Injury can be one of our greatest and most frustrating teachers. Just when we think we are on a certain path in our practice, we are forced to slow down, modify and pull back. We have to set up camp and hang tight.
Slowing down is not an easy task and often comes hand in hand with frustration and resistance. All of a sudden, we’re forced to put all that yoga stuff into practice. We have to get present to our current situation, to our bodies and what feels right.
Then comes the hardest part. Acceptance. How many times have you heard that word in a yoga room? We need to accept where we are, and this can be incredibly difficult.
I’m speaking from my own personal experience in my practice right now. I got present to my back injury about a month and a half ago. I’m not sure exactly what I did but all of a sudden any twist would leave me with a tight pain in my right, mid-back. Day after day, I would feel the same pain every time I practiced – so I modified. I shared my frustration with people in the community. I even backed off enough to take a few days off and after a while, it seemed I was in the clear. This past weekend I felt like I was finally 100% – surely I could jump back into full expression in every pose.
Yah…not so much.
Too much, too soon. I ignored my intuition and let my mind get in the way. I wanted so badly to be back to my “regular” practice (what is that anyway?) that I pushed my bodies signals to the side. I felt tight but muscled through countless back bends and here I am, sitting at my desk with a sore back and heating pad.
True practice comes into play when things don’t go as planned, when we are pushed out of our comfort zone, when we face one (or more) or life’s many different challenges. Whatever that might be for you; an injury in your practice, an illness, a loss, relationship issues, money problems or just feeling unhappy, listen to your body, your gut, your intuition.
Put your yoga into practice.
At the end of my class yesterday, I opened up that magical, amazing book from the front of the room (FYI – Journey to the Heart) and flipped it open to a random page. This is what it read:
Sometimes the Road Gets Rough
“Feel your fear and frustration about slowing down, then settle in for the ride. You may not be going as fast as you’d like, but the journey hasn’t stopped. You’re not doing anything wrong. You are going slower, but you’re still moving forward.”
– Melody Beattie
A gentle reminder to slow down, listen to my body and give it time to heal. I couldn’t help but smile, knowing that that reading came to me when I needed it most.
Whatever challenge you might be facing right now, realize that you’re exactly where you need to be. You don’t have to rush. You don’t have to force. Get present and remember that no matter how slow, you are always moving forward.