Friday, August 20, 2010

I, the Disclaimer

I am a disclaimer. I've suspected as much for a while as I noticed myself leading with an excuse at the beginning of any social interaction. This would be especially true for my yoga teacher, Sherman.

"I sprained my ankle." (True, but still...)
"I ate dairy last night." (So what?)
"Work stress." (Who doesn't?)

Who cares?

I would like to feel enough as I am. In yoga, this should be a given. I mean, it is not a competitive sport. I was reminded of that recently when I missed Sherman's class and used the opportunity to practice with Yogi Charu at Pure.

Yogi Charu is completely different in style from Sherman, but awesome in his own right. He leads with the caveat to seek union with your own body -- not someone elses's -- meaning, in this case, not to judge your practice by that of the person next to you or across the studio. I normally don't do that; I stand near the front, so I can't see anyone else, for exactly that reason. After his disclaimer, Charu proceeds with a serious pranayama practice. Then sun and moon salutations and so forth. The class is unique and challenging, and the perfect Sunday morning follow-up to Saturday's Power Yoga.

One warning Pure yogis: If there's a tiny but verbose seventy-ish lady in a purple belly shirt next to you and you are asked to pair up for headstand -- do not make eye contact. That is, unless you think you might enjoy going up into headstand and having her drag your right leg straight out sideways so she can reach your ankle. Then, when you are coming down, she may not let go of said ankle, even when you yell up at her from the floor to do so, and you may wind up coming down on your knee. I'm just sayin'.

Back to I, the Disclaimer. I'm friends with an amazing woman named Yasemin, of whose brilliance, spark and beauty I am in awe. The other night I met her in the backyard and led off with the announcement that I was braindead, preverbal and not firing on all cylinders. I think I actually used all three of those expressions before saying hi. I was feeling very punk, it being my second day off coffee after a longstanding ten cup a day habit. In fact, I considered having my left hand replaced with a cup holder, that's how serious was my addition. So I was hurting when I met up with Yasemin, but she pointed out that I never fail to give the "Leslie Disclaimer" and that I don't need to. She's right, and I was relieved someone finally noticed.

I often wonder if most people walk around feeling awesome all the time. In recent years, I've felt crappy in one way or another pretty constantly . Devastating migraines, a long-undiagnosed eye condition, sore feet (likely from my weight), achy back, allergies, mood swings... a myriad of issues I refuse to chalk up to age in order to give up and self-medicate through the second half of my life. I remember when I felt best -- back when my yoga practice was fierce. So how to get back to that fierce, non-disclaiming self?

The answer, as always, is simple. Go back to the mat.

No disclaiming. And I'm doing an elimination diet for the next three weeks to figure out what's causing all my disparate symptoms. Five days off coffee, I already feel much, much better. No gluten, no dairy, no nightshade vegetables. I'm hoping, now that my coffee withdrawal headache is gone, that the migraines stop. No migraines would mean no migraine medicine and no skipped practices because I'm holding my head on with my bare hands.

One thing is certain: the change in diet has me feeling more centered and far lighter in body as well as in spirit.

I feel like smiling. If giving up eggplant and Subway sandwiches is all I have to do to stay this way, it's worth it.

I'm feeling almost social again.

So, if you catch me disclaiming, be nice, but tell me I don't need to make an excuse for being. That's a habit I certainly don't need.

1 comment:

Ricki said...

Hi Leslie,

Thanks so much for entering my ebook giveaway and for your lovely comment! To be fair, I use to choose the winners (and sorry that your number didn't come up). I was thinking that if I could choose the winners based on the content of their comments and my own preference, I'd definitely choose you.

And then I thought--Hey! It's MY giveaway--I CAN choose you! So I'm giving you a free ebook anyway--yay! :D Please send me your email address and I'd be happy to email a copy right back to you. Sounds like you could use some yummy, healthy desserts about now. :)
All the best,