December 1, 2011

Mixed martial arts (MMA) yoga. ~ Christine Schaefer

 Originally published by our elephriends over at Recovering Yogi on November 18, 2011. 

Mixed martial arts (MMA) yoga.

By Christine Schaefer

I am on hiatus from my yoga class per doctor’s orders because I blew out my hip. When the accident first happened I could not walk, which for me was a first.  And, apparently, continuing to take hot yoga would make it impossible for me to heal. For the 12 hours that I allowed myself to rehab on the couch, I hatched mind monsters in the form of “Will I get fat?,” “How will I stay calm and even?,”  “What about what I want?,” ”Stupid hole in the park that I was too busy to see ‘cause I was listening to my IPod!,” and, “Woe is me, why did I have to get hurt now?”  As if anyone wants to get hurt, well, ever.

My biggest fear, however, was not being able to identify myself as a “yogi,” marked by logging insane hours at the studio and practicing the same 26 poses that no doubt melted my hips. I’d been dutifully punching the yogic time card, as if in doing so I would be magically poofed with enlightenment.

My favorite part of that menagerie of ridiculousness was that in my head I thought that because I was so “flexible,” seemingly in both body and mind, that this injury could have been avoided.

I shared this revelation with my orthopedic surgeon. He was amused.  “There is such thing as too much of anything, especially when it is done with repetition,” he told me.  “We call these overuse injuries, and I know that in your RN program you will go over this.”  He was half-joking / half-chiding, because before him sat a yoga addict in need of a detox that didn’t come in the form of a ten dollar green juice after class.

On the drive home, fortified with a shot of painkillers in my ass, (God Bless Western medicine and a marriage to the badge), I had to chuckle. I realized that I had snapped like a rubber band, because when I did anything, I attacked it, full force.  Yoga was no different. My yoga literally looked like MMA, because that is who I am, at heart:  a scrappy, fight club kind of gal.  I had been traipsing off to yoga five days a week, and for the majority of that time I was in it to hit the mats.  I took “warrior” pose to a new level!  Was it possible that I was in the wrong place entirely? Perhaps….

In reflection, I have no doubt that I have learned so much from yoga, the greatest thing being that it is OK to back off for a while.  And now I hit the mats in the form of kickboxing. (Because this girl has got to throw down at least twice a week to stay on an even keel.) I supplement my newly found yoga/mixed martial arts practice with an asana class where I truly stop to breathe, to listen, and make peace with the fact that I’m both a lover and a fighter.

About Christine Caira Schaefer

Christine Caira Schaefer is a happy wife and mom who lives in the suburban Boston area. When she isn’t chasing her pre-teen kids around, writing for her blog, cutting her clients’ hair, or trying her damndest to get into the clinical rotations that ALL nursing school candidates need, she enjoys working out, volunteering at her kids school, and decorating her home. While she doesn’t feel insane enough for a 7-day-a-week hot yoga practice, she arguably sees why it could be easier to check out and hit the mat while allowing her husband to man her tribe. More about Christine.

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