I used the words’ honor self’ and ‘injury’ to fool myself into a complacent asana yoga practice.
When I fell and fractured my sacrum and coccyx almost 18 months ago, I was physically out of commission for a while. We’ve all been there before in some way – right? After plenty of rest, rehabilitation and physical therapy, I finally feel whole, strong and bright – pretty much pain free – I feel GOOD.
Then it dawned on me. For 18 months I had been practicing gentle, therapeutic and restorative yoga….or was I? I used my injury to totally back off the concept of Tapas. I was actually practicing complacent yoga.
Tapas requires that we approach our practices with the fire and discipline necessary for deep awakening and transformation. Yes, I practiced my pranayama and meditation daily. I journaled every day, took time to center, pray, breath and sit silently to connect with the divine. And, physical discomfort was part of my daily life. I just accepted it.
It wasn’t until the pain manifested in a bone spur in my heel (a whole imbalance in my kinetic chain) that I started to tackle my pain as though it were an infestation in my body that needed to be eradicated. Every day, I analyzed, assessed and planned physical movement, exercise and asana to restore balance. I chose what I needed to build strength in areas that were weak. I carefully selected poses stretching and breathing into tight adhesive areas in my body that were holding on. Yes, I am still practicing gently, therapeutic and restorative yoga but with the rigor and focus of an Olympic athlete. And, I am also practicing and not shying away from the more challenging asana of vinyasa and Ashtanga. I realized that the postures I unconsciously omitted from my practice were not honoring what my body needed. It was actually avoidance (dvesa) – and they are all back in my regular routine.
Now I can happily say: “I am back – feeling great and fully present.”
So turn up the heat, study yourself like a research project that must be answered, and do what you need to do to truly honor the temple that holds your spirit.
See you all in classes….
Blessings, Susan Smith April 22, 2016