Okay, I’ve been free to make all the common mistakes regarding my knees–hyper-extending my legs throughout my high school dance program, walking with my feet turned out, never bothering to build strength because I thought it would mess with my flexibility, and the classic: the one where I relaxed during a roundhouse kick drill which allowed my partner to inadvertently damage my meniscus. So after years of indulging in what Pema Chodron calls “The Three Futile Strategies” (see below for article) I’m learning how to pay attention to (and not ignore) my pain. I’ve also learned how to get relief. Why teach this to young adults? Hopefully, so they don’t make the same mistakes…it’s especially important for girls who train soccer.
Here is a sequence from Alameda Yoga Station’s famous director, Sandy Blane:
Sukhasana-Sweet Pose. Add Forward bend.
Ardha Adho Mukha Svanasana-Half Down Dog at Wall.
Utkatasana-Chair Pose at the Wall.
Vrksasana-Tree Pose, add eyes closed.
Utthita Trikonasana-Extended Triangle Pose.
Virabhadrasana II–Warrior II Pose.
Virabhadrasana I-Warrior I Pose.
Ardha Bhekasana-Half Frog Pose.
Ahdo Mukha Svanasana-Down Dog Pose.
Reclining Thread the Needle Pose
Agnistambasana- Firelog or Thread the Needle Pose
Jatara Parivartanasana-Reclining Twist Pose
There are three habitual methods that human beings use for relating to troubling habits such as laziness, anger, or self-pity. I call these the three futile strategies–the strategies of attacking, indulging, and ignoring.
The futile strategy of attacking is particularly popular. When we see our habit we condemn ourselves. We criticize and shame ourselves for indulging in comfort, or pitying ourselves, or not getting out of bed. We wallow in the feeling of badness and guilt.
The futile strategy of indulging is equally common. We justify and even applaud our habit: “This is just the way I am. I don’t deserve discomfort or inconvenience. I have plenty of reasons to be angry or to sleep twenty-four hours a day.” We may be haunted by self-doubt and feelings of inadequacy but we talk ourselves into condoning our behavior.
The strategy of ignoring is quite effective, at least for a while. We dissociate, space out, go numb. We do anything possible to distance ourselves from the naked truth of our habits. We go on automatic pilot and just avoid looking too closely at what we’re doing.
The mind-training practices of the warrior present a fourth alternative, the alternative of an enlightened strategy. Try fully experiencing whatever you’ve been resisting–without exiting in your habitual ways. Become inquisitive about your habits. Practice touching in with the fundamental tenderness and groundlessness of your being before it hardens into habit. Do this with the clear intention that your ego-clinging diminish and that your wisdom and compassion increase.