Friday, January 30, 2009

Winter on the Brain, Pt. 1

Blow, blow, thou winter wind,
Thou art not so unkind
As man’s ingratitude
...
William “Billy” Shakespeare

...so, it was just about this time last year when I drove up to Kripalu in the Berkshires for a weekend yoga workshop...first one I’d ever been to...first time I’d been to Kripalu...about which it’s not said enough that the food is amazing...would be worth it to go just for that, really....anyway, I drove up to in the midst of a major wet snow/slush/freezing rain/ice storm....okay, here’s the painfully ironic part: I was rushing, going faster than I should have given the conditions so I could get to the afternoon yoga class....I make absolutely no claims to enlightenment at this time...or, certainly that time....so, anyway, crossing the Hudson, I went into major skid, managing to careen right into the opposing lane, moving at a steady pace toward the guard rail...at which point, I began actively engaging in negotiations in my head....amazing how much thinking you can do in second or so in a situation like that....basically, “okay, forget the damn car—I’m totally cool with it getting totally totaled....coming out of this not paralyzed from the neck down, on the other hand, would be a truly optimal outcome and..."...the car stopped. As it turned out, conveniently enough, I'd managed to slide over during a momentary lull in traffic on that side....so, mumbling shiiitttt under my breath, I made my way back onto the Eastbound lanes...and, driving at a far more sensible pace, managed to make it to Kripalu with time to spare before the afternoon yoga class...and, actually, if you're gonna show up somewhere completely wired and freaked out, that's an awfully good place for it...so, ummm...I guess I behaved stupidly and got away with it...not exactly the best yogic parable....

what doesn’t bend breaks....
Ani DiFranco

It did get me thinking, though, about one of the great unspeakably unjust truths of modern times, which is that in a collision between a car with a drunk driver and a car with a sober driver, the drunk driver is less likely to be injured. This is because, when drunk, the body is less likely to tense up, and therefore softer and less likely to break. So...I wonder if the same goes for if you get in an accident after doing yoga...breathing more slowly, body and mind more relaxed, less tense and softer in general....not that this is something I’m gonna wanna test, myself....

7 comments:

Brooks Hall said...

I understand not wanting to test it, but I'm sure that it's true that you're less likely to be injured after yoga.

earthtoholly said...

Hmmm... did you find that your near-catastrophic incident was more enlightening, in some sense, than the yoga class?

How ironic is that? Drunk drivers getting away unscathed while the innocent suffer.

So, does the uninebriated body tense because the driver knows, if only for a split second, that an accident is about to occur? Or does it tense upon impact just because of physiological stuff whether or not the driver realizes what is about to happen? Hmmm, interesting.

Be careful out there, drjay! :o|

Jeunelle Foster said...

Oh yes I have a few brushes with death one in particular, I almost drowned when I was very young but I remember hearing a voice tell me to remain calm, don't panic and that help was on the way.
A good listener is a good learner and a survivor.

Buddha said...

I had the same experience almost a year ago on my way to the Grand canyon. I totaled my car, thanks God my wife 2 kids and my dog were safe. I will never forget my stupid behavior I was in a hurry and all pissed off.
God was I a moron or what?
Wishing you love ,peace and happiness and most of all enlightenment!

the walking man said...

Having been through two major accidents in the past 7 years all I can say is they are easier on the body when you're not tensed up and unaware of what is about to happen.

Lana Gramlich said...

I'm just glad you didn't have an accident! I remember skidding some years ago, myself. Sudden, impossibly deep snow had managed to slow the car significantly, but it kept heading for the ditch. At the time I had a '94 Intrepid with the "high power" airbag that was unintentionally designed to snap the neck of someone my height (or lack thereof.) I thought, "How ironic...I'd survive this accident easily if the airbag didn't kill me first." Fortunately, at the last possible second, the tires found traction & turned away from the ditch. *whew* Afterwards I investigated what I needed to do to disable to airbag (I was in Canada then, of course.) I'd need governmental permission & $1500, & I certainly didn't have the latter. It pissed me off that I was expected to jump through these hoops to prevent my own death by safety device!

svasti said...

The easiest 'crashes' or 'falls' I've ever had were when I was fully aware of what was happening, time slowed down (as it does) and I was able to think about the parts of my body I wanted to make sure I protected (fingers, head etc).

One near car crash saw me choose a lane on the other side of the road, calmly because I could see it was the best option somehow although not conciously.

A skiing crash, where I knew I was going to hurt myself meant I didn't brace - coz bracing your body makes things worse, actually.

Learnt that one from falling off horses more than once. Not very pleasant, but you do learn to roll with the punches (sometimes)...