Pain – Practice – Gratitude

The past few days in my Ashtanga Yoga practice I’ve been struck with awe at the returned ease and joyful simplicity in my asanas. Since October I’ve been struggling with a very painful SI joint injury.  There were days when the spasms in my low back were so sharp and debilitating that I could barely make the shapes of any basic pose. It hurt to sit in the car, to stand up, to bend forward, to bend backwards….my back pretty much hurt constantly.

It was really frustrating and discouraging. Sometimes I could surrender to it and find patience and focus on other things. But often that catastrophe mindset would set in and I would begin to lament that my asana practice would never recover, would never be the same, would certainly never improve, that I would be stuck with this pesky pain for the rest of my life! I didn’t trust the practice, I didn’t trust my teachers and I was falling into fear.

But I kept practicing. I took a few extra days off here and there. I stopped trying to do dropbacks or leg behind the head stuff, I moved cautiously and slowly. I worked really hard with my teacher David while I was in India to build strength and to adapt my Second Series poses to bring more stability into my sacrum. Somedays it felt better, somedays it felt worse – there was no linear trajectory of healing with this injury. But I kept practicing….

And over the past few weeks, the pain is less and less noticeable. And now it’s gone, much to my surprise and relief. My practice is moving forward and even with these months of injury, it has improved in many ways. I have a new sense of awareness about my bandhas, the orientation and rotations of my legs in poses and of my own limits and needs in my personal practice.

I could have taken these past 6 months off practice. I could have fallen prey to my fears that the practice is just too hard, too dangerous, too much. But instead, I let the practice, in modified forms, heal me. My body is stronger for the work that I’ve put in during this time of injury. My faith is strengthened as well. My trust in the power of this tradition and this practice has been bolstered by this experience.

For all this I am so grateful.

I am grateful for my teacher David Garrigues for his amazing support and asana mastery.

I am grateful for my teachers Joan and Eric of Ashtanga Yoga Denver for their patience and open hearts.

And I’m so grateful for Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and the lineage of teachers who have shared this profound practice throughout the ages.

Blessings and Love.

Frances

PS – Today is the last day to enter into the Kharma Khare free yoga mat giveaway! DO it!

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4 thoughts on “Pain – Practice – Gratitude

  1. I have a recurring t1-t3 spinal issue. My spine is slightly curved to the left there due to a childhood surgery and if I don’t remember to engage my core all.the.time. then my back will naturally swayy out of place and I easily injure. A doctor and also a yoga teacher I was working with the first time this happened both made the comment, “For being as tall as you are (5’6″), you have incredibly small bones and you have to remember to engage your core constantly.” Being a former ballet dancer and soccer player- you would think this is totally natural for me . . . . but two kids and bed rest along with several surgeries did not help me remember core strength. So I have reinjured myself more often than not by not taking an interest in moving through my pain slowly and letting it guide me back to better health. I’m currently nursing that injury again after a hard fall while coaching soccer and even my current yoga teacher mentioned the idea of resting this for a while before we work slowly through it. ARGH! Needless to say, after that long winded story- I understand your pain and frustration! Thanks for your story about getting back on track!

    • Hi Sara.
      Thanks for your comment! I thought I responded, but it must not have gone through – whoops! Sorry.
      Thanks for sharing your story with me and for reading Lila.
      Blessings
      F

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