From Injury to Alignment, Winter 2010
At the end of a full week lived with my usual fast pace, I strained a muscle in my lower back. All plans for the day came to a halt and I immediately put myself into yoga postures as part of a specialized back recovery yoga practise that would help facilitate the healing. One of the stressors that contributed to my injury was visiting with my uncle the previous day, and observing his rapid loss of quality of life, descent into dementia and inability to get out of bed. Saddened by this and also focused on other family issues while managing all aspects of home life and work, my body was containing many intense feelings. I was primed for it to respond as it did. No matter that I have studied and practiced yoga for more than half of my life, my own vulnerability and susceptibility to stress still occasionally manifests itself in familiar yet painful ways.
I felt intense pain in my lumbar spine but knew that I would be able to ride through it over the course of a few days if I trusted the yoga therapy process. I needed to continue to honour the pain as my teacher in order to learn what I needed to at this time. Iyengar yoga is so powerful in all ways and especially in its therapeutic application. My friend, (not a yoga practitioner) dropped in just as I was working through the correct sequence of poses coupled with the necessary usage of props and adaptations, and was amazed at how I knew what to do for my injury, and at the yoga postures themselves.
Iyengar yoga is different from other systems of yoga in many ways. Though not everyone is drawn to this fantastic methodology developed over a lifetime of devotion and work by BKS Iyengar, it cannot be disputed that Iyengar yoga is a gem for everyone. There likely isn’t much that Mr. Iyengar’s brilliance hasn’t addressed and healed in over seventy-five years of experience. During my ordeal with pack pain, I was so gratified to have been taught how to work in an integrated way with limitations, injuries, conditions and pain. When I apply the potent therapeutic application of Iyengar yoga to work through my own issues, I am then more able to support the process of my students and clients. For this opportunity, to heal and to learn for myself and for others, I am most grateful.
The lesson is given to me, yet again, on how the body speaks out loud. It carries and conveys the stress, the emotions, and the challenges of our lives. Our inherent areas of weakness react. Listening to what my body has to say, and working with it, offers an opportunity for personal and professional transformation. As I listen and respond both intuitively and intellectually to the needs of my body, I offer it what it needs to heal through the specialized sequence of yoga postures, conscious breathing, and mindfulness. Again, I live my life in tandem with my yoga. After my injury, my practise was refined to meet the needs of the day. I simply adjust my practise, and apply my yoga in a way that is health promoting in order to bring my mind, body and spirit back into balance. As I work to realign my Self, I bring alignment to my life.