My Name Is Sage

What a difference the fix of a run has made in my outlook (that, and progress on the book; I’ve taken down my complaints!). The knees are just tendonitis, maybe some bursitis on the right side. Just as with the stress fracture I had last year, I think it’s the yoga that really brought it on: in shins already stressed from marathon-training mileage, repeated landings out of handstand in a workshop were too much; in a knee already irritated from the tight clips on the Spinning bikes at the gym, kneeling over and over on my thin teaching mat exacerbated the problem.

The orthopedics PA, whom I adore, said, “You can run on it–it might hurt, but it won’t make it worse.” So off I went, and the pain didn’t increase, but my sense of well-being skyrocketed.

Another change: instead of ice, which the PA says works primarily to numb the pain, I’m using heat (“to increase circulation to the avascular tendons”). Psychologically and metaphorically, that’s a big difference.

The running eases my brain in a way yoga practice doesn’t quite. It’s invigorating and exhausting. While yoga, in Patanjali’s words, is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind, solitary running gives me awareness of my mind’s fluctuations, and often leads me to that place of empty brain or of focus (dharana and the opposite of pratyahara, a hyperawareness of the senses) that we seek through yoga.

And sometimes, when it’s good, it’s dhyana, a mediation. Today, the snippet of a children’s song that was the basso continuo for the run (“Vowels are important letters, there’s a vowel in every word”), the vigilance about my knees, and the fleeting thoughts and images that crossed my mind all cleared for a few climactic seconds, yielding “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

Thanks, God.

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