What was that in my left hamstring? Please say it will never be back
There was something evil lurking in my left hamstring.
I don’t know exactly what it was, but I know Russ Pfeiffer found it. Time will tell if it’s gone for good.
My Thursday night Rolfing session was eventful, shall we say. It was focused on the back side of my body, which meant getting both into my hamstrings and into my calves.
Serious trouble areas.
I knew I was in trouble — real trouble — when Russ kept prefacing our session. “Remember, you’re in control of the hand brake. You’re in charge.”
I’m in charge, all right. I also want to get everything out of the Rolfing I can. And so the only use for that hand brake was to drift or power slide.
Having been somewhat reprimanded by a commenter for saying the Rolfing hurt, I want to say up front: Wow, that hurt. Especially the moment, brief but seared into my mind, when we hit something lurking in the fascia of my left hamstring.
This isn’t a bad hurt, though, so don’t get me wrong. Hurt’s just the easiest, most readily available word to describe it. If you want to call it “significant sensation,” you can. I was never scared or worried about what was happening; I think that would be the case if I was truly hurting.
I was trying to tell Bobbie what went on in the session, and the plain and simple fact is that I don’t remember much. I was pretty focused on breathing through the experience, making it through.
So, let’s fast forward to the following morning: Without any fanfare, soon after getting up, I bent over and was just about at my toes.
In other words, way more flexible than last week; way, way more than when summer started.
I know I’m a broken record about my stiffness, but it is only because it is such a central experience to my yoga practice. I identify very closely with this stiff, rigid body — even going way back before yoga entered the picture. I can remember hating runner’s lunge – tiriang mutka eka paschimottanasana — in high school. This stiffness has been there. Always.
But now it isn’t so much. Russ did say, earlier on (so I remember), that it wasn’t as bad as he was expecting. It isn’t so bad, he said, compared to most people. But I’m comparing myself to some of the most bendy people around: Ashtangis. (He did acknowledge I’m congenitally stiff, though.)
What this means, perhaps, is that there are some poses that will begin to be more accessible. And while the asana isn’t the end game, I know there’s a realm of the practice that I’m only beginning to touch. A realm I, honestly, thought would always remain out of reach.
What’s there, I wonder. What might a fuller, more comfortable back bend do to me? What about deeper twists? What about Second Series, which I never, ever thought would be a series part of my practice? Is it … coming?
And if these hurdles — very real, very concrete, very tactile and very painful — can be crossed, what others aren’t quite the grand challenges I think they are?
Both on and off the mat.
That I’m heading down to Tim Miller’s for a week at this moment is both exhilarating and terrifying.
Posted by Steve