at the wall for a while, chatting away about the annoyance of barriers and limitations until you remember to shut up and invite change in.
It doesn't come right away, and you may not notice it when it does. But one day, your teacher says "you know... that posture didn't look like that a year ago." The wall had been moving back all along, and you couldn't see it because you were so close. Because my hands have responded so miraculously, I'm hopeful that eventually the rest of me will follow suit. Right now, it's just an assertion and a hope rather than an actual belief, but I'm getting there.
And taking my yoga off the mat.... Well, there's something about adding rather than subtracting being the effective life-awakening strategy. And remembering to shut up and invite change in.