It is hard not to focus on what cannot be achieved, but somehow I must make the effort to redirect my gaze to the small wins. For years I have used sun salutations as a benchmark of fluidity, of physical integration of strength and balance. Wherever I was, after hours at the office, in a hotel room or ferry cabin crossing the English Channel, there was often just enough room to fold, stretch, jump and rotate into downward dog before the long, balancing stretch up to the ceiling. Pressed for time, a dozen salutations sqeeezed into the space of a febrile working day was as good as it got. The rest of the primary ashtanga series had to wait.
Today I have the space, and the time, but not yet the strength to support my own weight in downward dog and so I have to bypass those reliable, erstwhile, salutation moves. There are stretches, and twists, and bends that do not rely on upper body strength. I can do most of those, and in time this will help recover the missing positions.
We returned to the lake at Sillé-le Guillame yesterday. In the forest close by there are zip lines and ariel obstacle courses set up. I watched as my two daughters and son spent two hours climbing and zooming around the forest canopy, fully formed, physically confident and capable humans able to grip and climb. I stayed on the ground where I walked two and a half kilometres while watching them fly through the air.
I couldn’t walk at all a few short months ago, so I’m quite happy with yesterday’s progress recorded by the app on my phone. We will be back here at the lake again. Perhaps next year I will take on the heights? Maybe by then I will be able to return to salutations? Who knows? I am grateful to have survived and be recovering from something terrifying. There is still work to do, hills to climb, but there is always work and there have forever been hills. I look forward to the view from the top of the next one.