I read this little post awhile ago and go back to it often when I’m feeling frustrated with my yoga practice; seeing others bending backwards; full wheelin’ it or even taking a slight back bend from tadasana.
“YOGA IS NOT about being bendy…
It’s about showing up to your mat consistently not knowing what is going to happen and being ok with that. It’s about rehabilitating yourself and not believing the “ex-perts” when they say you are too injured or too old. It’s about believing that you can do anything even if its the most scariest impossible thing you could ever dream of. It’s about uncovering who you really are. It’s about being kind to yourself so that you can then be kind to others. Yoga is about discovering that most of the crazy thoughts in your head are not true. It’s about being healthy without pushing yourself to the limit. It’s about slowing down to get strong. It’s about breathing and moving and smiling on the inside. It’s the hardest thing I have ever done, but also the best.” – Unknown
I suffered an injury years ago which caused spinal cord damage in my neck. A year after the injury, I no longer felt the constant pain and thought I was ok. Little did I know that I would suffer the effects of this injury for the rest of my life. This injury not only affects my neck but my lower back as well. This was very frustrating when I started my teacher training; I began to push myself more than I usually did thinking that it would make me a better yogi. After having a discussion with some of the people in my training about their advances and improvements, I was reminded why I decided to embark on the journey of teacher training. It sure wasn’t to do a backbend!! I ultimately wanted to share my knowledge of what yoga has done for me; how it has helped me with my life by relieving anxiety, stress, insomnia, etc; it wasn’t to teach people how to do a backbend.
Yoga gave me a break; it gave my mind a break – a break from the outside world to focus on my mind and my body. A bonus, of course, was the strength I was building in my body, specifically in my neck and back. Once I took my ego out of trying to push myself to move my yoga practice forward (this took quite some time), I am now comfortable with where I am, the progress I have made and will continue to make in my practice.
After realizing my limitations, my first reaction was a little bit of fear. How am I going to teach class of yogis if I can’t do the poses? I was reminded once again… “It’s about believing that you can do anything even if its the most scariest impossible thing you could ever dream of.” I can do anything I want to do, even if I can’t bend myself into a full wheel or take slight back bend! Our voices are much more powerful than what our bodies can or cannot do. My goal is to create a space for students to come and de-stress. No judgments, no levels, no requirements (except for an open mind and open heart to receive).
Don’t fear your limitations…if you really want to do something positive for yourself and others…remember that it may be the hardest thing you ever do in your life, but it will be the best!!