Life as an Articulated Straw

I spent many years of my life avoiding Yoga. I didn’t have a ‘groove’ for it like I did for T’ai Chi.  Anytime I tried it – I would inevitably crunch my lower back; cursing Cobra for my injury.  I’m sure some of you are nodding your heads in agreement. So I avoided it like the plague.

I kept bending myself like a straw – not an articulated straw – but a straight straw

Of COURSE I crunched my lower back.... Photo Credit:

Of COURSE I crunched my lower back….
Photo Credit:

No wonder I was always in pain – I was blaming Yoga, when really problem was within myself. I wasn’t *thinking* about how to do it, I just shoved my body into the position so it would look like Cobra.  And when the result was exactly what one expect from crunching one’s body backwards it never occurred to me to do anything but outwards blaming.  I was missing the pattern – doing the same thing again & again & again that yielded the exact same results but never questioning myself.

It kind of reminds me of something I came across this week – about the perception of New Yorkers being rude, yet the author was explaining that most tourists don’t understand the nuances of living in a very big and crowded city and that their behavior might be rude thus causing those around them to act rudely back.  In this case, the cause and effect were flipped. The meaningful part of that essay, for me, was when the author said this:

“..when someone is rude, they will be treated rudely in return. If you come to this <situation> and you wonder why everyone is rude to you, what you should be asking yourself is this:

What am I doing wrong?

In life in general, you will get farther with other people if you do not always blame them for the things that go wrong in your life. Asking yourself what you are doing to produce a certain response from others will take you far in reaching a greater harmony.”

I often find my son does this very same thing – blaming others before wondering if his actions might have been cause – especially when it happens again and again.  So much of life is about patterns and taking the time to notice them; reflect upon them and see if there’s something to learn from it.

So back to Yoga…in Bikram, there’s a back bend that happens in the beginning of the series. It’s a really big back bend and it scared the HELL out of me. So instead of forcing myself to go back as far as I could, I listened to the instructor describe the movement as a lifting up before going back. And the light bulb went on and the little voice in my head said “WAIT! Instead of going back like a straight straw, lift up first and bend back like an ARTICULATED STRAW”

Hot DAMN! That's the ticket!

Hot DAMN! That’s the ticket!

Guess what? It worked. I love back bends. I love Cobra. I love Camel. I love life as an articulated straw.


About Rutabaga the Mercenary Researcher

I'm a research librarian for Public Television, story teller, bike commuter, baker, music fiend, lover of reading & books, mother, wife, friend - and many more descriptive adjectives and nouns.
This entry was posted in Aversions, Bikram Yoga, Health, Humor, Mental Health, Philosophy, Random Thoughts, Yoga and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Life as an Articulated Straw

  1. Rohan 7 Things says:

    Hehe, great analogy, you could base entire form of Yoga on the articulated straw philosophy! And that quote from the New York article is great!


  2. Twindaddy says:

    Learning that I might be the reason things are wrong in my life is something I only recently picked up on. What a humiliating lesson to have learned, but a necessary one. I hope you’re doing well, Ladycakes.

  3. iRuniBreathe says:

    Funny how the brain thinks and processes. When you can be articulated it’s just that much easier than thinking of actually have to bend. I’m going to try this next time.

  4. El Guapo says:

    I’m flexible enough to reach the remote on the table while I’m sitting on the couch. Almost.
    My girl is trying to sign us up for a basic yoga class.

  5. I love this articulate post! I want to do yoga after reading this or at least stretch. It’s easy to jump to conclusions in the hectic pace that is life. I wouldn’t mind just sitting there to read a book. I need to slow down.

  6. Robin says:

    So true; the lesson about needing to look inward first…I know many people who could be reminded of that. And about yoga or any exercise really…. totally agree, I have had aha moments like that too….just takes awhile to click sometimes and hopefully we don’t give up first before we get to that point ….thanks for your post!

    • You are welcome – I love that you hit on the point that it’s the Aha moments that take time and if we all started a practice or exercise ‘perfect’ at the get go, we’d never have any aha moments or progress.

      I have to admit it’s hard to look inward b/c some times I’m afraid of what I might see-

  7. stephrogers says:

    This has given me cause for reflection in my own life. What a great post. Be the articulated straw, or simply remember the truth, that there is no straw, and then you will see it is you that bends 😉

  8. Carrie Rubin says:

    Great title! And it’s true–so often we don’t factor in our own contributions to a given reaction. Easier to assume it’s the other person’s doing.

    I’m finding the camel pose is becoming ever more important for me to do now that I’m writing so much. All that forward hunching. Not good for a spine. Bend away!

  9. I unfortunately don’t bend like any straws. I’ll take some laps in a pool any day!! 🙂

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