Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Everything is going to be okay...

Chronic back pain? At 31? For an active yogi? Seriously, what twisted version of the Twilight Zone is this?

There could be a hundred reasons why I'm dealing with this in my body and truthfully it's probably a combination of many things: working in the service industry for 12 years, ski injuries, falling off things, teaching yoga (yes it's hard on the body, demonstrating unwarmed, adjusting), years of poor posture, emotional stress, and so on. Unfortunately I paid no attention to warning signs that something might be going on and waited until I couldn't bear to sit or stand to do something about it. I found a great chiropractor, we're working on it, and a month and a half in I'm finally starting to feel a bit better, but the point here is not my back but what this injury has done for me in a positive way.

Being forced into a gentler yoga practice as well as other forms of activity that are kinder to my body has been a test of patience. When I finally let the frustration go that I wouldn't be able to do headstand for awhile or push really hard rock climbing because I can't risk falling, so many other things opened up to me. Instead of taking a vigorous hike I take a longer walk and notice all of the beautiful things on the trail. I have developed an even deeper sense of awareness of what is going on inside my body and how it reacts to certain things. I think about how my body might be affected by an action or movement. There is an incredibly powerful surrender and beautiful form of acceptance that takes over, and man alive when it does yee haw!

At some point in most of our lives we are faced with an injury or an ailment that doesn't allow us to live life as we normally would. Often this is incredibly frustrating, especially for those that tend to be active. However, with a little shift in perception and a little risk (admitting you like that water aerobics class is okay), you can find zen moments with yourself. Looking at the girl sweating and miserable on the stairmaster while I am contently jogging away on the elliptical was a pretty satisfying moment. I don't have to bust my ass everyday to feel good in my body. All I have to do is provide what my body wants and I feel great.

Everyday for the past couple of months has been a test of patience and an adventure of discovery. I'm not saying go get injured because it's great for your psyche and you'll achieve some wicked sense of enlightenment. You can do this without pulling, tearing, compressing or straining something. We often find ourselves injured because we tune out and turn off what is really going on in our bodies. We stop listening. We need to step back and ask ourselves are we really being good to our bodies. Turn down the vinyasas and treadmills and turn up the sound of our own beings. Find some balance. Search for some honesty.


  1. I love this! Thank you for sharing your journey into surrender & quiet. I recently experienced my first deep injury of my adult life, where I didn't bounce back "as usual" and actually had to slow down, change my practice, and learn how to protect & prevent. Your words are beautiful :)

  2. Thanks Alice! Your words are always encouraging. I now have this feeling of peace when I practice more slowly and quietly rather than becoming overwrought with frustration. It's kind of like a "yeah, I've been there and done that, and it's cool but this...this practice is where it's at :)." I like to call it my Dude practice. I think Lebowski would be proud.