My Shoulders Are Tight

or “Why Am I Wearing Lycra?”

I have mentioned the impact of clothing on one’s sadhana before but never had such a dramatic example as I did this morming.  Because I will assist another teacher by demonstrating postures in about an hour, I put on close fitting lycra gym shorts and shirt before beginning my sadhana.  I thought nothing of this at the time but it was not long before I found issues created specifically by what I as wearing.  My armpits felt as if the hair there were being torn out and the skin being pinched.  Why?  The fabric of my shirt had bunch and twisted there during surya namaskar.  Thankfully, the shorts are not designed to fit the groin as tightly as the sleeves around my arms.

Another interesting aspect, sadhana became a workout.  My focus was on loosening up so I would be able to demonstrate effectively.  I was also focused on how my body looks in these clothes, the ripple of thighs—nice—the small bugle of the belly—not nice.  I was labelling what I could see, with my customary attire none of these things matter simply because I cannot see them.  The legs feel exactly the same when I hold them in padahastasana or paschimottanasana but the visual cues gave rise to strong ego:  Look at those legs!  YEAH!  My belly shows a narrow spare tire, approximately 19 pounds of “good reserve fat” with 16% body fat is what my latest body fat analysis calls it, and my ego screamed:  HORROR AND TERROR!  I can’t let anyone see that today!  Nevermind that the science says this is a very good body composition (fit men should have 14-17% body fat with athletes ranging from 6-13%, fit women should have 21-24% with athletes in the 14-20% range) my ego would have none of it, “Suck that gut in!”

So, watch what you wear dear readers.  For most of us, what you wear will influence your practice.  I say most because there may well some of you that are beyond such trivialities or at least believe you are.  My challenge is for you to change what you wear for your next sadhana and discover for yourself what impact your attire has.

Jai Bhagwan!