PK/FR training: i made it! (through the first month)

today i bounced out of bed at 5:40am, threw on some sweats and headed to Ekam to adjust Mysore practice where i realized i wasn’t in any pain or dragging my feet due to muscle soreness or extreme fatigue. wow! that’s a new feeling! and we covered a lot of strength training and conditioning last night. awesome! i’m going to reflect on that for a few moments while i sing body movin’ to myself in my head…

i’ve now completed a month (4 weeks/9 sessions) of parkour/free-running training with the Reel Motion Academy at TUKS. some of you may still be wondering why i wanted to add something so high-impact to my to-do list at this point in my life. so, to recap:

  1. i wanted to see if my yoga skillz were good for anything else. not just the strength and flexibility, but the mind control as well. i had considered martial arts, but ‘martial’ conflicted with the yama ‘ahimsa’ (non-violence). adult gymnastics, a requirement for the AcroYoga teacher training, was also considered, but the idea of being told to point my toes all the time turned me off. the philosophy of parkour gelled with my current outlook on life.
  2. i needed a challenge; something i perceived as really hard. i wanted something that was going to push my body, and by extension, my mind.
  3. i wanted to get out of my element. i saw parkour as a test of facing fears/facing fantasies. i wanted to go from the unreal (perceived inability) to the real (concrete skill). i wanted to answer the question: can i really do this (…as a girl…at 40)?
  4. i wanted to re-activate my beginner’s mind and learn something new. i wanted to develop sensitivity and awareness to what Ekam students are going through on their mats every day.
  5. i wanted to learn something i could do outside during daylight hours, interacting in my environment with like-minded people. yoga, ashtanga in particular, can sometimes become too inwardly focused. it was time for me to get out and stretch my wings a bit!

and…? what did i learn?
wow! what a month! here’s the short list of how the past few weeks have affected me:

  1. i’ve experienced pain on a very different level from my normal yoga practice. it’s a very diffuse, general pain; and fatigue- something i don’t experience in yoga anymore. and it feels great! most importantly, i have had no injuries during training. there were some bumps, bruises and scrapes, but nothing that affected my parkour practice, my yoga practice, or my life. considering i feel pain in my yoga practice almost every day, that’s saying a lot!
  2. my beginner’s mind definitely needed a few reminders! i had forgotten how hard it is, and how much practice it takes, to learn a new posture or element. and what a challenge it is to walk into a room where you don’t know anyone or anything and have to trust completely in yourself, your instructors, and your environment. on the other hand, i now have no problem telling students to ‘suck it up!’ and ‘just do it!’
  3. my quads/legs are stronger and my shoulders are looking pretty… well, they’re going to be scary soon. i know that the strength and conditioning required to do this will need to be maintained at a fairly high level, but i’m going to look at it as a challenge! i can’t wait to get outside and practice!
  4. my yoga practice has a strength in it now that is going to rocket me through jump throughs, handstands, etc. holy crap it’s scary! is this what it feels like to be a guy practicing ashtanga? dang! i almost ripped my toes off in padangustasana the other day! unfortunately, i’m having difficulty with some of the postures that require… um… skinnier legs (marichyasana B and garbha pindasana). but i did say that i wanted to gain more muscle… i guess i can’t have my seaweed protein shake and eat it too.
  5. i appreciate and respect my yoga practice so much more now and i’m so thankful and grateful when i get on my mat. i’m looking forward to the day when i can practice 4 days a week and parkour 2-3 days a week. and i can’t wait to see what yogi-parkour really looks like.

my journey is far from over and i intend to keep up my training (and blogging)- so please join me (if you dare) in pretoria on tuesdays and thursdays! you can also join the facebook group Parkour South Africa and see what else we’re up to!

thank you to all the Ekam students who listened to my groans of pain and also my constant yakking about parkour/free-running this past month. i invite you all to come play with us ‘parkouris and parkourinis’ in the near future.

and a special thanks to all the guys (and the few ladies) up at TUKS. you all made me feel welcome and together create a supportive environment for learning. you all never question whether or not someone can do something. like yoga you know it’s only a matter of practice, practice, practice. see you on the mat… i mean, on the wall. or would it be off the wall? anyway, see you there!

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